Arctic expedition 2024

Artex-24

After becomming a member of the International border research group (IBRG), I am lucky to be able to join for my second expedition with IBRG.


After our expedition to Märket in 2023, we will explore in june 2024 both Arctic tri-points.


FiNoRu

At Muotkavaara (Myotkabaapa) we will visit the tripoint at Finland/Norway/Russia

FiNoRu

FiNoRu

From Kirkenes we will visit the tri-point, Skafferhullet/the treasure hole, grensesasjon Storskog (No)

and Jakobselv. Even a boatrip to the maritime border is planned in this expedition.

Kirkenes, 3i-points, threepoint, bordermarker border+Russia, border+NoRu, tripoint+FiNoRu, tripoint+FiNoSe, IBRG, ARTEX-24

FiNoSe

We will leave Kirkenes to Tromsø (N)

and visit the tripoint of Finland, Norway and ~Sweden at

Treriksröset, which is the Northernmostpoint of Sweden.

Kilpisjärvi, , Treriksrøysa, threepoint, bordermarker, IBRG, expedition, Artex-24,FINOSE, northernmost+cairn

FiNoSe 

I am more than looking forward for this exciting trip, looking forward to meet friends from over the world again.

However we have our digital convo's, I do like the irl meeting!

13 june 2024

For me the expedition starts. By train to AMS Airport and up to Oslo, where I met Jonna, Steen, Barry and Mike on friday 14 june 2024. From Oslo we fly to Kirkenes. It is good meeting friends again!


With our rented car, Steen drives to the hotel were we met IBRG-member, Frode, who lives in Kirkenes.

Kirkenes, 3i-points, threepoint, bordermarker border+Russia, border+NoRu, tripoint FiNoRu

Thomas Nilsen, editor

With Frode as guide we walk through Kirkenes. He shows us (down)town and the Russian consulate.

We visit the Sovjet liberation monument (WW II) as well. The monument now is disputed.


Oposite of the consulate is a memorial for Alexei Navalny, who died in (Arctic) prison, died?

Kirkenes, 3i-points, threepoint, bordermarker border+Russia, border+NoRu, tripoint FiNoRu
Kirkenes, 3i-points, threepoint, bordermarker border+Russia, border+NoRu, tripoint FiNoRu
Kirkenes, 3i-points, threepoint, bordermarker border+Russia, border+NoRu, tripoint FiNoRu
Kirkenes, 3i-points, threepoint, bordermarker border+Russia, border+NoRu, tripoint FiNoRu

Kirkenes airport

Kirkenes, 3i-points, threepoint, bordermarker border+Russia, border+NoRu, tripoint FiNoRu

After we settled in the hotel, Frode guides us through Kirkenes. Our first stop is at the 'Barents Observer' a digital newspaper. Some people behind are monitoring all about the border, and the newspaper publish in Russian as well.


We get a lot of information from Thomas Nilsen, editor and a Russian journalist.


It is welcome information on border issues, the border situation between Norway and Russia and how Russia deals with journalistic freedom.

Kirkenes, 3i-points, threepoint, bordermarker border+Russia, border+NoRu, tripoint FiNoRu
Kirkenes, 3i-points, threepoint, bordermarker border+Russia, border+NoRu, tripoint FiNoRu

The border #1

Pikeneset Pene-enclave

Of course we are here to do research on the border i.c. the NoRu border.


The land border between Norway and Russia is about 196 km.  and over sea ± 23km. in the Varangerfjord and in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean (exclusive economic zone (EEZ).


In the landborder there is only 1 bordercrossingpoint on highway E 105 between Storskog (No) and

Borisoglebsky (Ru). We will try to visit that crossing later.


Hw E 105 is with 3.770 km the longest road in Europe and goes from Kirkenes to Jalta (Ua) →.


For now, our target is the pene-enclave near that border crossing.

Pene-enclave

Where an en- or exclave is fully surrounded by another(s) territory, f.i. Büsingen (De) or Jungholz (At), a pene-en- or exclave is not completely separated from the main part, but can only - in practice - be reached by passing through another area. There is f.i. no road-acces from the own area; only access is from/through another area.


The area can be a country, but (sub)nationaly it can be any kind of area.

Landborder NoRu

Kirkenes, 3i-points, enclave, pene-enclave,pikeneset, pikeneset-enclave, bordermarker, border+Russia, border+NoRu,

Hw E 105

Kirkenes, 3i-points, threepoint, bordermarker border+Russia, border+NoRu, tripoint FiNoRu
Kirkenes, 3i-points, enclave, pene-enclave,pikeneset, pikeneset-enclave, bordermarker, border+Russia, border+NoRu, Artex-24
Kirkenes, 3i-points, enclave, pene-enclave,pikeneset, pikeneset-enclave, bordermarker, border+Russia, border+NoRu,

Maritime border NoRu


The Pikeneset pene-enclave you see left, between the (black) borderline and the red line is Russian, but is only accessabel from Norway (water-entering is not involved).

(The blue dot is our position)


We start our hike from a parking @ Hw E 105. 

Kirkenes, 3i-points, threepoint, bordermarker border+Russia, border+NoRu, tripoint FiNoRu

does not apply to the defense and those who have special permission

Kirkenes, 3i-points, enclave, pene-enclave,pikeneset, pikeneset-enclave, bordermarker, border+Russia, border+NoRu, Artex-24

Day 1
Dinner time

After this most exciting expedition and steeple hike, we refresh at the hotel and walk downtown, were we met Frode and his wife @ Surf&Turf, a more than excellent restaurant. They serve an excellent Rendier beef!

Grenspalen, bordermarkers, Kirkenes, NoRu_border, Surf&Turf, grenspalen.one, IBRG

At dinner time, I was able to share the gift that Jannis had provided. We were all very satisfied with both miniature bordermarkers, a Norwegian and a Russian, Jannis gave us.

Takk, Jannis!

The border #2

Skafferhullet

After breakfeast we leave for a visit to Skafferhullet, a former bordercrossingpoint.


Today as well Frode guided us.


At Skafferhullet we meet Frode Nielsen Børford, responsible editor/day manager off the Sør-Varanger Avis. He guided us here and to Grense Jakobselv as well.

Kirkenes, 3i-points, threepoint, bordermarker border+Russia, border+NoRu, tripoint FiNoRu, Skafferhullet, Boris+Gelb
Kirkenes, 3i-points, threepoint, bordermarker border+Russia, border+NoRu, tripoint FiNoRu, Skafferhullet, Boris+Gelb
Kirkenes, 3i-points, threepoint, bordermarker border+Russia, border+NoRu, tripoint FiNoRu, Skafferhullet, Boris+Gelb

Skafferhullet


is a former bordercrossingpoint in the old road from Elvenes (No) to

Borisoglebsky (Ru).


This crossing was closed during the cold war, but opened between 1958 and 1963, so traffic for building the

Boris Gleb hydroelectric station.


At the station there's a Chapel and in the middle '60', there was a bar.

Norwegian tourist visited this bar often, get drunk because of the low prices of alcohol and the story us was told, is that the barlady actualy worked for KGB and could 'interrogate' the drunk Norwegians and got lots of information.


The officially storie of closing is the smuggling of the cheap alcohol and tobaco.

The border #3

Grense Jakobselv

Grense Jakobselv is a village at the end of the river Jakobselva, direct at the Barents Sea.


The river Jakobselva forms the border with Russia. Here as well it ain't allowed to cross the border. The border is visualised with 2 bordermarkers, 1 on each side of the river.


Often we see that the border is in the middle of the river, here it ain't.

In the Jakobselva the border is on the deepest point of the river. Following the flow of the water, that can be sometimes only a few meters from the riverside.

Kirkenes, 3i-points, threepoint, bordermarker border+Russia, border+NoRu, tripoint FiNoRu, Grense+Jakobselv
Kirkenes, 3i-points, threepoint, bordermarker border+Russia, border+NoRu, tripoint FiNoRu, Grense+Jakobselv
Kirkenes, 3i-points, threepoint, bordermarker border+Russia, border+NoRu, tripoint FiNoRu, Grense+Jakobselv

We drove about 65 km. to reach Grense Jakobselv. At the end, the road follows the river, so the border. At some places we stopped to make pictures of the bordermarkers.


We stopped as well at the King Oscar II Chapel, build in 1869. Because Russian fishers didn't respect the border in the Barents Sea, Norway build this church. The Russian fishermen respected the church as borderline.

Here we took a walk to the last BM on the NoRu border.

The border #4

Grensestasjon Storskog (No) – Borisoglebsky (Ru)

Next destination is the only bordercrossing in HW E 105,

Storskog – Borisoglebsky.


In advance there is asked permisson, but that is denied. At the border there is a bordermarkercouple, which we would like to see and fotograph.


In front of the area of the crossing there's a parkingplace. The crossingarea has a fence, it now is openend, but after 30 mtr. it's not allowed to walk to the barrier and the accomodation where Norwegian borderpolice and customs do their job.

Kirkenes, 3i-points, threepoint, bordermarker border+Russia, border+NoRu, tripoint FiNoRu, Grense+Jakobselv

The bordercrossing on the map.
From the pene-enclave we saw this crosspoint yesterday.

Kirkenes, 3i-points, threepoint, bordermarker border+Russia, border+NoRu, tripoint FiNoRu, Grense+Jakobselv

The bordercrossing as picture.
You see that walking after the fence is prohibited. You can go by car, RV or bike, but not by foot.

The border #5

Boattrip with Barents Safari

Southpoint border on river Paatsjoki

Kirkenes, 3i-points, threepoint, bordermarker border+Russia, border+NoRu, tripoint FiNoRu, Grense+Jakobselv

It's Sunday, june 16th 2024. We know we will make a long day, that starts with a boattour to BM 200, with Barents Safari.


At their spot we embark, with another group in their vessel 'Trifon', named after the monk Tryphon, who founded in 1533 the Pechenga monastry, the Northernmost monastry in the world.

Kirkenes, 3i-points, threepoint, bordermarker border+Russia, border+NoRu, tripoint FiNoRu, Grense+Jakobselv

Before embarking we all get our orange safety suit.


Our first stop is at a cave where, as our guide told us, the monk Tryphone had to hide for the Sami. In the cave there's placed a relic, right of it there's a plaque on the rock.

The border #6

The Melkefossdam

(the bonusdam)

After the boatsafari we actually drive to the Skogfoss dam. We first like to have lunch, but every restaurant is closed,so we stop over at the gasstation.


It's about 85 km. tot the dam and because of the condition of the road and quit a piece of dirt road, it took about us two hrs.

Kirkenes, 3i-points, threepoint, bordermarker border+Russia, border+NoRu, tripoint FiNoRu, Grense+Jakobselv


Steen did make an appointment, so we are allowed and welcome but after the 2 hrs. drive we don't see our host/guide.


Wenn Steen calls us in, we hear we have to drive another 6 km. We are on the wrong dam.


Because some allready got out of the car we take the opportunity to fotograph the bordermarker on this dam, of course.

Kirkenes, 3i-points, threepoint, bordermarker border+Russia, border+NoRu, tripoint FiNoRu, Grense+Jakobselv

Actually we were very lucky we took this road on sunday. Because of the constructions we could get acces - on Norwegian ground - nearby this bonus bordermarkers.


Later that day we were informed by the rangers that they had spotted us at this dam as well. No one violated and went over the borderline!

The border #7

The Skogfossdam

The actual destination we were up to. Appointments were made, we are expected and welcome.


At the dam is the Skogfoss hydroelectric station situated, run by Pasvik Kraft. The dam is located in a river in which the Norwegian border with Russia is located.


To visualize the border, on the dam here is bordermarker no. 99 placed. This is one of the few combined bordermarkers on the NoRu border.


After we meet our host, we went to the dam, where our host had to open 2 gates.
After opening gate #2, he called himself in at the borderpatrol. Within 1 minute he was called back for confirmation.

Kirkenes, Skogfoss+dam, bordermarker, bordermarker+111, Russian+border, IBRG, grenspalen.one
Kirkenes, Skogfoss+dam, bordermarker, bordermarker+111, Russian+border, IBRG, grenspalen.one

For us a lesson how quick border patrol reacts and how strict they handle the rules.

Now is goes on............

Our host informed us very properly about the rules on the border. Touching the yellow piece of the bm is no problem, touching or even passing with your finger of the red piece, so the actual borderline with Russia, is strictly forbidden.


When we do stop at the BM, he walks on and passes the borderline. Within 30 seconds he gets a call from Norway border patrol, asking him who was passing the border, CCTV all over!


Our host tells us he has a special permission from Norway as well Russian authority to pass the border, he even shows us the permissions.


Well he made some nice pictures from us over the borderline, but we all couldn't leave before military border police (quick respons team) arrived.


Two most decent guys, only interested in our host, because he brok the rule, not knowing a thing of what he showed them off the permission.

The border #8

3i-point FiNoRu

A special place to enter as well.


After a two hours drive over roads, you can't imagine that we could ride whitout a 4 x 4 drive, ending with a 19 km. dirt road, we parked the car, took all care to hike mosquito-proof for 5 km, sometimes easy on, in the end a bit steeple.

Kirkenes, 3i-points, 3i-point+FiNoRu, thereepoint+FiNoRu, bordermarker, border+Russia, border+NoRu,
Kirkenes, 3i-points, 3i-point+FiNoRu, thereepoint+FiNoRu, bordermarker, border+Russia, border+NoRu,
Kirkenes, 3i-points, 3i-point+FiNoRu, thereepoint+FiNoRu, bordermarker, border+Russia, border+NoRu,

The fence with the orange rope, Barry in
Norway, me in Finland.

Than we come to the 3i-point, which is guarded by two Norwegian rangers, again more than polite, friendly and informing us about the border rules.


Of course we know that even fingertouching or overcrossing the Ru border is forbidden, here we learn that it also for non Schengen residents is forbidden to cross the FiNo border. So Barry and Mike weren't allowed to cross that line, couldn't walk into Finland, so the rest of us took with there equipment foto's for them.


VAR
On the FiRu border there's a kind of fence with blue poles and orange rope. Walking to it is allowed, overhanging with any part of the body is forbidden.

While I maked a picture of the Russian text on the 3i-point, I was 'warned' that my elbow was passing the bordline.

Well, I would have used the VAR, with linedrawing to see if I really was 'offside'.

The border #9

Nuorgam (Fi)

Part of the expedition is to explore the border at Nuorgam (Fi), because it is the Northermostpoint of Finland and the Norternmostpoint of the European Union.


On monday June 17th Steen, Barry and I leave the hotel @ 5 am to go to Nuorgam. Because Jonna is going home and Mike has an early flight to Tromsø, next destination in the Artex-24 expedition,they don't join.

After about 2 hrs. driving through a magnificant landscape, we first cross the customs borderpost Polmak - Nuorgam, which is the Northernmost border crossingpoint in the world! and reach, about 1 km. further the borderline.


Besides some bordermarkers and bordersign, there's a special marker to mark the Northernmostpoint of the European Union.


Because the exact point is situated in water, the marker is placed on land on a

easily accessible place

Skoltefossen

on the way to Kirkenes 🛬

While driving back from Nuorgam we stop at Skoltefossen for pictures and listening to the noise, water can produce ;).

Second stop is to make pics of the signs.

Airport Kirkenes

Høybuktmoen

After the trip to Nuorgam we have lunch in Kirkenes, drive to the airport where we bring back the car and check in for our flight to Tromsø.

Bordermarkers Kirkenes KKN Høybuktmoen Tromsø

The border #9

3i-point FiNoSe

Treriksrøysa

From airport Tromsø, Langnes (TOS) and after we picked up a car, we first drive downtown to pick up Mike and Jesper, who we meet this expedition at first now.


We went into a tunnel. For the first time I see a roundabout in a tunnel, actually we saw here with 2.

Kilpisjärvi, Nordkjosbotn, Treriksrøysa, threepoint, border, bordermarker, IBRG, expedition, Artex-24
Kilpisjärvi, Nordkjosbotn, Treriksrøysa, threepoint, border, bordermarker, IBRG, expedition, Artex-24

After picking up Mike and Jesper, we drive to Kilpisjärvi in Finland where we all booked hotel Retkeilykeskus. This hotel is almost direct at the place the boat next day will leave to the 3i-point FiNoSe (Treriksrøysa).


En route we eated a rendeer burger (or something else) at restaurant Vollan Gjestest Nordkjosbotn (No) and move on to the hotel, where we 7 mins. in time arrive. We were still on Norwaytimemode, but in Finland it's 1 hr. later.

Next day (tuesday june 18th) we checked out of the hotel and went to embark 'our' ferry to the 3i-point FiNoSe.

Kilpisjärvi, Nordkjosbotn, Treriksrøysa, threepoint, border, bordermarker, IBRG, expedition, Artex-24

After the visit of FiNoSe and the 10 km. hike back to the car, we stopped over the bordercrossing Skibotn-Kilpisjärvi

Kilpisjärvi, Nordkjosbotn, Treriksrøysa, threepoint, border, bordermarker, IBRG, expedition, Artex-24

The border #10

Bordercrosing Skibotn (No)-Kilpisjärvi (Fi).


After the hike back from Treriksrøysa, drove to Tromsø, where we should stay one night before ending the expedition.


En route we stopped first at the bordercrossing Skibotn (No)-Kilpisjärvi (Fi) and for our last expedition supper again at restaurant Vollan Gjestest Nordkjosbotn (No).


IBRG, tri-point, ARTEX-24,  Finland, Norway, Bordercrosing+Skibotn-Kilpisjärvi, bordermarkers

Credits

Many thanks to Jonna, Steen, Barry, Mike and Jesper for beïng friends and all the work they did to succeed this expedition.

It was more than a pleasure with you all these days. I am looking forward for Cybex-24