Three holidays for nature lovers

A trip out to the sticks needn’t mean abandoning creature comforts. Chris Carter reports.

919-Finland-634
Isokenkisten Klubi: the cosiness is heartwarming

"As the nights turn frosty, most Scots start pondering some last-minute Mediterranean sun, but I say go full autumn," says Alice Rickard in The Sunday Times. This time of year Kuusamo, a mass of hills and lakes located just 40 miles from the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland, is aflame with fiery oranges and golds. Ruska is what the Finns call the turning of the leaves. It isn't just something you see. You feel it too.

Isokenkisten Klubi (from £87, IKK.fi) is a family run wilderness hotel situated among miles of forest by the peaceful, clear-water Lake Heikinjrvi. Traditional Finnish activities on offer include foraging, saunas and cooking lessons.

"As I open the little wooden door to the Lappish hut, known as a kota, I pray that my cooking lesson is going to be easier than trying to pronounce the hotel name," says Rickard. "Before any recipes are exchanged, we are greeted with homemade herbal teas around a fire. The cosiness of it all is heartwarming. Watching the Finnish hammer wooden pegs to secure locally caught salmon to a board to cook over the fire is an almost meditative experience."

"Picking berries, watching bears, drinking tea around the fire: I never expected to feel such a sense of warmth in such a cool, northerly climate I throw on my coat, cocoon myself in my scarf, step out into the darkness, and there they are the Northern Lights."

Enjoy Snowdon from a hot tub

919-Wales-634
Hop aboard a steam train for a Welsh autumn adventure

Forest Holidays Beddgelert (three nights from £665, ForestHolidays.co.uk) is a cluster of 16 self-catering cabins, located on the quiet side of Snowdon in north Wales, says William Gray in The Sunday Telegraph. Here you get to enjoy the best of both worlds creature comforts and nature. After all, "how cool is appreciating nature from an outdoor hot tub, lying back in the bubbles and gazing up through the canopy of an ancient oak wood that's all-of-a-flutter with redstarts, flycatchers and nuthatches?" Each morning, the whistle of a steam train reminds you of the myriad activities available beyond your woodland sanctuary. The Welsh Highland Railway runs along one boundary of the site, stopping at a small station where you can hop aboard for the 25-mile ride between Caernarfon and Porthmadog.

Mountain bikes can be hired from the Forest Retreat reception and shop. "Half an hour later, we were cycling through an elfin forest beside a stream that sluiced through jumbled boulders. We emerged into a clearing where foxgloves lined the track like pink fireworks, but our gaze was soon tugged across the valley to Mount Snowdon Pushing on we reached Llyn Llewelyn, a lake so dazzlingly blue it looked like a slice of the Bahamas slipped into the Welsh highlands." Toe-dabbling turned to paddling. "Before we had time to remind ourselves we were in North Wales, we were wondering whether we didn't actually prefer wild swimming to hot tubbing."

A break for keen swimmers

919-BC-634
British Columbia: perfect for a spot of wild swimming

"You have to go quickly no point in easing yourself in, chuckles a woman as I wince while getting into the frigid water," says Rhiannon Curry in The Independent. Taking a dip in the lakes and rivers of British Columbia, western Canada, certainly casts the idea of wild swimming in a new light. There are around 20,000 lakes here, so it is possible to go a whole day without splashing within earshot of another soul. "This is wild swimming with a hefty dose of wilderness."

Squamish is the first stop along the Sea to Sky Highway, which joins Vancouver to the "breathtaking" Rocky Mountains. In winter it is a base for skiers heading for Whistler. In the warmer months, there's a pretty river as well as a number of lakes to swim in. Cat Lake is a local favourite, with its rope swings and pine tree-lined shores. Alice Lake is also nearby, making it easy to have more than one swimming trip in a day.

"Back in Vancouver, Kitsilano swimming pool is a man-made lido rather than a lake, but it is a must for keen swimmers. Perched on the edge of the ocean, the huge outdoor pool has recently been refurbished. What's more, it's heated, so no grimacing as you wade in."

Recommended

Get out and enjoy the autumn
Travel and holidays

Get out and enjoy the autumn

It’s the season for hikes among the trees and cosy meals in pubs, says Nicole Garcia Merida.
16 Oct 2020
Travel: a cosy weekend in London at No.5 Maddox St
Travel and holidays

Travel: a cosy weekend in London at No.5 Maddox St

Chris Carter enjoys a city break in London, his home town.
9 Oct 2020
Where to take a skiing holiday this winter
Travel and holidays

Where to take a skiing holiday this winter

There are still several appealing options for a skiing holiday, despite Covid-19, says Chris Carter.
2 Oct 2020
Four British holiday retreats fit for royalty
Travel and holidays

Four British holiday retreats fit for royalty

Settling for a holiday in the UK needn’t mean roughing it, says Chris Carter.
25 Sep 2020

Most Popular

How will we repay our vast debt pile? Do we even need to?
Sponsored

How will we repay our vast debt pile? Do we even need to?

In his recent articles looking at different aspects of the fixed-income investing world, David Stevenson looked at inflation. Today he looks at a clos…
19 Oct 2020
The Bank of England should create a "Bitpound" digital currency and take the world by storm
Bitcoin

The Bank of England should create a "Bitpound" digital currency and take the world by storm

The Bank of England could win the race to create a respectable digital currency if it moves quickly, says Matthew Lynn.
18 Oct 2020
Negative interest rates and the end of free bank accounts
Bank accounts

Negative interest rates and the end of free bank accounts

Negative interest rates are likely to mean the introduction of fees for current accounts and other banking products. But that might make the UK bankin…
19 Oct 2020