A – Arctic Snow Hotel
The Arctic SnowHotel & Glass Igloos will be your post-trek treat. The hotel itself is sculpted from ice with magnificent features displayed throughout. As the ice melts in the summer, as does the hotel, meaning that each year the hotel is specially re-crafted. The tranquil igloos are an ideal place to gaze upon the clear starry skies, and if you’re lucky – the aurora borealis. The best part is you don’t even need to stay awake to watch out for them. Whilst you relax and snooze off, the aurora alarm searches the skies and wakes you if there is a sighting. All you need to do is open your eyes and look up into the night sky from the comfort of your bed. Bliss. See more info.
B – Breaking Strain Events
BSE have led 6 Arctic Treks to date, which will rise to 10 by the end of the 2017/18 season. Who are we? Highly experienced in cold weather endurance, risk management, logistics and leadership… you’ll be safe under the guidance of the BSE team. Get to know us a little better here.
C – Camping
The vision of a warm glowing fire will have never looked so inviting. During your two nights spent camping in the Arctic Circle, it will. You will immediately cool down when you stop moving, so prioritise getting your down jacket on as soon as you arrive at camp. Layer up, zip up, and keep your kit in order. Then put your feet up, enjoy a warm meal, and get to know your group better round the fire before hitting the hay and getting some hard-earned rest.
D – Daylight
Breaking Strain Events’ travel season falls in the depths of the Arctic winter, between December and March. Throughout our trekking period, daylight is limited to a few hours a day, usually between 10am and 2pm. However, as light reflects off the snow, the days seem brighter. Darkness isn’t all doom and gloom either… these conditions create ideal conditions for aurora sightings.
E – Extreme Temperatures
Day-time temperatures will sit at around -20C during the period of our Arctic Treks, with night-time temperatures dropping to as low as -35C. The air tends to be dry and crisp, creating a moderating effect on temperatures. But a cold wind chill can quickly change that. Almost anything will freeze if not managed properly, and defrosting isn’t an easy task in the Arctic.
F – Frozen Lakes
With approximately 175-225 days of snowfall per year, the abundance of rivers and lakes surrounding Lapland spend most of the year frozen. And it’s simply stunning. Trek straight over the ice (we promise you won’t fall in). Lake Sinettäjärvi lies 26km west of the centre of Rovaniemi. With a length of 8.5km, it’s the largest lake that we venture across.
G – Good Cause
The Arctic Trek provides a perfect opportunity to fundraise for a good cause. Pledge to challenge yourself for a charity of your choice. Our treks have raised over £450,000 for various charities. It’s as simple as that. Our previous trekkers have raised funds for charities including: It’s Good 2 Give, Cancer Research UK, The Fire Fighters Charity, Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity and Dreams Come True.
H – Hydration
Staying hydrated in the Arctic is of the upmost importance, as dehydration will affect your aerobic capacity and therefore your physical ability to cover the set daily trekking distance. Nobody wants headaches, grogginess and a general feeling of malaise ruining their experience – so remember your H2O! But what if it freezes? Have a read of how to manage your water properly. See point 1.
I – Information Sessions
If you’re looking for a walk in the park, then the Arctic Trek isn’t for you. Before we let you board your flight to Finland, we’ll make sure you’re well prepared for what lies ahead. You’ll be required to attend three in-country information sessions, where one of the Breaking Strain Events team leaders will talk you through the following: 1.) an introduction to the trek, 2.) kit and training, and 3.) cold weather injuries.
J – Journey
The journey from your home in the UK to your first night in Rovaniemi is staggered over a few legs. Generally speaking, if you’re travelling from Scotland, the first leg will be a flight from Edinburgh or Glasgow to either London Heathrow or Manchester. From London or Manchester, you’ll fly to Helsinki, the capital of Finland. You’ll then finally connect on to Rovaniemi, where you will spend your first and final night of the trip. We allow a full travel day at either end of the trip to ensure a smooth experience.
K – Kit
This isn’t a fluffy scarf and sunglasses sort of trip, it requires quality technical kit to ensure your safety and survival. But it doesn’t need to cost you an arm and a leg. There are selct items to hire directly from us (sleeping bag, mat, down jacket, down mitts) as well as a range of kit for sale with a 15% discount applied for our trekkers.
L – Language
Finnish is the local tongue. But not to worry, the local guides speak fluent English and you won’t be conversing with anyone out with your group whilst out in the white wilderness anyway. Although there’s no need to be rushing off to sign up for night classes in Finnish, it’s always handy and culturally appreciative to know a few phrases, so here’s a few to start you off (English: Finnish). Hi: hei. Bye: hei hei. Yes: kyllä. No: ei. Thanks: kiitos. You’re welcome: oleä. Excuse me/sorry: anteeksi.
M – Meals
Whilst you’re in country, your meals will be accounted for. This is no Michelin style dining jaunt, nor is it a primitive Bear Grylls survival of the fittest type of escapade. There’s no frills, but you’ll be well looked after with wholesome breakfasts and warm heartful meals to boost those energy levels. We’d recommend bringing some extra snacks to keep you ticking over whilst out on trail (anything high protein, carby, or chocolatey won’t go a miss). Sometimes we like to bring out a bag of sweet goodies whilst unwinding round the campfire at night (what’s better known as ‘the Bag of Happiness’).
N – Northern Lights
The bright dancing lights of the aurora are actually collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere. The lights are seen above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres. And Breaking Strain Events’ Arctic Trek calendar is aligned perfectly with prime aurora sightings. The photo below was one of our own.
O – Organisation
Being organized in the Arctic is a must, from start to finish. Trust us, we’ve learned from experience. Keeping your belongings in a logical order, managing your time, and following instructions are of the upmost importance. You’ll not be best pleased if your gloves end up soaked, your boots freeze or your camera has gone M.I.A during an aurora display. Read more about becoming a master at personal administration, see point 5.
P – Pulk
A pulk (from Finnish pulkka) is a Nordic short, low-slung small toboggan used in sport or for carrying supplies. Your pulk will be your life line. Learn to use it tactfully. The pulk adds resistance as opposed to weight, which directly affects the exertion levels and demands on your body. Hence the importance of training prior to departure. Pack your pulk logically and avoid making life harder for yourself than it needs to be.
Q – Questions
The Breaking Strain Events team are with you every step of the way, from sign up until you’re back home tucked up with a warm cuppa. Our UK-based team are available 24/7. Get in touch by contacting: email@example.com, or give Lee, the BSE Director a call on 07753620528 with any queries you may have.
R – Rovaniemi
Located in Finland’s northernmost province, Rovaniemi is ‘an urban oasis amidst the Arctic wilderness, where culture, wild activities and fairytales come together’. This is the first and final stop of the Arctic Trek, you will have time to explore its wonders before trekking out into the white abyss. Why not give dog sledding a go? To learn more, check out Visit Rovaniemi’s website.
S – Santa
Who tried to ruin your childhood dreams by telling you he wasn’t real? He is. We’ve seen him. And you can too. Rovaniemi is the official home town of Santa Claus, located on the Arctic Circle in Lapland, Finland. You’ll have some spare time in Rovaniemi to visit the Santa Claus village and reignite your nostalgic magic. Take a look for yourself on Santa Claus Village website
T – Training
The trek is physically demanding and requires adequate training to succeed to the finish line without injury or withdrawal. With extensive experience in personal training, the Breaking Strain Events team will support you throughout your journey. We organize a UK-based training weekend to prepare you for what lies ahead. We’ll also provide a take home training plan to develop your fitness. As well as going for long hikes, an effective resistance training method is to mimic the action of pulling your pulk in the snow. A cheap and easy way to do so is to make your own tyre sled (using an old tyre and rope) and practice pulling it across sand or grass.
U – Unique
The Arctic Trek is entirely unique. The bespoke route was created by Breaking Strain Events for its intrepid challengers back in 2015. Requiring specialist leadership that guides you far off the beaten track. Forget about home comforts and civilization. It’s just you, your team, and your tent. It’s not a destination that many people get the chance to visit during their lifetime.
V – Views
You’ll struggle to find a more picture-postcard place in the world. What makes your bodily fatigue and fluctuating morale all seem worth it in the end, are the breathtaking panoramic views of glistening snowdrifts, the Northern Lights and more. You’ll feel like you’ve just walked into a movie set every time that you step foot out of your tent.
W – Wildlife
Out in the depths of the Arctic Circle there is mostly nothingness. Nothing other than the linear silhouette of trekkers dragging their pulk across the horizon. This isn’t to say that you won’t be lucky and chance upon spotting one of the native Nordic species, which include reindeer, moose, wolves and foxes.
X – (e)Xposure
All right, we know, it doesn’t technically start with ‘X’, but it’s an important skill to master if you want to capture images that reflect a true representation of your memories. Exposure refers to the quantity of light that reaches a photographic sensor, and is determined by shutter speed and lens aperture. A stable and long exposure technique is essential for taking stunning photos of the aurora borealis!
Y – You
This is your personal challenge. Your experience of a lifetime. It’s for your chosen charity. It’s for you to push your limits. It’s for you to explore the world outside your comfort zone.
Z – Zips
You’ll soon discover the importance of zips for your comfort. They facilitate insulation, ventilation and are essential for moderating your body temperature. The zip on your sleeping bag, the zip on your tent, the zips on your jacket, and the zips on your many other layers will need to be carefully considered and managed.