Quantitative palaeotemperature estimates for the earlier part of Oxygen Isotope Stage (OIS-) 3 are inferred from subfossil chironomid remains. The high-latitudinal study site of Sokli, northeast Finland, provides for a unique lacustrine deposit covering the earlier part of OIS-3, and the chironomid remains found in the sediments show that a shallow lake with a diverse fauna was present at the study site throughout the record. Using a Norwegian calibration data set as a modern analogue, mean July air temperatures are reconstructed. The chironomid-inferred July air temperatures are surprisingly high, reaching values similar to the current temperature at the study site. Other proxies that were applied to the sediments included the analysis of botanical and zoological macro-remains, and our results concur with temperature estimates derived from climate indicator taxa. Summer temperatures for interstadial conditions, reconstructed with climate models, are as high as our proxy-based palaeotemperatures. © 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.