The great outdoors

Is this the most remote hotel in the world?

Thinking of escaping the ‘rat race’?  Then you can’t get much further than this… a remote hotel in Greenland which is 500 miles from anywhere.

The settlement of Ittoqqortoormiit [CORR] in East Greenland has a buzzing population of 450 people – and the odd polar bear.

It takes three flights and a helicopter ride to travel the 1,486 miles from London and frequently posts temperatures below 20 degrees Celsius, making it one of the coldest places on earth.

However, the tiny town offers front-row seats to the cosmic display of Aurora Borealis – also known as the Northern Lights.

It’s also the gateway to the National Park of North-East Greenland, which is the biggest national park in the world.

Hotels.com is offering to stump up 99% of the hotel stay for any traveller hardy enough to make the journey in March 2019.

Newly-appointed Hotels.com president Adam Jay, who is an adventurer himself, said: “Greenland as a destination is really hotting up – even though it’s minus 20 most of the time – as today’s travellers are seeking those rewarding, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

“This stunning peninsula is an epic bucket-list destination where you can go sledding with wolves, kayaking in the Arctic and maybe see the Northern Lights from your room.

“It’s truly spectacular and the best bit is – we’re picking up most of the room tab.”

The town neighbours the entry to one of the world’s largest and deepest multi-branched fjord system, Scoresby Sound.

From here, visitors can hop on a local tall-ship and sail past icebergs and glaciers, spotting some seals and whales along the way.

According to data gleaned from searches through Hotels.com, 2018 has seen an 18% increase in searches for off-the-grid travel.

And searches specific to Greenland have increased by over 50% compared to last year.

Claim 99% off a stay in March 2019

The coupon code for the Ittoqqortoormiit Guesthouse is exclusive to Hotels.com and is available to book now until 31 December 2018 (subject to very limited availability), for stays in March 2019 only.

Just apply coupon code ‘REMOTE’ at check out.

News

Rabbie’s brings ethical small group travel to new parts of the UK

Scottish tour operator Rabbie’s has introduced three new day-tours leaving from Aberdeen.

The small group specialist, which is passionate about sustainability and CSR (corporate social responsibility), has launched Dunottar Castle & Royal Deeside; Loch Ness & The Highlands, and a Speyside Whisky Trail to its programme of Scottish tours for 2019-2020.

Rabbie’s has also revealed two new three-day trips from Manchester to popular holiday spots in Wales and The Peak District and doubled its choice of departures from London.

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“After the success of launching a departure point in Inverness, we felt ready to bring our ethical small-group tours to new parts of the UK,” says Rabbie’s founder and chief executive Robin Worsnop.

“It’s the right time too – all reports are saying Manchester’s tourism sector is growing, and travellers are starting to discover the fantastic locations that lie on Aberdeen’s doorstep.”

Heather Reekie, director of marketing & sales, said: “When I first found out we were going to connect with the railway lines with our new package tours, I was surprised other companies weren’t already doing this. Travelling by rail is far quicker and more sustainable than using a car to travel long distances.

“We’re hoping a lot of locals in London will see these packages as a stress-free and affordable alternative to taking a flight, booking accommodation, and working out where to go in a rental car.“

Rabbie’s new programme also includes a three-day tour of Lewis and Harris from Inverness, a three-day tour of Mull from Glasgow, and a discovery of the Isle of Wight’s ancient landscape from London with a three-day tour which starts from £149 per person.

To complete the programme Rabbie’s has added a selection of short tours departing from Inverness, Glasgow, Dublin and Edinburgh.

Sustainability and CSR have, since the beginning, been integrated into the core of Rabbie’s business strategy, products and services, with strong impact on rural and remote communities.

By operating small groups, Rabbie’s has access to the back roads and provide affordable travel to make these remote communities accessible to visitors.

The company also supports local community and environmental projects which preserve the communities and wildlife by self-taxing £10 for every tonne of CO2 used. The money is then donated to support community and environmental projects.

Pictured is Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness.

The great outdoors

How to set up an Autumn-themed nature table

A nature setting to suit the seasons – Emily Hamalainen of Little Acorns Early Years talks about the educational and therapeutic benefits of setting up a nature table at home 

As shades of Autumn start to appear and nature transforms itself so vividly, what better way to help children contextualise and reinforce these seasonal changes than with a nature setting within our homes?

A nature setting might be on a window sill, a shelf or a side table – anywhere children can easily see it. The great thing about a nature setting is that it can include anything at all found on your nature walks – pinecones, stones, or bits of bark, for example. We even had a snake skin on ours that our daughter found on holiday.

It’s also nice to use a light cloth hung up as a back drop in a colour to suit the season and a candle or vase filled with flowers or seed heads as a focal point.

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As Autumn arrives, here’s an example of what you might find on a nature table:

          Burnt orange muslin cloth draped over a side table

          Conkers and their spikey husks

          Leaves of varying changing colours

          A beeswax candle (lit when supervised)

          Various seed heads in a vase

          Feathers, stones, moss and other woodland finds

If your nature setting starts to become cluttered or untidy with your children’s enthusiasm for collecting and one season changes to the next, you can reorganise it with a fresh backdrop to suit the season, fresh seasonal foliage in a vase and a gentle tidy. The setting will naturally evolve visually as you add items with the changing season.

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Now when your little one so keenly give you their array of ‘presents’ and ‘treasures’ they’ve found in nature, you can show your thanks by placing them pride of place on your nature setting. For children this brings them so much joy – helping them to feel valued and reinforce their love of the great outdoors. Not only that, it also conjures up questions from deep within- ‘mummy, why are conkers so spikey on the outside and smooth on the inside?’, ‘daddy, why do bees like flowers so much?’ and can even become an aid in story telling. Learning through nature makes learning all the more fun!

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The nature setting is a place of beauty where you can create a still life of a moment in time but even more than that, it’s also a tool for inspiring your child’s imagination and bringing the world around them truly alive!

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Emily Hamalainen is the co-founder and group leader of Little Acorns Early Years, which provides Waldorf Steiner and nature-inspired learning opportunities in Ayr.

Find out more about the work of Little Acorns Early Years in the October/November 2018 issue of Holistic Scotland Magazine.

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