Gregory Log Cabins

Star Travel Rating

5/5

Review type

Accommodation

Location

Date of travel

Jan, 2014

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

Friend(s)

Reasons for trip

Walking

Hoping to see the Northern Lights – and allowing a week in one of the best locations to do so – we opted for Luosto some 50 minutes drive north of the Arctic Circle. We found the Gregory Cabins – A, B and C. Gregory A slept 8/9 so we opted for that. Described as a Kelo log cabin it looked like the real deal; and it proved to be so. Kelo logs are the slow growing local timber which is so dense that it forms a solid and warm wall. he cabin was formed of 40cm diameter logs piled on top of each other. The windows were triple glazed, with venetian blinds between two of the panes. Thus one can keep the constant light out during their long summer days. We kitted ourselves out for January in the Arctic Circle; thick coats, ski gloves and snow boots, scarves and hats, balaclavas and inner layers. Some had boot chains and goggles: neither was essential if boots with good tread were chosen. Knowing there were few local shops which were probably also expensive we also packed dried and canned food, cereals and cup-o-soups. They were a godsend coming in after an icy walk about the area. We flew Finnair via Helsinki to Rovaniemi where the flight was met by a ski bus. This dropped us at the hotel in Luosto. We were amazed at the huge number of tall trees en route; We left Santa-Land behind and drove into the far north. I had imagined that the Arctic Circle would have cold-stunted trees sparsely scattered, but it was far more lush in the valleys. The lovely lady taxi driver had collected our key and drove us straight to the cabin. What a wonderful surprise it was. So warm we were advised to walk about in socks to make the most of the underfloor heating. In fact we turned the heating down after a day or two, finding it too warm. It was dry too, so snow gear soon dried off in the drying chest (like a fridge). The wet room was complete with a sauna which seated 4. The open plan cabin had bedrooms above and one downstairs. Everything we could want was there including a selection of tea and coffee, sugar, toilet paper, dishwasher power etc. Clothes cupboards were lacking – but in fact nobody had brought along dressed or clothes which required hanging. There were hooks on the walls and chests of drawers for smalls. We walked to the town daily – a walk of around 15 to 30 minutes depending upon fitness. There we were able to book husky sled rides (freezing – be well prepared!) and a reindeer sleigh ride (slower – therefore not so cold), We chose not to ski or toboggan, but it was all available too. We often passed cross country skiers on our walks. The ski slopes were lit up at night too looking very pretty with the strings of lights weaving down the mountain. One day we walked to an Amethyst Mine where we could dig for our own stones. The mine entrance was atop the mountain and as we ascended the slopes we saw trees completely cloaked in thick snow – exactly how we had envisaged the Arctic to be. We had hot chocolate daily in the Hotel, and had a lovely meal in the restaurant. The shop did not prove too expensive, so eating in was also enjoyable; a sledge provided with the cabin made easy work of pulling the shopping home! Instead of someone coming in to mow the lawn we had a tractor snow-plough who came twice a week to clear the driveway and entrance. Everything was so efficient and of good quality. We kept watch every night for the aurora, but the solar activity was importune that week, and we did not see it once. Though it did show the night we flew back to Gatwick – unfortunately we were already out of the area! Although we did not ski, we had a wonderful week in crystal clear air. The snow fell as fine powder so we were never wet. The sun hardly rose above the horizon even though we had around 6 hours of light; what light there is reflects on the snow, making it appear bright. Two of our party came with us reluctantly – but both said afterwards that it was really enjoyable and worthwhile; the cold was quite bearable because of the efficient heating everywhere; and the lack of light was minimised so by the reflections on the snow. The Finnish people we met were all very helpful and friendly. Being a small resort, they mostly multi-task – our taxi driver also worked in the travel office, and their duties changed with the seasons. We loved Finland, loved Luosto and loved the cabin. And we are still on the look out for the aurora borealis…. maybe we will try Norway or Iceland next. Our reluctant friends are also rearing to go again – knowing now that the Arctic Circle can be warm, hospitable, bright and welcoming. A reasonable fitness is required to make the most of all the attractions. However, the town is a level walk away. Children and the unfit may be pulled along by sledge too, giving them a welcome rest. The husky and reindeer sledges are pulled along the ground, so it can be both bumpy and cold; but it really was great fun. The husky ride was very cold moving fast through the cold air, so doubly warm dress is required for that. Breaking down the costs of air fares and cabin hire, local transport and food (mostly self-catered), this was not as expensive as we had anticipated. The trips were expensive, but one or two chosen trips heightened the whole experience. I would highly recommend Luosto and the Gregory cabins for a get-away from it week in the fabulous Arctic Circle.

Frances

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