Day 1 - A long but easy day travelling to Finland. (Manchester - Helsinki - Kajaani then car to Viiksimo) (With Focus4nature we don't prescribe where you start from as long as we all get there roughly at the same time!).  A salmon meal welcomed us and off to bed.

Day 2 - Good weather and a relaxing start to the day, and a quick look round the hides. We had lunch at 1400 (same every day) then off to the hides at 1500 with our packed lunches to keep us going till about 2000. Quiet start to the session, ravens, hooded crows and a white tailed eagle, then 1800 enter stage right the first European Brown Bear, a huge animal fattened up ready for more food then hibernation in a months' time. More bears arrive some like each other, some run off as the more dominate bears come by 1900 there was 6 bears around. Totally out of the blue a Wolf appears, a pale Wolf sneaked in as the sun dropped to try to grab some food from where the bears were eating. As quick as it arrives, it's gone. A few minutes pass and the same wolf with 4 others arrive and spend the rest of the evening in front of us. Allow shots of the bears and wolves together, an incredible night. As the light dropped the wolves started to howl and then disappeared in the dark of the night.

Day 3 - Back in the hides after some reindeer stew, after come 1530 the first bear arrives, stays for a few minutes and heads off into the trees as a larger bear comes into view. He sits down in front the hide and eats a little salmon. Over the next few hours 2 more bears arrive, with a total of 4 moving in front of the hides some very close.

Day 4 - a misty sunrise followed by blue skies and little bird watching with a few photos start a beautiful day. Waxwing, Brambling, Bull Finch, Chaffinch, Siberian Jay and Black throated Dives keep us entertained till dinner. A change in location into the forest, one quiet hour and the first bear arrives, appearing silently out of the forest into the clearing in front of us. He ate most of the salmon before being joined by another 2 bears. As the sun set a fourth slightly nervous bear came to the edge of the clearing but never made it to the food before running back into the forest. The bears stayed till the light dropped at 1900 and we made our way back in time to get some landscape shots of the setting sun over the lake near the accommodation. Some very different shots of the bears with some full frame portraits in the bag, another great day, finished off with some Karhu (bear) beer.

Day 5 - Last day, we took a risk and went to a more remote hide but the weather turned bad and after 4 hours in the hide we headed back to have a drink with the German film crew that had just arrived and pack our bags.

Day 6 - Heading home - Jani dropped us at Kajaani and we got home hassle free, despite the floods when we got back in the UK! Bear, Wolves, Ravens and Eagles... a Great trip!

Tour leader - Brian Matthews

Photo gallery -
Grippa Beanbag