Lapland: An action-packed Finnish adventure that is not just for Christmas


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Northern Lights Ranch

NORTHERNLIGHTSRANCHNorthern Lights Ranch comprises a collection of plush cabins with glass ceilings and walls

The wind whips my face and my fingers are numb with cold, yet it’s exhilarating.

I’m spending the afternoon snowmobiling through the forests and fields of Lapland, northern Finland.

While Britons may associate this part of the world with Santa, sleighs and sacks full of presents, a trip over the winter months is the best time to revel in an area packed with activities and potentially a Northern Lights sighting or two.

And with new direct flights from London to nearby Kittilä with Finnair, it is even easier to visit.

My two-hour snowmobiling session takes me over snow-covered lakes, through dark, dense patches of pine and along isolated paths, without a car or building in sight.


The Northern Lights occur when charged solar particles collide with gases in the upper atmosphere

Drifting off to sleep while gazing up at a star-filled sky isn’t a bad way to round off my trip to Finnish Lapland

It’s 3pm yet the light has already faded, the sky is filled with snow and there’s a magical Narnia-esque eeriness in the peaceful, late-afternoon darkness.

Thanks to my location in deepest northern Europe, it’s pitch-black when I get up, too.

My base is the Northern Lights Ranch, a clutch of plush cabins which dot the remote, snow and forest-filled fields 30 minutes outside of Levi, one of Finland’s most popular ski resorts.

My cosy and compact room comes with floor-to-ceiling glass walls on two sides, with a glass ceiling for prime Northern Lights viewing.

Each night I lie in bed – it even has a remote to manoeuvre me into a comfortable seated position – gazing up at the stars, urging the famous green swirls to emerge. It could be a long wait.


Snowmobiling offers the perfect means of exploring the winter tundra

The Northern Lights don’t come out on demand, far from it. In fact the notoriously elusive phenomenon is the result of charged solar particles colliding with gases in our Earth’s upper atmosphere, meaning that no matter how much you really want to see them, it’s really down to good luck.

In the meantime there’s plenty more to keep me entertained, and it starts with reindeer. Thousands of them.

There are more reindeer than people in Lapland and at Northern Lights Ranch you can get close enough for a cuddle with young ones.

At this age, barely a few months old, they look like stocky, rugged sheep.

And when they aren’t nudging you for a handful of hay they’re burying their chunky bodies in the snow for warmth.