One of the world’s greatest migrations takes place each year just over a thousand miles north of Britain. As snow thickens on every surface, lakes freeze over and the temperature drops below -25˚C (-13˚F), tens of thousands of reindeer make their way across northern Sweden. Descending from summer pastures in the mountains to the west, the herds travel east to spend the long winter foraging in the forests.
Accompanying them on a journey that can take 10 days or more are their seminomadic Sami owners. While herding methods may have modernized over the centuries (snowmobiles – and even helicopters – have replaced snowshoes), reindeer husbandry is still a cornerstone of their culture.
To fall in with the Sami and their herds is to be part of a heritage that stretches back millennia – one of days dictated by the pace of the reindeers’ steady trot, and of nights sharing stories around the fire under a chill, star-filled sky.