Hiking Glenturret – The Grouse Experience

Famous Grouse ExperienceGlenturret is a small glen in the Scottish Highlands of Perthshire, just north of the little town of Crieff. Within easy reach of nearby Glasgow and Edinburgh, this is the southern edge of the true Scottish Highlands, that extend from here to the rough North Coast. It is an area famous for a typical Scottish bird: The Grouse. The easy access makes this a great area for hiking and camping in the hills. It literally takes minutes to go from friendly Crieff town square to the rugged and remote hills of the Highlands. With my company Expedition Factory I organized an early spring mini-expedition to this wonderful place. Please follow me on a virtual tour to Glen Turret: Continue reading

Winterhike blog – Skarvan og Roltdalen 2015

Intense Arctic IV – Leadership Expedition Norway

The next morning the group discusses the goal for the day. We decide to leave our camp where it is and hike to the nearby lake. The wind is still very strong, preventing us from climbing the higher summits in the park.Is it really climate change or just a very mild Arctic winter? When we landed at Trondheim Vaernes Airport it was six degrees and the area was free of snow. This is 63 degrees North, only a few hundred kilometers short of the Arctic Circle! The taxi driver who took us into the mountains had never experienced such a snowless and spring-like February in this area of Central Norway. Would this become a spring hike in winter? Would we be carrying our full winter expedition gear across green fields filled with flowers? Continue reading

North of the North Cape

Nordkapp_Norway_Mar2014_009The North Cape is one of those places that is on most traveller’s bucket lists. Known as the northernmost point of Europe, situated at 71°10´21˝N, some even claim it is closer to the North Pole than it is to Oslo. It may certainly feel that way and it is good tourism marketing, but it is not true. First of all, it is not the northernmost of Europe. The northernmost point of Europe is Cape Fligely, on Russian Rudolf Island (81°48′24″N), or if you don’t consider that Europe, it is the island of Rossøya on Svalbard, both over 1,000 kilometers north of the North Cape. Those places are definitely closer to the North Pole than to any sizeable city like Oslo. Those places are also virtually impossible to visit, so no travelers ever make it there. Unfortunately for the North Cape it is also not the northermost point of continental Europe, as it lies on a small island. That title goes to nearby Cape Nordkinn (71°08′02″N), a difficult place to visit, but a few hikers make it there every year. Continue reading

Winterhike blog – Barents Sea Expedition 2012

Kirkenes_Norway_24Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz explored the seas around the Northern tip of Norway three times, looking for the infamous northern passage to Asia. On his third journey, in 1596, he stranded in heavy sea ice on the barren island of Nova Zembla, where he ultimately perished after spending the winter in the famous ‘Behouden Huys’, made of the wreckage of his ship in 1597. In an urge to relive some of the crew’s endurance, a small Dutch expedition ventured out to Kirkenes in Northern Norway, to see the part of the Arctic Ocean named after our national 16th century hero, in the middle of the Arctic winter. Continue reading

Shades of Green, Aurora Hunting in Finland

Aurora Hunt Finland 2013 13It is that time of year again. Or better said, it is that time of 11 years again. This winter marks the solar maximum, at which solar activity is at the highest point in its 11-year cycle. The astrophysics behind this phenomenum is very interesting, but the effects of solar activity here on Earth are much more interesting. At Solar Max the display of Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis around the Arctic Circles is at its most spectacular. This magical aerial show is on many people’s bucket list, so last year I organized a special Aurora hunting trip for my social media followers, better known as #AuroraTweetup. Continue reading

Winterhike blog – Skarvan og Roltdalen 2013

Intense Arctic Expedition III

Norway Skarvan Roltdalen 2013 09This was the third Intense Arctic Expedition that we organized since 2011. The ‘intense’ concept means that participants have a very short, but intense arctic experience. Three nights of hiking and camping in the snow of a challenging wilderness is enough to have a lifelong impact. It is also intense because it brings you from inside your comfort zone to ‘outside your comfort zone’ – there where the magic happens – in just a few hours. Our favorite location is the rugged Skarvan and Roltdalen National Park in Central Norway. It is close to the Trondheim-Vaernes Airport, which offers several daily direct flights from Amsterdam, by KLM. It is also the northernmost destination you can fly directly from Amsterdam. Perfect for this short experience!
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Winterhike blog – Pyhä-Luosto Lapland 2013

Winterhike Luosto Finland 2013 33The annual Arctic winterhike took us to the Pyhä-Luosto National Park in Lapland, an area that we started exploring back in 2009. This park is one of the southernmost Arctic tundra plains. Southernmost is relative, it is still located 100 kilometers North of the Arctic Circle. To reach it we fly from Amsterdam via Helsinki to Rovaniemi. There we take the skibus to the Luosto ski resort, on the foot of the ‘Tunturi’, the treeless hills that form the National Park. We spend the first night in a very comfortable and typical Lappish cabin, which is part of the the Luostotunturi Hotel.
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Greenland 2012 blog – Ice

The title really describes the essence of Greenland: Ice. We know it was a big mistake to call Greenland green. Even Iceland is greener than Greenland. If you like green you go to Ireland. But if you like white, this is your destination. 82% percent of the vast landmass of Greenland is permanently covered by a thick icesheet. Glaciologists don’t refer to this ice as a glacier, but rather call it an icesheet. Officially this refers to an ice covered area larger than 50,000 km2. There are only two icesheets on the planet: one in Antarctica and one here in Greenland. Continue reading