South To The Last Wilderness in Europe, Finland 8 Comments


Our last wild camping spot in the Arctic Cirlce

Our last wild camping spot in the Arctic Circle

Thursday 21 July

We woke to beautiful sunshine and a nice warm motorhome. Craig was up and feeling giddy with the prospect of sunshine, he loves the heat. Mac however was non too pleased with the heat, it was making his mosquito bite very itchy. Poor little sausage got chewed under his arm pit and it was driving him bonkers.

Breakfast over and time to set off or so I thought! Craig was in the cab area closing the blinds? What you doing chuck?
I am shutting shop
But we have only just got up
Oh yeah, this blinking 24 hour day light drives me bonkers. I don’t know if I am getting up or going to bed.
With a chuckle, he opened the blinds and prepared for take off.

We waved good bye to our little patch on the headland on the Arctic Ocean, Norwegian Sea, Barrens Sea and tootled off towards Finland. On the way we spotted our first police car with speed gun. Police, spelt Polite in Norway are a rare sight. We’ve been in Norway for over 2 months and only seen a handful of coppers, which for us, is a good thing and a sure sign that Norway is not riddled with crime. It is one of the rare places left in the world where you can leave anything anywhere and it will be still be there when you return.

At about 20km from the border with Finland we spotted a small Rema 1000 supermarket. We had a few tin cans and plastic bottles to recycle, so we cashed them in and combined with our spare change we purchased a few Norwegian goodies.

lapland

Norway to Finland Border Crossing

The Inarijoki river provides a natural border between Norway and Finland. We crossed the bridge to Karigasniemi and headed for the ‘green zone’ and nothing to declare but to be honest, we could have gone in any lane because there was not a soul around. Vin is pretty low on everything from fuel through to food. We figured we would save our pennies and go shopping in Finland. It is cheaper but also they have a Lidl. Craig loves his Lidl and the excitement of buying loads of food is currently out weighing the arrival in to a new country.

The last wilderness in Europe

The Arctic Road

Within seconds of arrival we hit a tree lined road. Our Norwegian hills and fjords were replaced with the green fertile forests of Finland. The forest went on and on and on. After an hour we hadn’t passed a soul and Vin the motorhome was now in need of some go go juice. His amber light had appeared and we were now running on reserve. Every minute seemed like an hour as we passed tree stump after tree stump.

Eventually a fuel station sign, yippee. We pulled over to be greeted with half a dozen men in combat gear swigging coffee. They all stood there looking at us like we’d just arrived from out of space. We smiled. As we looked to the pump we saw everything covered in bin bags and taped up. This place clearly hadn’t sold fuel for quite some time.

inari

Taped up fuel pumps

We plodded on in search of liquid gold. Poor Vin was running on vapours by the time we reach the Nesta fuel station. We filled Vin to the top with some premium diesel..the only option for non commercial vehicles at €1.29 per litre. Not dissimilar to Norway.

Today, we have travelled several hundred kilometres, so we opted for an early night. We drove over the road to a small car park at the side of a lake. Craig rustled up some scram from our bare fridge and cupboards….we are holding out for a Lidl shop!

Our wild camping spot tonight, a small marina carpark overlooking Lake Inari at Inari. Our first night in Finland and it looks pretty good.

GPS position N068.907887 and E027.107295

Route: Ytre Billefjord, Norway to Inari, Finland

Weather: low 8 and high 29, absolutely beautiful with nice blue skies all day.

Friday 22 July

Our 1st wild camping spot in FInland

Our 1st wild camping spot in FInland

Today, we plan to continue south through Europe’s last wilderness but before we set off let me tell you about where we are cause it is rather stunning. We are parked on one of Finland’s largest and most beautiful lakes, Lake Inari. The broad and open lake is also home to many an inlet and over 3,000 small island. As you look out to the lake you can see the varied shoreline from shingled beach to steep rocky bays. The lake flows to the Arctic Ocean via paatsjoki river and regulated by hydroelectric power station. From Inari you can take several boat tours including Ukko Island, fishing trips, the wilderness church and panning for gold.

We opted for a quick toot at the Sami parliament building, the cultural museum and the cheesy Lapland shop.

lapland

We drove for an hour through the forest and then paused for a break. Craig started looking at options for building a simpler database for wild camping spots and then plotting them on a google maps. We have several thousand spots and sometimes we capture too much information, which takes a long time. Craig streamlined the database, so we will trial for a few days and then when we get a good wifi connection we will load on to google maps. Thanks for the pointers Heidi Hymer, we will get there in the end.

Once database up and running..oh and a few clothes washed and dried we set off on the Arctic Road. We are still above the Arctic Circle and in the largest and most sparsely region of Finland, Lapland. As we travel along the straight road with nothing but lakes and trees, it is easy to see why it is often called “ The Last Wilderness in Europe.”

We spot another picnic spot besides a lake and pull in for a coffee break. As we take Mac n Tosh for a wee walk, we bump in to 4 Finnish people. One of the Finnish chaps speaks good English and we get chatting. He tells us they are loggers (the main vocation in Finland along with agriculture) and on holiday for 2 weeks. Everyone in Finland likes to motorhome, caravan or camp in the forest, it is what they love. Nature is where they feel comfortable and his wife, being a traditional Sami, will not have it any other way. It was brilliant to chat to and meet 2 down to earth Finnish couples and find out a little about their culture.

We waved cheerio and set off again, passing more trees, lakes and lots of reindeer.

Last Wilderness Europe

By 6pm we were parked up alongside a river with a little pier. Craig cleaned the screen from the 100’s of insects that flung themselves in to Vin’s path before we took a walk to check out our surroundings. An closed fuel station (common theme along the Arctic Road), a run down and abandoned reindeer park and cafe. To the side, a Sami gift shop. We had a wander around the grounds and a look at some of the goods mainly reindeer antlers but the shop itself was closed. Then we attempted to walk a little further down stream but we didn’t get very far due to the swarms of mosquitos. They chased us back to Vin.

The rest of the night we took shelter in Vin as the swarms of mosquitos had us surrounded. The little buggers were everywhere and we are not exaggerating. Every window was covered in black dots, the little vampires clearly hadn’t eaten in a long time. We sat in amazement at the sheer volume of mosquitos. Boy we knew they had mosquitos but this is more than some, this is what you call a problem. If we had this many in England we would be calling a state of emergency. If we go outside we will be eaten alive, bones and all.

To occupy our time Craig made 2 designer dog collars from the tassels on his denim shorts. I converted Mac n Tosh’s Arctic jackets (originally my snug sleeves) in to dog pillows. We had fun sewing and making stuff as herd upon herd of reindeer surrounded the motorhome.

Our wild camping spot

Our wild camping spot

Our wild camping spot tonight, a very pretty but mosquito infested spot at the side of a river.

GPS position N068.907887 and E027.107295

Route: Ytre Billefjord, Norway to Inari, Finland

Weather: low 8 and high 29, absolutely beautiful with nice blue skies all day.


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