The Northern Lights on the seaward side
The Northern Lights is a shy phenomenon which seems to appear when we least expect it, and prospective viewers should be prepared for plenty of waiting under clear skies. The keenest Northern Lights enthusiasts often seek out drier areas inland in order to watch the rays. This often involves hours of waiting in intense cold. Vesterålen has a mild and moist winter climate with clouds often hiding the Northern Lights, yet temperatures are much more pleasant and it is possible to stay outdoors for longer. So maybe that evens up the score a little?
House at the Outer Edge
In the idyllic hamlet of Ringstad is the compact holiday resort of the House at the Outer Edge, offering self-catering cabins and apartments. The Ringstad winter evenings are pitch black — only a few lights shine out from the hamlet cabins, helping the camera to focus.
Relax and view the Northern Lights
The aurora borealis is a bit of a diva who demands that we wait for her, rather than the other way round, yet waiting is a pleasant experience in the restaurant at the House at the Outer Edge; there are hot drinks, warm coats, hats and mittens available and the camera tripod is already set up on the waterfront outside. This means we are ready for the evening's light show, whenever it decides to turn up. There is also a shelter close to the House at the Outer Edge for those who want to be 100% certain that they have brought everything with them. The host at the House at the Outer Edge will also wake you in the night if the Northern Lights should appear.
The host, Ian, is a keen photographer who takes unbelievable photographs of the Northern Lights every winter. He will gladly share his extensive knowledge with you and help you with your camera settings. The camera must be set to manual, the aperture must be set to maximum, the shutter speed must be set to thirty seconds... well, you get the picture, literally. There is a lot to remember. And if you want to get really good, Ian will gladly run a photo workshop during the day on request. These workshops will teach you the skills you need to take photographs in the dark whenever you wish.
When the Northern Lights guests wake up a little later in the morning after their dance with the aurora the night before, they can enjoy the snow-covered version of Vesterålen. Over the snow on the terrace railings, they will see the north face of the Lofoten Wall, the mountains of Bø, Stokmarknes and in the far distance the 1262-metre (4140 feet) high Møysalen Mountain, all in their winter clothing. Doing anything other than simply admiring the awe-inspiring view is entirely optional.
Fun in the daylight
Autumn and winter kayaking is both safe and fun in the calm inlet just off the House at the Outer Edge. Eagle safaris by boat are extremely enjoyable, enabling you to take photographs you never thought possible. On land, you can walk on snowshoes, go for long walks or join an elk safari in the woods on the leeward side of the house. The host will also take you to other parts of Vesterålen, such as the beautiful Nyksund, a whale safari at Andenes or the "blue city" of Sortland.
The House at the Outer Edge has its own website. http://www.yttersiden.no/
Visit Vesterålen regularly posts information on attractions, activities, transport and travel, accommodation and much more in Vesterålen on its website. www.visitvesteralen.com