Sitting in a comfortable triple-glazed office gazing out at the greying thaw, it’s easy to forget that Sweden is home to one of Europe’s harshest wilderness regions.
James Morland, writing in the Belfast Telegraph, reminds us, as he describes a gruelling five-day 100km trek through the Laponia World Heritage Site as part of his training for the 2007 Polar Race in April.
Before we had embarked on our trip across the Arctic we’d asked a Swedish ranger what conditions to expect. After an intense conversation with his wife and son he turned to us and simply said, “there will be lots of weather”.
The winds were so strong that sturdy pines were snapped in two, the blizzards so thick we could only just make each other out struggling to remain upright, and the temperatures so bitterly cold the sweat in our gloves would freeze solid if we stopped for even a minute.
Time for a coffee.