The Reindeer Herder Festival in Salekhard

Twice a year the Nenets of the Yamal Peninsula migrate 60km across the frozen Ob, a bay of the Arctic Ocean. This intense migration can take up to 24 hours. There is no pasture along the way meaning it’s a race to get to the other side before the reindeer become too weak from a lack of food. There will be no breaks for the herders, the animals or for you. At the end of the crossing we are invited to the annual reindeer herders’ festival in Yar Sale, which will offer a chance to witness some extraordinary events such as reindeer racing and traditional sports.

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The Russian Railways & World War 2

The first part of this journey, 1500 miles or so from Moscow to the remote city of Labytnangi on the edge of the Arctic Circle, can be travelled by regular passenger train. Departing from Yaroslavskaya Station in Moscow every other day, the ‘Polar Arrow’ express sleeper train takes around 48 hours to reach the end of the line at Labytnangi. Travelling across a bleak, almost featureless landscape for hour after hour, travellers have plenty of time to reflect on the terrible conditions under which the railway line was originally built, during WWII.

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