The scenery whirling by outside the window was reminscent of Narnia before that bad witch got her come-uppance. Endless pine forests gracefully clothed in brilliant white snow spread out in all directions, with the occasional wooden house breaking up the vista. We were on our way to the Finn Jann Husky Farm, where, according to the holiday blurb, the huskies “… are eagerly awaiting your arrival to whisk you off on your unforgettable safari.”
I was on a Mighty Fine Winter Adventure Holiday in Finland, just within the Arctic Circle at the fjell-top resort of Iso-Syöte. I had already been on a snowmobile excursion to visit a reindeer farm, stooped low into an igloo and discovered curious facts about local life. Today we were to experience a Husky Safari.
Well, those dogs were certainly eager. There are over 70 cross-breed Huskies here and it seemed every single one of them was ‘eagerly’ yelping to be chosen to take us out… the noise of their barking could surely be heard at Santa’s home at the North Pole. In spite of the noise,, they were really friendly and quite happy to have a hug from a besotted English woman.
Gerralda, the Hotel Iso-Syöte Marketing Manager and I were put together and owner Timo showed us how to operate our sleighs. Then … we were off. It was exhilarating and exciting – the dogs go really fast and the scenery whizzes by in a snowy blur. I enjoyed being a passenger very much, lying back and simply enjoying the drive.
The only sounds were the swish of the sledge runners, the panting of the dogs and the snapping of twigs as we hurtled through thick pine trees cushioned on either side by deep pillows of snow. In front of us our six strong dogs, bred for their speed and stamina, enthusiastically strained to keep up with a caravanserai of sturdy sledges.
I did have a rather scary experience when I tried driving. You only have a small metal bar at the back of the sleigh to brake 6 powerful, enthusiastic hounds to stop them careening off across the countryside. When we were crossing a frozen lake, a sleigh in front overturned and their dogs raced away out of sight. Timo caught them on his snowmobile whilst the rest of waited with our packs of dogs almost beside themselves with energy to escape too. As our sledge slipped and slid below my feet, I wondered if I could keep the brake on… Eventually Timo caught the runaways, the lead couple got back onto their vehicle and we set off once more. It was a huge relief when we were all back together again and I quickly returned to my reclining seat and let Gerralda do the driving.
Relaxing on comfy blankets, covered in smooth, soft reindeer skins, I felt like the Queen of Narnia before the thaw – in the nicest possible way of course.. As we returned to the farm, the sun was sinking low in the sky and there was an ethereal glow all around. It was a snapshot that will linger in my memory for a very long time.
Thanks very much to online travel agents The Mighty Fine Company for a truly exciting Winter Adventure in Finland.