Lapland is a vast area running across the north of Scandinavia and into Russia. Within Scandinavia, Lapland is now divided up into three areas; Norweigen Lapland, Swedish and Finnish Lapland. The name Lapland or Lappland is derived from the name of the native people “The Lapps”now called the Sámi. As the Swedish people moved further and further north, the two cultures have had to learn to live together, and now Swedish and Sámi people live as neighbours.
The majority of Lapland is within the Arctic Circle. This means that in summer we have twenty-four hours of sunlight, but in winter the sun does not appear for almost two months. Living so far north means that we see fantastic displays of the “Northern or Polar Light”
Winter:- The snow usually begins to fall in October and as the snow builds up through the winter, the temperatures drop. Here in Nattavaara the temperature can be -52 degrees centigrade. The Brown Bear is in its hibernation den, but Wolf, Lynx, Moose, Reindeer and other animals must live and survive through the harsh winter. Many birds have migrated south for the winter but there are resident species that can be seen including; Siberian Jay, Siberian Tit, owls (including Great Grey, Ural, Tengmal’s and Hawk), woodpeckers, Crossbills and other finches. From early December – late Januray the sun does not appear above the horizon, giving a light rather like that at dusk, but of course this can be a good time to see the Northern Lights.
Spring:- In the Spring the forest comes alive with the songs of both migratory and resident birds. As the ice melts on the lakes, many species of wildfowl and wading birds return to breed. The bears awaken from their winter hibernation, the beaver is busy with construction and repair work and Reindeer and other animals give birth to their young. Early spring can be one of the best times to see the Northern Light.
Summer:- From mid June – mid August the sun does not go below the horizon, providing the fantastic spectacle of the “Midnight sun”. The flowers are in bloom and many birds are busy feeding their young. Temperatures in summer can reach 30 degrees, but 18 – 20 degrees is more the average. The berry picking season commences in summer; first the Cloudberry (a relative of the Blackberry) and then Arctic Bilberry (known as Blueberry here).
Autumn:- The autumn is a very short season, but provides the most beautiful colours both from sunsets and as the trees and plants prepare for the long winter ahead (see the banner picture above). The berry season continues with Cowberry (Lingon) also ready to collect. Bird migration is well under way now and can provide a fantastic spectacle in itself. As the nights become longer the Northern Light appears again and the lack of light population provides ideal conditions for star gazing.