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A late night with Orion, Auriga, Leo, UM etc

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1 hour ago, scarp15 said:

It is like reading a report within a report brilliant. For quite a few years each spring along with a group of friends we flew or got the ferry across to Norway to go hut to hut cross country or nordic ski touring, such as to Hardangervidda, Jotunheimen, Rondane regions and also inside the Arctic Circle. Some routes between huts were very long and often we would not arrive until after nightfall. On more than one occasion we would encounter the Northern Lights. We were members of the DNT; Norwegian Mountaineering Club and had a key for their hut network, best described as a posh bothy and with ample wood supply for the wood burner. Expect that having the Cairngorms mountains so close by, that I can understand the appeal for winter camping. 

You don't have to go to Scandinavia to see the Northern Lights. The first time I saw the aurora was wild camping in the Cheviots as a student, that was overhead completely unexpected and spectacular. 

Oh wow, that sounds truly wonderful, if not incredibly challenging! I barely scratched the surface in my short time there. From what I've read they have a superb hut and xc ski network, my wife wants to go when the children are a bit bigger, but we'll definitely stay indoors at night so I'd better start saving now! I met a couple dog sledding in Reisa, they used to run a tourism centre but keep a lavvu set up on their land and invited me to visit again. I should say hello online, been a few years now. 

Norway in winter is really something else, and everything is done to such a high standard. I'd love to return.

PS having the lights overhead in the Cheviots must have been jaw dropping! 

Edited by Ships and Stars
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Hi all,   With the cloud finally clearing here last night, I was itching to have a decent night with the big dob. My last really good night with it was in October, but even then the high winds fo

Thanks Robert, yes the aurora is amazing on nights when it's really alive, but it can take the edge off the faint DSOs lower down in the sky. I don't know if you've seen it, but it rarely looks like w

An excellent report. There have been very few opportunities here since October and reports like this really keep up my enthusiasm.

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Oh yes the extensive country wide network of hut to hut trails are highly adventurous and very organised by DNT staff. In winter the routes are marked by birch sticks, in summer, traditional red markers painted onto rocks. Of course competence in navigation is essential. The huts are remote and basic, with bunk beds and do have some very basic foods that can be paid for via an honesty box. They do have a wood shed, wood burner stoves and oil lamps and a separate composting toilet. They are very cosy, when the stove throws out the heat and steam from the buckets melting snow for cooking and drinking. Costs can be very reasonable actually, we took some basic food supplies but lived on pancakes - each hut tends to at least have pancake mix. Train fares were similar to the UK and significantly superior. No alcohol as that can be insanely priced, although encountering any Norwegians, they may share some of their own vodka - one sip is enough! Taking a snow shovel is essential, partly if you have to build an emergency snow hole but also comes in necessary to dig out snow to access the hut door, if no one has occupied it for a while.

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