Day 9 (27 May): Having stopped again at the Grosbeak cafe on our way past, we drove to Vadsø, watching for birds and finding some very unusual rustic looking toilet stops on the way.
We had been told that there may be some Doterel up the mountain just past Utsjoki so we decided to go and see before crossing the border into Norway. We were lucky and saw four of them in a little group.
Lunch was at a big supermarket and I tried some liquorice ice cream. It’s surprisingly nice.
It was time to cross the border: for me, home at last. We stopped at Varangerfjorden near Nessby and had a walk before driving the last stretch to Vadsø. After our excellent evening meal we walked around the small Lake Dammen on Store Vadsøya.
Day 10 (28 May): After a morning walk around Dammen we set off along the Varangerfjord towards Vardø. We stopped at the river Skallelva where we noticed some interesting decoration on some of the houses and boat sheds. In Vardø we had some lunch before visiting the nature reserve on Hornøya. This is just a ten minute boat trip from Vardø harbour.
Hornøya is the easternmost point in Norway: a 0.4 sq.km island surrounded by the vast expanse of the Barents Sea. Hammered by winter storms and then bathed under the summer’s midnight sun, it is one of the most extreme places in northern Norway. The island has one of the largest seabird colonies in Norway, including Razorbill, Atlantic Puffin, European Shag, Common Guillemot, Brünnich’s Guillemot, Black-legged Kittiwake, Great Black-backed Gull and Herring Gull.
We were limited to a small area near the landing point but there were birds all around us and you could almost touch them. The noise was deafening and the smell was appalling. Then, to make it even more atmospheric, it looked like a storm was coming in and the sky darkened.
We returned from the island and went into town where we wandered round Vardøhus fortress. This is the world’s most northerly fortification.
Day 11 (29 May): We continued birding along Varangerfjord by driving along the road from Vardø towards Båtsfjord stopping at various points on the way to look for birds and take photos. Group photos were taken on the way back at Næringselva and Skjåvika and with the view at Persfjord.