Travels in the North

Musings on arctic holidays

Tag Archives: Canada

Where next?

As per my last post, having visited all the countries in the arctic does pose a question – where next? I guess I could just do a fortnight in Spain like everyone else but I’m just not that good with hot weather.

Despite all my travelling in the arctic I’m yet to see a Polar Bear, and I understand that Churchill, on the Hudson bay in Northern Manitoba is one of the best places in the world to see them. Better still, I found out you can get a train there with via rail
http://www.viarail.ca/en/trains/prairies-and-northern-manitoba/winnipeg-churchill

There are no roads that far North, so it’s either that or a very expensive flight. The 1000 mile journey takes two days from Winnipeg but I reckon it’d be quite fun. Actually for a long time now I’ve wanted to travel right across Canada – would be great to incorporate this into such a trip but it’s unlikely I’ll ever have the three months or so it’d take to do it until I retire.

So it’s on the back burner for now but one day I’ll make it.

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Taking Stock

Following my recent trip to Greenland I’ve now been to all eight arctic nations (defined as having some territory within the arctic circle – in the case of Iceland only just, half the island of Grímsey just sneaks in) I’m going to attempt to list them out, as much as a way for me to keep track as anything else. Pretty much without exception these were all incredible trips, I won’t write much about them now but hope to fill out the details for at least some of them on this blog at some point.

Norway
Probably the country I’ve been to the most.
January 2005 – Tromsø – my first time in the arctic and first time I saw the Northern lights
April 2010 – Svalbard (also known as Spitsbergen) – the furthest North I’m ever likely to go
Various other trips to Oslo, Bergen and Tromsø.

Sweden
Only been once, went to Stockholm and ran in the midnattsloppet (literally midnight race), a nighttime 10k road race around the island of Södermalm.

Finland
Couple of trips, once to Helsinki and a road trip from Tampere to Karelia.

Russia
Flew to Kirkenes in Norway, then got a mini bus to Murmansk on the Kola peninsula, spent a few days there then got the train down to St Petersburg.

USA (Alaska)
Two week road trip around Alaska, taking in Anchorage, Seward, Homer, Talkeetna, Fairbanks, and Whitehorse in Yukon.

Canada
Went to the Yukon as part of the trip above.

Denmark (Greenland, Faroe Islands)
Recent trip to Greenland as I’ve written about on here, also a trip to the Faroe Islands in June 2005 as part of a three week trip to Shetland, the Faroes and Iceland.

Iceland
Once as part of the trip above, and a road trip last year around the North West fjords.

I kept a journal on the 2005 trip I did to Shetland, the Faroes and Iceland so I’ll probably write that one up next. It’s the longest I’ve ever been away and confirmed my love for the far North.

There are actually two ways to define the arctic, either anywhere above 66° 33’N, or anywhere North of the 10 degree isotherm, where the average temperature of the warmest month (July) is below 10 degrees. Both of these are depicted on the map below.