THE TRIP

Wanderlust Travel Magazine (UK) - - Greenland -

Get­ting there

To fly to Green­land, you have to go either via Den­mark or Ice­land. The au­thor went via Copen­hagen, us­ing bud­get flights to the Dan­ish cap­i­tal (two hours flight time; all the usual sus­pects go there), then flew with Air Green­land (www.air­green­land.com), which has daily flights to Kanger­lus­suaq (4.5 hours). Once at Sisim­iut (af­ter the hike), take a flight back to Kanger­lus­suaq (30 mins). Prices for all flights from around £950 re­turn.

Get­ting around

There are no roads out of Sisim­iut or Kanger­lus­suaq, so there is no point in hir­ing a car. Both are very walk­a­ble, with su­per­mar­kets and mu­se­ums within reach.

For the ice cap in Kanger­lus­suaq, it is rec­om­mended you take a tour as it’s on un­paved road and spe­cial ve­hi­cles are re­quired. Al­ba­tros Arc­tic Circle/world of Green­land (aac.gl) of­fer th­ese through­out the day from DKK625 (£75). Later, taxis can take you to the start of the walk, at the end of the paved road in Kel­lyville – costs around DKK200-400 (£25-50).

Walk­ing the trail

The Arc­tic Circle Trail (ACT) takes eight-to-ten days to hike. It’s beau­ti­ful but wild and re­mote, so com­mit­ting. There are red semi-circle way­mark­ers on cairns (piles of stones) that help di­rect you but you must take a map – a guide­book is also rec­om­mended (see ‘Fur­ther read­ing’) – as con­fu­sion is pos­si­ble in some places, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing bad weather.

Be sure to tell some­one re­spon­si­ble when you ex­pect to ar­rive in Sisim­iut, so they can raise the alarm if you don’t show up – you may want to con­sider hir­ing a satel­lite phone as a back-up or an emer­gency lo­ca­tor de­vice. It is also rec­om­mended that you write in the vis­i­tor books in the huts, so there is a dated record of your where­abouts.

Be pre­pared that if the weather turns, you may want to wait it out in one of the huts, so al­ways take more food than you need and fac­tor a cou­ple of ex­tra rest days into your sched­ule. You can walk the path in re­verse, though it’s less pop­u­lar and hard to fol­low if us­ing the guide­book.

A hand­ful of walk­ing guides are avail­able to hire in Kanger­lus­suaq, al­though not al­ways free to walk the en­tire route. At present there’s no UK tour op­er­a­tor of­fer­ing the Arc­tic Circle Trail, but in 2019 KE Ad­ven­ture (kead­ven­ture.com) will be of­fer­ing it as a small-group guided trek with a lo­cal Green­land Inuit guide and the au­thor of this ar­ti­cle, Wan­der­lust editor-at-large Phoebe Smith. Con­tact them to regis­ter your in­ter­est.

Be warned that flights in and out of Sisim­iut can be can­celled and de­layed if the weather is bad. Flights to and from Kanger­lus­suaq are more re­li­able.

Ac­com­mo­da­tion

In Kanger­lus­suaq, Ho­tel Kanger­lus­suaq (hotelka­nger­lus­suaq.gl), which lies up­stairs at the air­port, is an easy choice. Dou­bles from DKK1,645PN (£195); sin­gles are avail­able. Camp­ing is also an in­ex­pen­sive op­tion.

All huts on the trail are free to use, but you need to be self-suf­fi­cient and take a tent, in case there’s no room. Some have toi­lets; oth­ers don’t, so you’ll have to dig a hole and fol­low the ‘Leave No Trace’ rules.

In Sisim­iut ( pictured above), the har­bour­side Ho­tel So­mand­sh­jemmene/ The Sea­men’s Home (soe­mand­sh­jem.gl) has a cafe­te­ria on site for evening meals and break­fasts. Dou­bles from DKK1,055PN (£125). There’s a hos­tel in town for those on a bud­get.

Food & drink

Lim­ited – and pricey – sup­plies can be picked up in Kanger­lus­suaq, so bring camp­ing meals and snacks. For camp­ing stove fuel, don’t as­sume you’ll be able to find what you want. White spirit was read­ily avail­able, but most gas can­is­ters were the ‘pierce’ mod­els rather than the ‘screw tops’ – though the ice cream par­lour (ran­domly) of­fered the lat­ter. All food is flown in, so ex­pect frozen meals re­heated, hot dogs and some fish. Veg­e­tar­i­ans will strug­gle, though.

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