Winning tip: Orkney, Scotland
Birsay, on the mainland of Orkney, the place the Atlantic and North Seas meet, is sensible for a white-night stroll. Start at Longagleeb, a powerful geo (lengthy cleft within the cliffs) and expertise beautiful sunsets at about 10.30pm in the intervening time (and dawn at 4am), and delightful seascapes. Here, you’ll see the puffins, Arctic terns and eider geese that are prolific right now of 12 months, and be careful for the massive Arctic skuas that can swoop in the direction of you in case you stroll close to their nests. After passing the Birsay whalebone, erected in 1876 by native fishermen utilizing the stays of a beached whale, cross the causeway to the Brough of Birsay. This is a now uninhabited tidal island the place guests can discover darkish ages Pictish and Norse settlements. Up forward the sunshine from one of many Stevenson household lighthouses sweeps out throughout the ocean. This is Orkney at its most splendid and numerous. Wild camp if you wish to, there’s loads of secluded pitches, or self-cater in luxurious at Grukalty (from £600 in June, sleeps six) in Birsay, with its scorching tub and sauna, and uninterrupted views out to sea.
Denali nationwide park, Alaska
July in Alaska’s Denali nationwide park means a sundown at round 11.30pm, which leaves loads of time to pitch a tent for the evening and cook dinner a late dinner (there are six campsites within the huge park). On a backpacking journey there final summer time, I performed playing cards and charades round a wood picnic desk for hours, everybody often lifting up the mosquito netting round our heads to sip scorching chocolate from small titanium mugs. With the sunshine lasting properly into the night, nobody remembered to test their watch till no less than 10pm, a realisation that got here as a shock to us. We stayed at Wonder Lake campground ($16pn, at mile 85 on the Denali park street), and noticed bears by means of binoculars on a couple of events. My private highlights have been the wild flowers all over the place, and the astounding views of Denali (previously Mount McKinley), North America’s highest peak.
Eyjafjallajökull volcano, Iceland
At the summer time solstice annually, dozens of Icelanders and adventurous vacationers hike by means of the “night” and have a midnight picnic on prime of Eyjafjallajökull – the snowcapped volcano that halted air travel throughout Europe in 2010. You can do the 24km, six-hour stroll in both path between Thórsmörk and Skógar. Sunset in mid-June is at round 11.45pm but it surely doesn’t get darkish – and the solar is again up by 3am. You’ll go although some breathtaking surroundings, climb a glacier and cross among the latest land within the world, together with Magni and Modi, the 2 youngest craters in Iceland. The all-night gentle offers you vitality to maintain going lengthy after bedtime. However, in case you’d reasonably break the hike right into a two-day affair you possibly can keep in a single day within the hut at Fimmvörðuháls (£45), a one-room, cosy bunkhouse for 20. You herald snow from outdoors and soften it on the range to get water, carry all of your garbage away with you and will properly end up sung to sleep by the guitar-strumming warden, as we have been. It’s an evening you’ll always remember.
Ronas Hill, Shetland, Scotland
If you climb up Ronas Hill on midsummer evening you’ll get pleasure from what should be the longest attainable day you possibly can have within the UK (sundown at 10.30pm, dawn three.40am). The hill’s solely 450 metres excessive however is the best level on this nation’s most northerly islands. From the summit on a transparent night you possibly can see the entire archipelago, from Mackle Flugga to Fair Isle laid out earlier than you. In the Shetlands they name the lengthy summer time twilight the “simmer dim”. It’s the cue for events and one of many UK’s finest motorbike rallies.
Norway’s week-long midsummer celebration Slinningsbåle celebrates the delivery of St John and there are celebrations throughout the nation. These are finest skilled within the smaller cities, the place they take the entire thing just a little extra critically and none extra so than the fishing port of Ålesund (sundown 11.30pm), the place every 24 June a bonfire is lit that takes weeks to construct and is frequently within the Guinness Book of Records because the world’s largest (presently round 47.5 metres). Erected on an islet to make sure particles falls into the water, it burns from the highest down and whereas the view from shore is spectacular sufficient, if considered from one of many many native boats you’ll have the ability to see the firestarters as they hurriedly scramble again down the construction. Fire has performed a serious position in Ålesund’s historical past: in 1904 the then-wooden city was all however destroyed in an enormous conflagration that solely killed one particular person however left 10,000 homeless. It was rebuilt within the art-nouveau model that makes the place so distinctive at the moment.
Island close to Stockholm
When we have been final in Stockholm we purchased five-day ferry tickets for round £38, which allowed us to travel to a number of islands. My favorite was Gällnö. We spent the evening within the prime half of a standard farmhouse, proper by the water (cottage from about £500pw).The island could be very rural with no automobiles, simply small paths meandering by means of forest, orchards and fields. In the nighttime I used to be conscious it wasn’t darkish and stepped onto our wood veranda to a silver, fully nonetheless, portray of water dotted with rocky islands. It took me a very long time earlier than I compelled myself to return to mattress. The picture of that gentle and panorama comes again to me usually.
Dornoch, Scottish Highlands
Surviving summer time for the common Edinburgh resident isn’t any simple feat. As the pageant takes maintain of town streets from late July, the inhabitants doubles. Buildings, partitions, avenue indicators and lampposts are plastered in posters and the outdated cobbled streets are full of avenue performers singing, dancing, juggling and fire-eating. So, when my sister and her companion instructed me they’d determined to get married within the seaside village of Dornoch (45 miles north of Inverness) I used to be delighted. They deliberate a modest seashore ceremony and invited me and my boyfriend as witnesses. The seashore was peaceable and golden, lit completely within the excessive midsummer solar. There have been few indicators of life, other than some canine walkers scattered on the horizon. The vows have been transient however significant and have been adopted by a ceremonial dip within the freezing chilly North Sea. We continued the night with celebratory bubbly and BBQ round a small driftwood fireplace. We spent the night watching the solar dip slowly in the direction of the horizon (round 9.30pm in early August) by means of the sand dunes and chatting about what exhibits to attend on our return to Edinburgh.
Solovetsky island, White Sea, Russia
Photograph: Getty Images
The island has an airstrip and might be reached by aircraft from town of Archangelsk twice every week. But in the summertime it may also be reached by three-hour ferry (£18) from Kem, solely 200km from the border with Finland (reached by prepare from Moscow). The major attraction is the well-known 16th-century Transfiguration monastery that within the 1920s was taken over by the Bolsheviks and become a horrific gulag. The monastery, now restored and reconsecrated, has regained its unique vibe, as have the church buildings and museums. The island has so many wonderful forests, wild-flower meadows, rivers, small islands and lakes to discover – an actual white-night wilderness (sundown in June round 11.30pm, dawn 2.30am). The island is typical of the Russian north, it feels unhappy, bitter however grandiose. There are a couple of motels on the island, among the many extra snug is Solovki Hotel, a newish wood place in parkland with sauna and bikes (doubles from £60 B&B).
For a very wild approach to benefit from the midnight solar, head to the Wild Brown Bear Centre, near the Russian border in distant Kuhmo, Finland. During the day, stroll the various trails across the lodge, rent kayaks, or expertise a standard Finnish smoke sauna, full with an compulsory dip within the chilly lake. After an early dinner, enterprise out into the woods to a wood conceal, full with comfortable chairs and bunk beds. As it by no means will get actually darkish (sundown in June round 11.25pm and dawn at 2.30am), you’ll have loads of alternatives to brown bears proper outdoors the conceal, in addition to myriad different wildlife together with moose, arctic hares, and, in case you’re actually fortunate, wolverine.
• €200 for Bear and Wolverine Hide, for day and evening, full board together with sauna
White Nights Festival, St Petersburg
Photograph: Getty Images
Our Baltic cruise ship docked in St Petersburg and I instructed my mother and father I used to be going to discover town then come again for dinner. I chanced upon the midsummer Festival of the White Nights (till 23 July this 12 months, sundown round 10.25pm midsummer) instantly – the streets, bathed in a delicate celestial gentle, have been alive with the vitality of dancing, music and literature actions outdoor. A theatre group requested me to learn a speech from King Lear and I used to be invited to hitch in a efficiency – then go to a celebration. Thrown by the magical vibe, I lost observe of time. I referred to as to say I might be late for dinner. Dad mentioned I might be very late – 24 hours had handed and the ship had sailed for Helsinki!