vadsø, skallelv, hiking

The Skallelv trail

Skallelv is a Kven or Finnish rural community in Varanger, approx. 30 km east of Vadsø. Kvens are descendants of Finnish immigrants to North Norway in the 18th and 19th centuries, and are classed as an ethnic minority in Norway. Skallelv is an agri- cultural community and is village-like, with houses in two rows along the river. A nice, flat valley leads from the north-west side of the community into the inland grazing areas, the fenlands and the plains. A signposted culture trail takes you from the com- munity into the valley.

Skallelv is distinguished by its clusters of multi-function houses – Varanger houses, with the small fields for haymaking situated behind the houses. The rough grazing areas inland towards the Varangerhalvøya National Park were used in many ways – for making hay, for peat extraction, for harvesting berries and other plants and for lake and river fishing.

The hiking trail starts at the main road, goes through the community and continues along the Bærelv road to the rough grazing areas. The trail has 12 posts and is about 6 km long, but obviously just walking part of it is fine as well. The posts along the culture trail describe various parts of the area’s cultural history, as well as botany and Kven-language designations for flowers, berries and plants.

The trail is situated in an attractive hiking area and is accessible to all. On a pole by the road, there is a post box with a map and information about all the trail posts.

The trail has been made by the Vadsø Museum/Ruija Kven Museum (a part of the Varanger Museum) in collaboration with the Skallelv community association and bota- nists from Tromsø Museum – the University Museum. The museum sells an illustrated brochure with a map of the area and texts about the various trail posts. 

Start: Parking at route E74 right after the bridge to the left when you come from Vadsø. The trail starts right across the village road along the river, but the trail taking you into the valley starts 100 metres east of the parking lot.

Length: 6 km one way.

Type: Easy terrain across the road taking you into the valley, with some detours towards fens and haymaking fields