Northern lights still on bucket list

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Blogger Trish burgess writes for the Free Press

Friends of mine have recently returned from a short break to Ireland, They were hoping for a glimpse of the northern lights and, despite being in the ideal location and getting up each night at an ungodly hour for a recce, they were disappointed.

If only they’d gone to Whitley Bay, the little town on the north-east coast where I was born.

On the night of February 27th, the skies turned green and ghostly. A number of beautiful photographs were taken, with St Mary’s Lighthouse in the foreground.

There was apparently activity as far south as Essex that night, so I suppose people may have seen them in Lincolnshire.

I did think before going to bed that I would set my alarm for 2am so I could look out of the window. However, I soon forgot that idea once I’d dived underneath the duvet, but now I wish I’d stayed awake.

Seeing the aurora borealis is probably on many people’s bucket list and now is the ideal time to see them, as the solar activity which governs them is at a peak.

I would love to see them but realistically the chance of them putting on a show for me in Holbeach is minimal. I could go home to Whitley Bay but I think that was probably a one­off.

I wonder if a trip to Iceland is worth doing, while there is still a window of opportunity. I’m very tempted as Iceland is probably one of my favourite places in the world.

It was our trip there in 2007 which proved to be the springboard for my travel blog.

I wrote a series of posts about our holiday, entitled ‘Mum’s Gone to Iceland’ and, from then on, the idea of writing about our travel experiences took off.

What a trip it was! Normally I don’t do cold holidays and I’m not too keen on activities either.

So what possessed me to book a fortnight’s ‘family adventure’, requiring thermal underwear and cagoules?

To this day I’m still not sure how we survived the trip. We rode the traditional Icelandic ‘volcano’ horses in the pouring rain, negotiated glaciers whilst wearing crampons and drove snowmobiles over the self same glaciers, being careful not to disappear down crevasses which, according to our guide, would be fatal.

That was a cheery thought.

I remember vividly the sheer terror when we were shunted onto a Grade 3 white­water rafting course having discovered the gentle Grade 1 session, suitable for families, was already full.

My son Rory, then aged 11, was allowed to sit in the front of the boat and happily paddled his heart out as we plummeted down through the rapids.

I thought we were all going to die. Fortunately we didn’t and I had to grudgingly admit to the boys that it was quite exhilarating.

We didn’t see the northern lights during our trip as it was summer and we had no darkness. Maybe I should stick to Mum’s Gone to Whitley Bay.