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Welcome to Oymyakon – the Coldest Village on Earth
When I met New Zealand photographer, Amos Chapple, he'd recently been on a #cold weather trip of a lifetime to #Oymyakon in #Russia, the coldest inhabited place on Earth. With subzero temperatures and constant snow-covered #scenery, his photographs looked like something out of a dream.
I have never been on a cold weather holiday. Every January, as we enter the depths of bleak mid-winter here in the UK, my little brain awakens from its gentle festive fugue of eat, sleep, drink, repeat, and starts to plan how best to flee the country to get some much needed Vitamin D.
Occasionally I have allowed myself to get seduced by the idea of romantic treks through pine forests blanketed in soft, fresh snow and warming my rosy cheeks with roaring fires and glasses of spiced, mulled wine… yet for some reason I always end up getting distracted by the call of waving palms lining some muggy, tropical coastline and destinations where slinging on some weather-beaten denim shorts is pretty much tantamount to being overdressed.
Travel to Oymyakon
Rental Ski Equipment in Hakuba Ski Resort
The Valley of Geysers Tour
But sometimes I do wonder if I am missing out. There’s something mysterious and magical about a vast, frozen landscape – I think this dates back to my dream, childhood destination which was in fact, Narnia – so I thought I’d do a bit of research and find out if, perhaps, 2015 would be the year I turn to the cold side. I’ve seen Frozen, I know what it’s all about!
This is when I discovered, New Zealand photographer, Amos Chapple. When Chapple decided to plan a cold-weather trip of a lifetime, there was no consideration of soaking in hot tubs and quaffing mugs of hot glogg. Instead, Chapple seems to be of the ‘go hard or go home’ school of thought and booked a ticket to the depths of Oymyakon, Russia, a remote village considered to be the coldest, inhabited place on Earth. The photographs recorded are nothing short of extraordinary.
Even for the avid snow bunnies amongst us, this place looks hardcore. Think you know cold? Oymyakon sees your cold and laughs in its face. The lowest recorded temperature in this part of the world was a frost-bitingly bitter -71.2C or -96.16F. On the scale of ‘not cold at all’ to ‘freeze your face off’, this sort of temperature rates as off the charts.
The locals of Oymyakon, as well as sporting a rather stylish selection of cosy hats, have had to adapt to a climate that freezes plumbing systems, meaning toilets are often outhouses, and hardens the ground so much so that in order to dig a grave, a bonfire has to be built first. Planes cannot function in an Oymyakon winter and cars need to be kept running when outdoors or they just won’t start.
Locals, wrapped up against those winter winds, have to hurry about their day to day lives due to the very real threat of frostbite and crops won’t grow in this harsh environment so if you plan a trip here, be read for lots of meat and plenty of frozen, Arctic fish.
As with some of the best travel photography out there, Chapple’s stunning photographs give us a glimpse into a fascinating world that most of us will never know. But I’m still probably going to book that ticket to the Philippines.
Are you a cold weather fan? Where are the best winter break destinations you’ve experienced?