IFK Kiruna at the 2012 Jukola relay near Helsinki

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We drove from Kiruna to Rovaniemi and then flew to Helsinki - taking a break at a picnic area in the forest after Pello.

The noticeboard commemorated a Finnish cross-country skier.

Mats discovered something interesting in the letterbox.

A grey wagtail was raising its family there!

Rovaniemi airport, where the five of us who had driven from Kiruna linked up with Mikael (who came up from SkellefteƄ).

Erik, Conny and Mats settle in to our accommodation - a military tent a few hundred metres away from the finish area.

With lots of neighbours.

Then it was time to check out the start-finish area

and the food tents

and to catch up with Esa who had flown straight to Helsinki from a business trip.

Other orienteers were camping in their own tents

in various fields surrounding the event centre.

People started to flock to the start-finish area once the Venla relay (the women's event) began in the early afternoon on Saturday.

These days you can follow the top teams' progress with GPS tracking on the big screen.

The day had been fine and the temperature in mid-afternoon had climbed into the mid-20s.

A competitor in the 4-leg Venla relay finishes her leg.

There are different finishing chutes for the different legs.

In between times there are plenty of displays and shops to visit.

I checked out the big screen from close quarters - the picture is built up of a mass of coloured lights.

The 7-leg Jukola relay was due to start at 22.30, so as dusk fell the crowd started to gather again.

Our military tent is in the field beyond the big screen.

It was about a kilometre to the start triangle...

Club tents lined the fenced-off starting chute.

It's an impressive sight when over 1650 1st-leg runners with their headlamps lit set off at the start.

The big screen showed the distances to the radio controls - TV was covering the event, too.

Food was served all night - and ran out temporarily in the morning with all the hungry orienteers returning from their runs.

Esa looks a bit fatigued after running leg 6.

He'd had a good, clean run - no resting along the way.

Off to find the showers.

The weather deteriorated in the morning, with grey skies...