In quest of the Northern Lights in Iceland and Scotland

In a world full of synthetic creations and a quick tempo of life, generally we have to step again, decelerate and marvel at a number of the world’s breathtaking pure wonders.

The Northern Lights – also called the Aurora Borealis – are the epitome of pure wonders and 2012 is likely one of the finest years to witness this pure phenomenon as NASA predicts the strongest Northern Lights exercise in 50 years.

So, what are the Northern Lights?

To place it as merely as doable, the lights happen when electrically-charged particles from the solar are blown in the direction of the Earth in photo voltaic winds. These particles then collide with gaseous particles within the Earth’s environment, making a show of vibrant lights that may be seen close to the Earth’s magnetic poles. The color of the sunshine show is determined by the gases and the space above the Earth’s floor. Blue or purple lights: lower than 120km, inexperienced or yellow lights: 120km-150km, and pink lights: greater than 150km.

The place can they be seen?

Like another pure phenomenon, the precise place and time of sightings of the Northern Lights may be exhausting to foretell, however the primary locations to see them are within the northern hemisphere in locations akin to Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Scotland, Greenland, Alaska and north-western components of Canada.

Learn additionally:

  • three locations the place to expertise the Northern Lights in Autumn
  • Northern Lights in Norway: the best gentle present on Earth


In my hunt for the Northern Lights, my first cease was Iceland; an interesting nation with many stunning pure sights such because the cascading Gullfoss Waterfalls, the rift between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, the spurting Nice Geysir, Humpback, Minke and Blue whales within the bay of Reykjavik, and geothermal swimming pools and spas such because the Blue Lagoon.

I used to be staying in Fosshotel Lind, a cushty three-star lodge located within the centre of Reykjavik only a few minutes’ stroll from Laugavegur, the town’s predominant procuring road.

Iceland Northern Lights

(c) darrenquigley32

Located just under the Arctic Circle, Iceland is likely one of the finest locations to view the Northern Lights. Regardless of unhealthy climate throughout most of my journey in Reykjavik, we perservered and on the final night time a Reykjavik Excursions coach picked me up from my lodge and headed in convoy with twelve different coaches south of the town the place it had been reported that the cloud was lastly clearing. Northern Lights Tour begins from €33 per individual.

I stood with the opposite hopefuls subsequent to a seashore on the south-east coast of Iceland staring up on the sky and keen the clouds to interrupt and clear the trail for the lights.

One hour later, the disheartened amongst us began heading again to the heat of the coach when instantly a person shouted “They’re coming!”.

Pleasure rippled by the group and positive sufficient, the clouds had cleared to disclose a cluster of glowing stars and a strip of vibrant inexperienced Northern Lights as they danced throughout the black sky.

If there’s ever a time when a human may be made to really feel like a tiny ant on this huge planet, it’s whereas witnessing a formidable show of photo voltaic exercise. They gave the impression to be placing on a present for his or her viewers as they jumped and darted throughout the velvety sky earlier than step by step fading into the environment.


Scotland was my different vacation spot in my transient chase of the Aurora Borealis and although it won’t have been considered one of many high spots for Northern Lights sightings prior to now, latest pictures and media protection have revealed some gorgeous shows which have already taken place this winter.

Northern Lights : Isle of Mull, Scotland

Isle of Mull, Scotland (c) mcbeaner

The Isle of Eriska is a lovely non-public island within the Scottish highlands, near Oban, that includes a five-star Eriska Resort, 3AA Rosettes restaurant and a golf course that’s located on the shores of the loch in opposition to a backdrop of majestic hills and snow-capped mountains.

The island’s remoted place permits it to be a unbelievable viewing level for the Northern Lights and since it has no surrounding gentle air pollution, company can have a better probability of seeing a spectacular gentle present inside a tranquil and pure setting.

From West Scotland, I headed north-east on the prepare to the city of Wick after listening to that the lights had been noticed in a powerful show the week earlier than. This charming estuary city is dwelling to cobbled streets dotted with cafes, bookshops and reward outlets.

My lodging was the Norseman Resort situated on the banks of the River Wick and was pictured in one of many breathtaking pictures that captured the Northern Lights on the finish of January.

Regardless of not seeing the Northern Lights throughout my journey to Scotland, I used to be reassured when the receptionist of the Norseman confirmed me the latest photographs that exposed a surreal crescent-shaped show of vivid inexperienced shades above Wick’s church and river.

The Northern Lights are one of the vital magical examples of Mom Nature’s handiwork and a visit to come across these stunning mesmerising lights ought to be promptly added to your checklist of vacation locations.

Prime Tip

You should have a greater probability of seeing the Northern Lights if:

  • you might be in an space away from gentle air pollution;
  • keep away from a full moon and cloudy skies;
  • use a digital digital camera with an ISO setting of 1600 and bear in mind to show the flash off;
  • and wrap up heat – it may very well be a protracted wait.

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