Robin is currently at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge University, after retiring as Senior Astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, in 2003. Robin is the author and co-author of over 120 research papers, using a number of telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope. His research interests include the composition of stars, exploding stars, the structure of our Galaxy and galaxies with black holes at their centres. He has given numerous popular lectures and radio and TV interviews and is currently part of the team building the Solar Pyramid, which will be the largest sundial in the world.
Seek the Northern Lights in Swedish Lapland with Robin Catchpole
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Swedish Lapland is Europe's last real wilderness and the vast dark skies reveal constellations, planets and shooting stars as you have never seen them before. Plus of course there's the possibility you will also spot the incredible Northern Lights, a truly unforgettable experience.
On this five-day trip to Luleå, you will be joined by astronomer Dr Robin Catchpole, who will give you a unique insight into this natural phenomenon. You'll spend your days exploring the stunning landscape around Brändön Lodge, where you will stay in a cosy cottage surrounded by trees facing the Bay of Bothnia. In the evenings you will study the night sky with guidance from Robin and local astronomer Ulf Jonsson, who will also join you for two nights.
This trip departs in autumn, when there is less cloud cover, to maximise your chances of enjoying the delights of the skies above.
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The aurora borealis is one of Nature's greatest spectacles. I hope to enrich your experience, by explaining how and where it is created. As well as sharing our current understanding.
- Robin Catchpole
Reasons to book
Northern Lights viewing
Secluded, modern accommodation
Autumn in Sweden
Expert tips from Dr Robin Catchpole
Your expert guide
Ulf is an astronomer and consultant of aviation, space and photography, local to Luleå, Sweden. His private observatory near Brändön Lodge is home to a range of telescopes for night sky viewing.
- Return flights from London to Luleå, via Stockholm.
- Regional and non-UK departures available on request (flight routes subject to change) and airport transfers
- Four-night full-board stay in a winter cottage at Brändön Lodge
- Expert lectures on astronomy, including stargazing sessions and hunts for the aurora, with Dr Robin Catchpole
- Nordic activities including winter skills lesson with outdoor lunch, nature walk and Northern Lights walk with wilderness dinner
- Astronomy evening at Brändön Lodge, tour of Gammelstad World Heritage Site, evening at a private observatory
- Fully qualified guides, instructors for the duration of your stay and local astronomer Ulf Jonsson for two evenings
- Cold weather clothing (if required) for the duration of your stay
TS Tours is acting as agent for The Aurora Zone, who is operating the trip (ATOL 6865).
Day1Arrive in SwedenLuleå , Sweden
Fly from London to Luleå Airport, where you will be met and transferred to Brändön Lodge (around 45 minutes). Enjoy dinner in the restaurant and keep an eye on the night sky for your first glimpse of the Northern Lights.
Day2Nordic wilderness skills and astronomy with Dr Robin CatchpoleBrändön Lodge, Sweden
After breakfast, you will enjoy a wilderness skills experience for an insight into life in Swedish Lapland. Learn how to build a fire and prepare a typical outdoor meal and hot drink. After free time in the afternoon you'll be joined by Dr Robin Catchpole for dinner and an exclusive talk about the night sky and Northern Lights. You'll also get a chance to use a range of binoculars and four telescopes set up at Brändön, to look at the stars above. The lodge's Sámi tent and Northern Lights cabin can be used for relaxing and warming up between the stargazing.
Day3Guided Gammelstad tour and private observatory evening with Ulf JonssonGammelstad , Sweden
After breakfast, you will visit the Gammelstad Church village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which dates back to the 15th century, for a guided tour. Back at Brändön Lodge, you will enjoy lunch ahead of a free afternoon to spend as you please. Dinner will be served in the hotel before your group and Dr Robin Catchpole transfer to local astronomer Ulf Jonsson's small, private observatory. Ulf Jonsson, a consultant of aviation, space and photography, has a range of telescopes you can use for fantastic views of the night sky. There will also be a Sámi tent complete with an open fire for you to warm up and relax in. Should the aurora appear, you will also receive help with your camera settings to ensure you capture them.
Day4Nature walk and wilderness dinnerBrändön Lodge, Sweden
Today you'll explore more of your natural surroundings, from deserted beaches to enchanting forests, during a guided nature walk.You will hear all about the rich history of the area as you walk and stop at scenic locations for photos. Lunch will be served back at the lodge ahead of your Northern Lights dinner experience this evening. At dusk, you will meet with your local guide and head out into the wilderness along coastal beaches and through the forest, keeping your eyes on the sky for the Northern Lights. You will also enjoy dinner and hot drinks around an open fire.
Day5Return homeLuleå , Sweden
Today, your adventure comes to an end and you will be transferred to the airport for your return flight home.
Individually detached winter cottages in an Arctic lakeside setting
Brändön Lodge is located on the edge of the Bothnian Bay in Northern Sweden. Each year in winter, the sea in front freezes around the Luleå archipelago - a remarkable sight to see as you step outside of your cosy winter cottage accommodation.
Meals consisting of local dishes and international cuisine are all served in the restaurant in the main building, which boasts panoramic views over the frozen bay. There is no dress code. There is also a fully stocked bar and impressive wine cellar for any enthusiasts.
Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the prescint. A short walk
from the restaurant building, there is also a sauna for guests to
enjoy. This is bookable locally and charges apply. Snowshoes and
cross-country skis can be borrowed free of charge.
Cottages: Brändön Lodge consists of individual detached cottages, all situated within walking distance of the main building. Inside, there is an open plan living and dining area with kitchenette, two bedrooms (both furnished with twin beds - in some cases these can be moved together), an en-suite shower room, hairdryer and toilet. Outside you will find the terrace area, a brilliant feature from which to admire the autumnal landscape.
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