For as long as I can care to remember I have wanted to see the spectacular Northern Lights in Finland. The colourful dancing lights of the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights; is a natural phenomenon which occurs above God’s great earth. Dramatic in appearance, the Northern Lights have been illuminating the clear night sky since time began. And here’s the scientific bit: the mystical Northern Lights are caused when collisions, between electrically charged particles from the Sun; enter into the Earth’s atmosphere. Northern Lights displays are never the same twice and vary in colour. Pale green is the most common visual colour, followed by a pinkish-red, yellow, blue and vivid violet. As well as colour, the Northern Lights form many complex shapes. From scattered fluffy clouds of light to egg-shaped arcs, ruffles and rays that resemble a colourful graphic equaliser. Eerie but completely mesmerising!
FOXES AND FINNISH FOLKLORE
The Finnish word for Northern Lights is ‘revontulet’, which in turn is also associated with the cunning arctic fox. According to Finnish folklore and tales told by the natives of Finland; when you see the Northern Lights dance in the sky, the colourful light display represents an arctic fox running far in the north and touching the mountains with its fur. Each touch creating sparks that fly off into the clear night sky as the enigmatic Northern Lights.
NOT ALL HUNTERS USE GUNS
Mummy and I first saw a faint glimpse of the Aurora Borealis whilst walking our lovely pup Angel (sadly passed away on 29 June 2016) when we lived in Edinburgh. From that moment the colourful seed was planted within and we longed to see the Northern Lights in Finland. In December 2016, whilst visiting Santa Claus Holiday Village in Finnish Lapland; the Northern Lights failed to put on a show and we returned home feeling slightly disappointed! Thankfully though, we did meet the very charismatic Mikko Lantto whilst visiting Snowman World. Mikko is an expert Aurora Hunter and as a Photographer, his weapon of choice is a lens. Since our first visit we stayed in touch with Mikko and have become good friends…in spite of him supporting Man Utd! As a family we were excited to return to Lapland this March to meet with Mikko and his wonderful family.
READ ALL ABOUT OUR TRIP TO SANTA CLAUS HOLIDAY VILLAGE IN 2016
LANGUAGE IS NOT A BARRIER
Now, as well travelled as we are becoming, regretfully we still don’t speak any languages other than (the odd word) English. Thankfully Mikko, and his beautiful wife Miia; both speak fluent English. Our children met the lovely Lantto children, Sara, Sofia and Panu; for the first time and language was certainly no barrier. Watching 5 children play happily on an indoor swing and using Google Translate on ipads, tablets and phones to communicate was amazing. The day was spent listening to children’s laughter, Mikko’s tales of hunting, photography, fishing and of course, chatting about the Northern Lights in Finland. Aurora’s aren’t the only thing Mikko hunts as we dined on moose that Mikko had culled at some point. Soft, succulent and tasty…the moose, not Mikko!
A BIRTHDAY GIFT OUT OF THIS WORLD
Evening time had arrived and our Aurora Hunt was about to commence. Today happened to be Mummy’s 40th birthday as well. What a birthday gift seeing the Northern Lights in Finland would be! Prior to leaving home MIkko had used his tech, gadgets and gizmo’s to work out the very best location for viewing the Aurora Borealis and we were off. A 120km drive North was on the cards. After a short drive Mikko contacted us to say we were diverting to Niesi, an area closer to home. On a long dark snow-covered side road 80km north of Rovaniemi, the vehicles stopped and lights were switched off so as not to cause light pollution. Let the hunt begin. Distant flickering’s of light could be seen and Mikko assured us that the Northern Lights would move closer and closer as the night progressed.
NORTHERN LIGHTS IN FINLAND
The lights can predominantly be seen above the magnetic poles of both the northern and southern hemisphere, normally at the same time and almost mirror image. Outside temperature was -16°C but cold was overcome by excitement as the Northern Lights shuffled and shimmied towards our group. The Aurora Borealis would appear as a faint flurry then become a prominent green glow dancing in the starlit sky; then they’d fade away. Mikko had the camera on the tripod poised and ready to capture each moment the Northern Lights appeared. On this particular hunt were tourists from Germany and Malaysia who had travelled specifically to see the Northern Lights in Finland. One by one we jumped in and out of shot to get snapped with the Aurora Borealis swirling in the background. The phrase ‘like a child in a sweet shop’ springs to mind! Ecstatic!
COLOUR IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
Now, this paragraph may come as a surprise (or shock) to most of you…but here goes! Aurora Borealis photographs always look unbelievable on the WWW, full of colour and splendour. Unfortunately, in real time; the Northern Lights may actually look a tad different. Try and imagine a vapour trail in the sky, that’s pretty much what my naked eye saw, whitish-grey but no colour. Mummy on the other hand saw an abundance of colour! Colour depends on your own vision, the night and other scientific circumstances. Rarely do you see intense colour within the Aurora Borealis unless they appear as a ‘big show’, then the colours are vivid and intense. Of course, that also depends on where in the world you’re viewing the Aurora Borealis from. The further North or South you are, the more vibrant the colour. And…well, let’s just leave it there and say it’s complex…very complex!
LIGHTS THAT ILLUMINATE THE SOUL
As the hunt progressed through the evening the Northern Lights became much stronger. The cavorting lights put on a show worthy of an appearance at the West End. As our group stood looking at the Aurora Borealis, a silence fell and we simply allowed the various colours to light up our souls. Magical, peaceful, enigmatic! In our opinion, there aren’t that many places better than Finnish Lapland to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. With crystal-white snow, the stark winters of the northern hemisphere provide the perfect backdrop for seeking out the Aurora Borealis. Our Aurora Borealis hunt with Mikko is one of the most memorable experiences of our March 2019 holiday to Ruka and Rovaniemi. Witnessing the Northern Lights in Finland often tops people’s bucket lists, but for now, we are ecstatic to cross this one off ours.
Video: credit – Aurora Hunting – Rovaniemi / Levi
WOULD WE GO BACK?
In the flurry of a snowflake, yes we would. Finnish Lapland in winter is SO enchanting. There’s something about the stark-white snow, the landscape and the people that makes you wonder how can snow possibly exist here….everyone is so warm and friendly. Although we saw the Northern Lights three times on our trip, to see them in their full glory we needed a local, someone with experience, someone who knew the right spot and the right time. Mikko was OUR ‘someone’ and you should book his services and make him YOURS….an absolute legend.
With a very special THANK YOU to:
- Mikko Lantto – for your warmth, your kindness, your hospitality and for the hunt. Forever grateful to you.
- Miia, Sara, Sofia and Panu – for the fun, the laughter, for hide and seek and for ninja kicks. Love to you all.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to you all for making our visit to your home enjoyable and for making the Aurora Borealis Hunt memorable. See you all in 2020.
LILY-BELLE SAYS (10)
I really enjoyed meeting Sara, Sofia and Panu and we had loads of fun on the big swing. In all honesty I thought Daddy was joking when he said we ate moose, but it did taste delicious. Seeing the Northern Lights was brilliant, but it was quite cold so I was glad to get home to a warm room.
MATILDA SAYS (4)
I liked the lights in the sky and playing hide and seek with Sara, Sofia and the little boy (Panu). The lights looked like gingerbread men floating in the sky. I was feeling cold so Mikko let me sit in his big van.
Aurora Borealis Excursion: booked with Aurora Hunting – Rovaniemi / Levi.
How to Book: we recommend contacting Mikko via Facebook Messenger in advance of your trip.
Contact Tel: +(00)358 50 5570220
Pricing: Adults €128 – Children (12 and under) €64
Date of visit: 7th March 2019
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Views, opinions and experiences are that of The Callaghan Posse and are correct at the time of publication.
Photos, unless credited, are taken by The Callaghan Posse for use and distribution by Around The World In 18 Years.
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All post images taken and provided by Mikko Lantto of MiCi Arts and Aurora Hunting – Rovaniemi / Levi.
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