Settling Into Retirement

It’s now six weeks since I retired from full time work. People did tell me that I would be bored, that I would miss work and that I would struggle without belonging to the Police after being “institutionalised” for thirty years. Well so far I have to say I haven’t felt any of these things. I have managed to fill my time well, have taken on some ad hoc work, am spending time working on our craft business as well as starting some of the things on my bucket list.

 

 

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Starting those things that I always wanted to do

One of the things that I have wanted to do for quite some time, is to learn to play the piano. I am pleased to say that I have now had four piano lessons and am surprised at how well I am picking it up. It takes a lot of concentration, but it’s really wort it as I am enjoying it so much. At the moment I am practicing on a keyboard loaned to me by a friend and on my mum’s piano, but if I continue to enjoy it over the next few months I am going to treat myself to a digital piano.

Something else that I also wanted to do was to write more. I have now been writing my blog for three years, but I have also bought myself a book of writing activities and tasks, which has encouraged me to write a bit more.

There are still a few more things on my list and I will let you know how I get on these.

Rudding Park Spa Hotel in Harrogate

A couple of weeks ago I had a relaxing overnight stay at Rudding Park in Harrogate with my lovely friend Sarah. We found a deal on Travelzoo, which was excellent value, which we just couldn’t miss. We had a little retail therapy first in Harrogate and then drove up to Rudding Park in the afternoon. On arrival our room wasn’t ready, (it had been set up as a double rather than a twin), but we were treated to a complimentary glass of prosecco whist we waited.

We then dropped our things off in the room and went into the spa for the rest of the afternoon. The spa itself is beautiful, very airy, clean and so relaxing. The hydrotherapy pool is so lovely and warm, but is outside so you get some lovely fresh air whilst enjoying the warm relaxing water. Inside there is a panoramic sauna, foot spas, an oxygen room, a sunlight room and a steam room. We tried everything, before going to the wellness area, which has amazing relaxing rooms, including visual, audio, as well as a sleep room and a comfortable are just to relax and have a cup of tea.

Later in the evening we had our dinner in the clocktower restaurant, which was included in the deal from Travelzoo, so we only had to pay for our bottle of prosecco. The food was excellent and the atmosphere was very chilled.

The following morning I went into the indoor pool for a swim. There was no one else in there, so I managed to get a good few lengths in before breakfast. We had breakfast in the Horto café, which is part of the spa. The breakfast was really nice and was also included in the package.

We then made use of the spa again before checking out and going home. We both felt completely relaxed and had lots of chance to chat and just chill out.

Lunch on a train

Today me and my husband took his parents for lunch on Embsay Railway in North Yorkshire. We had booked it a couple of weeks ago, but unfortunately it was cancelled due to the flooding. The trip was a birthday present for my father in law (It was his birthday in January)

The train carriage was lovely and warm, which was great as it was a windy day and it was quite chilly waiting on the platform. We were shown to our table which was set with cutlery and cups and we were offered tea and coffee. Once the train set off, we were then brought our lunch which was a Yorkshire pudding filled with meat, vegetables and new potatoes. As I’m a vegetarian, I had mine without the meat. The train journey was about half an hour and we stopped at Bolton Abbey for about twenty minutes, so we could get off and stretch our legs, look around the station and the shop.

The train then set off back to Embsay and tea and coffee was served on the return journey. Towards the end, the manager came out and spoke to all the diners, explaining why he set up the business and how it had grown over the last few years. He also told us about the other events which are available on the railway.

The trip was well worth the money and was just long enough for my in laws to be out and about before heading back home.

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A Weekend In Hawes

This weekend we were lucky enough to spend a long weekend with friends and family in a lovely little house in Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales. This was to officially celebrate my youngest brother’s 50th birthday. It was actually his birthday the week before Christmas, but chose to book a weekend in January, which is a really good idea, as it’s always nice to have something to look forward to in January as it can be quite a depressing month.

Ingleton Waterfalls Walk

On Friday morning, it was quite a grey day, but we drove up to Ingleton and walked around the Waterfalls Tral. This is a 7km walk, on a footpath, which takes you around the waterfalls and river in Ingleton. The trails are privately owned, so there is a charge for walking the paths. A ticket office and turnstile has now been built, which takes a little away from the scenery and makes it more commercialised, however once you get past this, you are on the paths and it is beautiful scenery. The paths are quite steep and slippery in places and there are quite a lot of steps.

We all kept up a steady pace and managed to get around the train before the weather closed in and it became quite cold and damp. There was of course the obligatory stop off for hot drinks and cakes in the village, before we made our way to Yarn House in Gayle, which was the cottage that we had rented for the weekend. The house is a lovely three storey cottage, which overlooks the river. The rooms were cosy and there was loads of equipment in the kitchen.

There were eight of us and on arrival it is customary for us to draw lots to decide who is having which bedrooms. Once this was done and we had got unpacked, the men went off to the pub. Allegedly they were only going to the shop to buy some lottery tickets but they were out a few hours and had a pint in each of the pubs. The ladies stayed in the house, apparently we were supposed to be making tea, but we ended up drinking prosecco instead. Once the men came back from the pub we managed to sort out food and enjoy our meal with a few more glasses of wine.

A windy walk

On Saturday morning we set off from Hawes to do a circular walk which normally includes Hardraw Force. It was quite windy and cold, but was ideal weather for walking. We had booked lunch for 2pm, so we knew that we needed to be back for then.

The walk was just over 6km and wasn’t too hilly.  Hardraw Force itself is again  privately owned and there is a charge to go and look at them. As we had limited time and the fact that the Falls themselves were not part of the route, we chose not to walk down to the Force to walk back up and complete our route instead.

It was a really nice walk with some lovely scenery. Unfortunately the mist started to come in, so the views were not quite as clear as they normally would be.

After the walk we drove to Tan Hill Inn, which is the highest pub in England. We had reserved a table and the landlord was pretty friendly when we arrived. The pub was quite busy, as it is a well known attraction. The pub itself is quite rustic, but a also a lttle run down. The furniture was well worn and the whole place looked in need of a little work. The food on the whole was good, but one of our dishes came after the others had finished eating and when it did come it was a bit of a let down.

We drove back to the cottage afterwards and had a restful evening watching films and having a few drinks.

A relaxing Sunday

On Sunday, we had a bit of a lazy morning then went down to the Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes. There is a lovely gift shop and visitors centre hers, although the creamery was not producing any cheese that day. We looked around the visitors centre and tasted lots of samples of cheese, as well as buying some to eat later.

After this we went for a short walk around the village. It was short mainly because there were hardly any shops open and also because it was very cold, windy and drizzly. We had a table booked at the Crown Pub in Hawes. This was a lovely pub, with the coal fires blazing. The food was great and the staff were really friendly.

After another couple of drinks in the pub, we made our way back to the house and spent the evening relaxing, playing cards and eating cheese and biscuits.

It has been as great weekend, with lots of laughter, great food, great company, fresh air, beautiful scenery and a chance to recharge our batteries.

 

 

 

 

Happy Retirement

This week, after 30 years of being a Police Officer, I retied!

I joined West Yorkshire Police on 15th January 1990, as a fresh faced 22 year old. I was fairly naïve, not particularly streetwise and had led a sheltered life, being the only girl, with three brothers. However I wanted to help other people, do something worthwhile and I honestly thought that I would be able to change the world.

I may not have changed the world over the last 30 years, but I know that I have changed some people’s lives for the better. There will be those that were not happy with the decisions I made, the action that I took, or the outcomes of their reports to me, but on the whole i know that I have always done the best job that I could, have been honest and always done what I thought was right.

I am not sad at retiring and I have been looking forward to it for a while. I will miss my friends and colleagues, the interesting work, the feeling of making a difference but I also am ready for a change and am looking forward to doing lots of new things. I am not going to be completely retired, as I still have various avenues for work, but I will no longer be working full time and I will no longer be a Police Officer.

Lucky or Entitled

Over the last few months I have had some very interesting comments about retiring at such a young age. Lots of people have said how “lucky” I am, how nice it must be to get a “free pension” and how unfair it is that they have to work much longer than me. I do not believe that I deserve to retire more than anyone else, but I know that I am getting what I signed up to 30 years ago and that it certainly isn’t for free. I am entitled to retire at this age because I signed up for 30 years. I have paid a large amount of money in contributions for the last 30 years. I have stuck with a career that has been difficult at times, frustrating and had ground me down to the point of losing my self confidence and belief that I was doing a good job. For all the missed birthdays, Christmas days, school sports days, concerts, late nights, early mornings, long hours and lack of sleep. For being spat at, sworn at, called names, complained about and wondering how I was going to get through, for this I now feel entitled to retire.

A Job Worth Doing

I have loved my job for the most part. Although the above paragraph points out the negatives, there have been lots of positives too. I have spent a good majority of my service as an investigator within safeguarding units, investigating crimes and protecting the most vulnerable people in society. For the last four years I have trained others to conduct those investigations.

I have met some amazing people along the way, both those that I have worked alongside and the people who I have worked to protect. There have been some amazing Court results and some real disappointments. Most of all I know that I have worked my hardest to protect the public and detect some of the most heinous crimes.

So now I intend to take a well earned break, before I move on to pastures new.

Thank you to the people that I have worked with for their support over the years. Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate with me and for the lovely gifts and cards. Remembering fondly those who were with me 30 years ago when I joined the police, or who I have met along the way, but are no longer with us.

Most of all a huge thank you to my family and friends outside the Police who have supported me physically and mentally. I could not have done it without you!

 

A Winter Adventure in Lapland (7)

Unfortunately today is our last full day in Lapland. Luckily we still have an activity booked and there’s also something that we still haven’t tried in Muotka. There’s also still another evening so a possibility that we may see the aurora again.

Husky sledding

Today we were up and out early, in the dark as we were booked in for a visit to Husky and Co. We travelled by mini bus and it was only a short journey.

On arrival, we were introduced to the guides and given instructions on how to drive the sled. Basically the dogs will pull the sled whenever you take your foot offf the brake. Other than this the driver stands on two footrests, whilst the passenger sits in the sled.

Andrew was the driver. The dogs were keen to set off as soon as you got into the sled, so he had to keep his feet firmly on the brake until the group were ready to set off.

Once unleashed they set off on the track through the forest. They go amazingly fast on the flat, too fast down I’ll, requiring lots of braking, but on the uphills Andrew had to step off with one foot and push sling like you would with a scooter.

I really enjoyed it but it did make me a little bit nervous at times, especially on the downhills when even the strongest of braking didn’t seem to slow the dogs that much.

After the sled through the woods we were invited into the wooden building where there were a couple of roaring fires and we were given salmon soup, potato bread, hot juice, coffee, cinnamon buns and biscuits.

We were then taken to see the puppies, some of which were only 4 weeks old.  They were beautiful. All the dogs seemed well looked after and eager to meet people. They seemed happiest when they running and although I had reservations at first, I was comfortable with the set up.

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Sledging – don’t remember it being this hard as a child!

The only thing that we had not done whilst we had been here was take the sledges down the toboggan run. This afternoon we decided to give it a go.

Unfortunately neither Nick or Andrew we’re feeling very well, so Julie and I braved the slippery slope whilst Andrew took some photos.

its amazing how things that didn’t feel very scary as a child make you feel really nervous as a grown up. I was too wary to go from the top of the run so managed half way down. The hardest part was getting out of the sledge at the bottom and walking back up the hill with the sledge once you reached the bottom.

After a couple of runs, with lots of screaming on the way down and hysterical laughter at the bottom, covered in snow and very hot, we decided to give in. It’s definitely a pastime for children, but was great fun!

Aurora lights the skies again

On the way for our meal this evening, the aurora made another appearance. It was very faint at first but during our meal the sleet kept going off so we were in and out looking up to the skies.

The light display was amazing for several hours this evening and was brighter last night and was even dancing at one point. Apart from Andrew and Nick not feeling well it was a superb way to end the holiday.

So now we are on our way to the airport after an early start. As we head for home I am so glad that I had this experience. The hotel has been wonderful, the staff amazing and it’s been worth every penny.

Goodbye Muotka,  thank you for a wonderful holiday

A Winter Adventure in Lapland (6)

Today we were up bright and early as we had an activity booked at 9am. When I say bright and early, that’s not entirely true, it was 730am and still completely dark. The temperature was still at +1 degrees and the snow had melted off the porch are and from the overhead cables as well as all the trees.

Snowmobiling to the fells

At 9am, still in the darkness we again donned all our layers, balaclavas and helmets, ready for our trip to the fells on snow mobiles.

The group was small, consisting of 3 snow mobiles and the guide on another snow mobile pulling a sledge. The really good thing here is that if you want to get out on the excursions, but aren’t mobile or old enough to drive a snowmobile, a large sledge is attached to the guides snow mobile so you are still able to go along.

We drove for a couple of hours on the ski mobiles to Kaunispaan ski resort which is approximately 50 km from the Russian border.

The landscape today was much bleaker. There was barely any daylight and without the snow on the trees, The area looks quite stark compared to the last few days. In the forest there is little wind, but as you get out onto the fells, you can feel the temperature drop and the wind blowing across the open space.

Although it s a bleak landscape but there is still something very beautiful about it. The air is clear and other than passing the occasional group of snow mobiles or crossing main roads, it is quiet and peaceful.

At Kaunispaan we climbed the observation tower for the maximum view and to take photographs. There are no real mountainous areas in northern Finland, so this is one of the best places to get a good view.

We then went into the restaurant to have lovely hot soup (vegetable, reindeer or salmon) with bread.

It was then back on the snow mobiles to the hotel, which took another couple of hours. In all we had covered 60km on the snow mobiles. By this time, once again it was completely dark and the snow had just started to fall.

A magical night

At 9pm we set off as a group in a sledge tower by a snow mobile driven by one of the guides. We were driven to a clearing in the forest to the aurora camp.

It was. Clear night and the moon was brightly shining. We were ever hopeful that we would see the aurora. Andrew set up his tripod and camera and we waited. I lay down in the snow to look at the stars as it was a stunning sky. We were treated to a display of numerous shooting stars.

After a short while one of the guides went into the little wooden shelter and built a fire. People started to drift inside, but as it wasn’t really that cold, we persisted and stayed outside.

Suddenly a small area of unusual light appeared in the sky, which began to grow and as we started to get excited everyone else came out of the cabin.

it was an unbelievable sight and quite emotional. We had hoped that we would see the lights, but there was never any guarantee. Andrew began snapping away and then one of the guides kindly took a photo of all 4 of us together which was stunning (not us, the lights!)

The lights brightened and faded a few times before the guides sadly told us that it was time to go back. During the journey back to the hotel a couple of reindeer decided to trot along the path in front of the snow mobile. They seemed to have no fear of being pursued by the vehicle and trotted on regardless until finally veering off back into the woods.

Back at the hotel we stopped for a coffee when suddenly the chef shouted “lights”. Everyone got up and ran outside. After falling down the steps and wiping out Julie in the snow, we were again treated to the display of lights. We watched them from the hotel and then went back up towards the cabins where they continued on and off for another hour or so.

When we went into the cabin to go to bed we opened all the blinds, just in case they appeared again. Whether they did or not, I don’t know as I fell asleep.

I feel very humbled to have seen the northern lights. Looking up to the sky with all the stars and the vast darkness it reminds me that I am only a very small part of the world and that we are a tiny part of the universe.

An absolutely magical experience!

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A Winter Adventure in Lapland (5)

This morning was slightly overcast, but the snow had stopped and the temperature had raised overnight to a much warmer just below freezing. The heavy snow overnight had left another couple of inches of soft powder on the paths and it feels a little bit like the buildings are going to disappear completely if it continues. We are told by the staff that so much snow is unusual for this time of year, but it is amazing to see.

A snow mobile journey

Todays activity was a journey on the snow mobiles, to a reindeer farm. We all donned the layers, along with balaclavas and helmets. We looked a bit like the riot police in the full gear.

Being on the snow mobiles, in the dry slightly warmer weather was an amazing experience. The snowy landscape is so beautiful and a little surreal, more like a painting or a storybook. I chose to sit on the back, rather than driving as Andrew loved the driving and I was comfortable and probably safer on the back. We followed the guide along the snow mobile tracks for about 16k.

Reindeer farm

The reindeer farm we visited was a traditional Sami reindeer farm. On arrival we were introduced to the reindeer and were then taken for a short ride in a sledge pulled by one of the reindeer.

We then had a demonstration of reindeer lassoing (using reindeer horn on a block on the floor and thankfully not a real reindeer!), then people were allowed to have a go.

Afterwards we went to the hut where we were treated to hot tea and cake and one of the Sami ladies talked to us about the reindeer and the Sami way of life. She showed us reindeer antlers, which are naturally shed and passed them round for us to look at. She explained her traditional beautiful bright coloured dress and how different areas will wear different colours. The jewellery that they wear is handed down through generations. The ladies also wear a traditional hat which we were told, depending on how you wear it, indicates whether you are married or single.

The best soup in Lapland

It was then back on the snow mobiles to travel to Savottakahvila restaurant for lunch. We were told they serve the best soup in Lapland. It was definitely amazing soup. I had tomato and vegetable whilst everyone else had elk soup (it was so good we all had second helpings). There was bread, rye bread or crackers. This was then followed by hot coffee and Jaffa cakes. Absolutely lovely food and a warm and friendly atmosphere.

After lunch we were back on the snow Mobiles to make the journey back to the hotel. It was just starting to get dark as we returned and just after we got back inside it began snowing again.

It was an amazing day and an experience I will remember for a long time, made even better by the great company and the lovely guides, who kept everyone safe and laughed along with our banter.

What’s happened to the snow?

After our evening meal we stayed in the hotel for a few hours, having a few drinks and playing cards. At about 1145pm we decided to go to bed as we are getting up earlier tomorrow. When we came out the temperature had risen to +1degree. The huge piles of snow on the trees had completely gone and if you looked at the trees you would have not known it had snowed at all. There is still tonnes of snow on the ground, but it is now much wetter underfoot.0F179D56-9B3D-4E54-893D-B82729B4F056.jpeg

A Winter Adventure in Lapland (4)

New years day was another bright day, once it became light at around 10am. It’s was a freezing cold morning, at -16 degrees. We went to the hotel and had breakfast and then booked out the skis for the morning.

Skiing to Kakslauttanen

Once we had all got our skis on and the required layers of clothing, we set off on our cross country adventure to Kakslauttanen (or Klatterslappen as we keep mistakingly call it).

This is another small holiday village approximately 3km from Muotka. We managed fairly well in the tracks, but when it comes to crossing the roads, or areas where there are no tracks, it’s a little more difficult and there were a few falls along the way. The hardest part for me was going down hill as it feels like you build up a tremendous amount of speed. I resorted to coming down them sideways, to avoid quite some much speed. I did manage one hill, but screamed coming down as if I was skiing down a mountain off piste, when it was actually just a small hill.

It was so cold that ice crystals formed in any area where you were warm, or where yo were breathing. We had ice crystals on our hats, on my eye lashes and when you breathe through your nose the hairs in your nose freeze. However with all the effort of skiing you still remain warm inside all the clothes.

Once we reached the village, we called in for a hot chocolate and a look around the gift shop. We then put all the layers and skis back on and headed back for lunch. The ski home didn’t seem to take any time at all.

After lunch we had a restful afternoon and as it started to come dark around 2pm, it makes it feel really late. Afternoon naps are definitely required, especially if you are going out in the evenings.

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Aurora hunt by car

After our evening meal, we were then booked to go out aurora hunting in the mini bus. By this time it was snowing heavily and we knew that there was little chance of seeing them.

The trip out was worth it, just to see the amount of snow falling and the amazing drier, who seemed undeterred by the blizzard and carried on regardles, stopping just once to clear the ice from the wipers.

We stopped at a couple of points to get out and look at the sky, but due to the amount of snow there were no auroras to be seen. The temperature reached -21 degrees at one point.

We were provided with the customary hot chocolate and cookies and then returned home at midnight.

We have a couple more trips out to look for auroras, but as it’s a natural phenomenon there are no guarantees, but perhaps that means we have to come again if we don’t see one

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A Winter Adventure in Lapland (3)

New Years Eve day dawned (at about 10am), bright and crystal clear and a slightly chilly -14 degrees. It was so lovely so see the daylight. Although it’s light, I am told that the sun never really comes above the horizon at this time of year, but it has a beautiful twilight type glow.

We had a lovely breakfast and then made our way to Our first activity.

It has really great health benefits – honestly!

We made our way down to the smoke sauna, where the intention is to sit in the sauna and then run out in the snow and plunge into a hole that is cut in the frozen river. Apparently it has great health benefits.

Andrew was full of cold, so decided to be official photographer. The rest of us egged each other on to be brave enough to have a go.

We got changed in a draughty wooden hut and then went into the sauna. It was so dark it took a while for  your eyes to accustom, but once they did it was fine.

After sitting in the sauna, we then bravely ran to the river, wearing swimwear, hats and socks. I was first to dip in but wasn’t brave enough to go all the way in. Running back up to the sauna in wet socks was an experience as ice cubes form underneath as you run. Nick and Julie both managed a full plunge and back into the sauna. Once back in, we were grave enough to give it another go and this time I managed the full dip.

It was a really invigorating experience. You would expect that coming out of a sauna into the cold would feel horrendous, but you are so warm that it takes a while for your body to feel the cold. As you dip in the pool it numbs your body, but you feel so lively and awake once you get back in the sauna. Afterwards your skin really tingles and glows. I would definitely recommend it if you are brave enough to try.

A cosy afternoon

After a warm shower and a change of clothes we went for a short walk around the hotel grounds before going for lunch. As the sun started to set, the sky began to glow a beautiful red.  By 2pm it was almost dark again and we spent the afternoon keeping cosy by the fire.

My first experience of snow mobiling

Our late evening activity was an aurora hunt on a snow mobile. After putting on an extra couple of layers of clothing and donning the new correctly fitting snowsuit, we set off for our instructions in driving a snow mobile. Needless to say I chose not to drive and decided to sit on the back whilst Andrew drove.

It was pitch dark driving through the forest and icy cold. The guide said that it was probably about -22 degrees as the temperature in the nearest tow, Saariselka was -12 and it can be up to 10 degrees colder in muotka.

Through the headlights you could see the snow glistening on the ground and when we came to a clearing and turned the engines off, there was no sound at all. The sky was amazingly clear and the stars were vivid in the sky.

The guide lit a fire and boiled up a kettle of hot water, then made everyone a cup of hot chocolate. It was then back on the snow mobiles to the hotel, in time for the New Year celebrations.

A New Years Eve to remember

Back at the hotel, there was a glass of bubbly for everyone and a buffet of snacks. At just before midnight we all went outside, where there was a firework display. After wishing everyone a Happy New Year, it was back inside to warm up.

Just short of an hour later, one of the staff members wanted us all to share in a Spanish New Year tradition and gave us all a cup with 12 grapes in. At midnight Spanish time, we then all had to eat a grape at each chime. This is supposed to bring you look for the next year. I managed to eat the first few, but then ended up putting them in my mouth and not chewing them quickly, so looked a bit like a squirrel storing food for the winter.

At this point we decided that we could probably spend the next few hours celebrating New Year for every nationality in the hotel, but decided to call it a day at 2am, when it was New Year in England.

Definitely a different way to celebrate New Year and one to remember!

A Winter Adventure in Lapland (2)

After a good night’s sleep I awoke at 6am to the sound of the snow plough going past the cabin. It was still pitch dark and had been snowing overnight. Once the snow plough had gone past it was calm and peaceful again. After a leisurely shower and then piling on lots of clothing, we went up to the centre for breakfast. It wa a very mild morning at -2 degrees. It was still snowing and snow had been forecast for most of the day.

There was a lovely choice of food for breakfast and we then went back to the cabin to get ready for our first activity.

Cross Country Skiing

I tried on the enourmous snow suit and struggled to walk in it as the crotch was down by my knees and the legs were about 6 inches too long! I went back to the clothing centre, but they did not have any in a slightly smaller size that would still fit me, so I was provided with a belt to pull it in and hold it up around the middle. Luckily this did the job whilst I was skiing, but I still couldn’t manage to walk in it.

one of the hardest jobs of the day, was getting the skis on whilst wearing so much clothing. Once we all managed to get sorted,  our group set off following the guide along the ready made tracks in the snow.

Once I got a rhythm going I was fine, unless I lost my concentration and then I would start to wobble. Luckily I managed not to fall and the group kept up a steady pace, into the Urho Kekkonen National Park. It was snowing gently and I was absolutely melting in the snow suit. The guide did say that they are more useful for minus ten temperatures rather than the current mild weather.

My husband managed to break the strap on his skis, so had to walk the last few hundred metres to the refreshemnet stop. In the National Park we stopped by a fireplace (not lit) where we had hot juice and cookies. Most of the cookies were fed to the Siberian jays which were very people friendly and were happy to eat the crumbs out of your hand.

After this lovely rest and a change of skis for Andrew, it was back on the tracks to ski our way to the hotel. A quick change of clothing followed by a well deserved lunch and I was happy to find that my fit bit recorded 21000 steps!

A forest walk in snow shoes

After lunch, we were booked in for a lesson in snow shoes. I had learned my lesson from the morning and put on a few less layers, minus the snow suit.

The snow shoes were no easier to get on your feet, but were a little bit easier to manage once you had them on.

We set off following the guide, initially on the flattened snow track. She advised us at this point to stay on the track, as although we were walking on the frozen river, there were places where it wasn’t frozen.

Once we were in the wood she then suggested that we have a go on the crash snow off the track. This was really hard to do and it is difficult to tell how deep the snow is. At one point I stepped in snow up to my waist, tried to put my hand down to push myself up, but again disappeared into the snow. Even trying to use the poles didn’t help. Eventually after gettin over my fits of laughter I was helped up by my husband and a lovely lady in the group. I managed the rest of the walk without incident.

We stopped in the woods at one of the Kota’ s, which is a teepee style building built by the reindeer farmers for shelter. We stopped in the shelter for hot juice and cookies (there is a bit of a theme appearing here) and then we carried on walking through the woods back to the hotel

Sauna and snow

After a short rest and a warm drink and snacks, we then decided to use the sauna. Each of the cabin has its own sauna, but we all went into the one in our friend’s cabin.  I had to sit on the lower deck as I cannot bear the hottest heat at the top of the sauna. I was then challenged to run out into the snow and rub the snow on my skin as it’s really good for you. Amazingly, it isn’t quite as cold as you would think, running out intimate the snow in bare feet and a swimmingly costume! It did make me feel ver invigorated. Things are looking positive for the planned sauna adventure tomorrow then!

We had a lovely meal in the evening, followed by a couple of drinks and a game of cards. At this point I was very relaxed (possibly slightly drunk as I am a lightweight!), so it was back to the cabin, where I slept like a baby.

A winter adventure in Lapland (1)

On our latest travel adventures, we have decided to come to Muotka Wilderness Lodge Hotel in Finland for a 7 day adventure. We booked with Inghams Travel, choosing a package where everything including all the activities. The friends that we have travelled with have been here before and highly recommended it.

The flight was a chartered flight with Jet2, at 7am (U.K. Time) which was on time and arrived promptly at Kittilia Airport at 12 noon (Finnish time, 2 hrs ahead). However because the airport was so busy we had to sit on the plane for half an hour as there wasn’t room for us.

When we actually got into the airport it was chaos, absolutely packed with people arriving from different fligh s and only two baggage carousels. About an hour and a half later, we managed to retrieve our luggage and made our way to the transfer coach. Unfortunately we then waited an hour for other passengers, before we finally set off on the three hour transfer to Muotka.

Well worth the wait

The drive to the Wilderness Lodge was a lengthy one, but well worth the wait. The driver took us through piles of snow on the side of the road which were taller than me. There was some snow on the roads (enough to have me refusing to drive if it had been on the roads at home)

when we arrived at the hotel it was like stepping into a Christmas card. Everywhere was completely covered in snow, lots of snow! We went into the lodge and were given a welcome talk by Nina, the manager. We were allocated our lodges and then took our luggage on a sledge to the cabin.

The accommodation is absolutely beautiful – wooden lodges set in a snowy Forrest. There is a small kitchen ar a, a wooden bed in the middle of the room, a bathroom and sauna. The room was lovely, warm and inviting. After a quick look round and dropping off the luggage, it was back to the hotel centre for our evening meal.

We all had onion soup with fresh homemade bread. I followed mine with salmon and potatoes with salad. Everyone else had moose stew, which I was told was very tender and tasty.

After our meal we went to get kitted out with all our winter gear. For some reason my snow suit appeared to be for an 8ft 20 stone rugby player, but I was told it needed room for layers! I’m not sure how my thermals are going to make me any taller, but more about that later.

So after a long day travelling, it was back to the lovely warm cabin and the big wooden bed, where I fell asleep in no time. Absolute silence and complete darkness-heaven!