As I drive through the Arctic night, the snow falls so thick our wipers struggle to push it aside. The no.4 highway, linking Kemi at the northern end of the Gulf of Bothnia with Rovaniemi, is covered with ice and there are warning signs for elk, 500-kg beasts that have an unfortunate habit of crashing through your windscreen. At eleven a.m. the sun finally appears, an impotent orange blob which barely illuminates the ghostly yet beautiful birch forests of Northern Finland; it will set in two hours.
When I glance in the rear-view mirror to see what our London-raised kids make of this alien world they’re immersed in their Nintendos. Emma looks up, bored:
“Are we nearly at the Arctic Circle yet?”