Sámi Stuff: Jokkmokk and Arvidsjaur

We’re now parked up on a small car park in the woods just inland from Luleå on the Baltic coast. Here’s the map:

We’ve had some lovely sunny weather since leaving the garage on Friday morning, then some rain on Monday.
The next town on our route South from Gällivare was Jokkmokk. We’d seen the Sámi souvenir shops and the reindeer; now it was time to find out some more about the Sámi themselves, who traditionally lived across much of the North of Scandinavia:

Jokkmokk was a pleasant enough little place. Our destination was the Ájtte Mountain and Sámi Museum, which told us all about the local wilderness area of Laponia, the traditional Sámi lifestyle, and how this has been affected by the modern World. Not all of the explanations were available in English, but we got the general gist….

Local Wildlife:

Mark was particularly interested in the poo exhibit:

The museum had a great area for kids, and luckily we were the only kids there 😀  We swooped over the local landscape, Mark played with some fish, we both swatted loads of mozzies, and I steered a sledge down a track through the woods:

Fun over, it was time to move on. Just South of Jokkmokk, we recrossed the Arctic Circle, this time heading South:

Don’t Panic! It’s not as serious as it looks! After hopping out to take a photo of Kampington by the sign (which was on the entrance/exit road from the car park, so we couldn’t really park there), I noticed that Kampington only had one eye….

This was a bit embarrassing as we’ve been pointing at one-eyed motorhomes and shouting “Cyclops!” for the last few weeks! It’s easily done in the far North; you have to drive with your lights on all the time in Norway and Sweden, but in 24-hour daylight it’s easy not to notice if one stops working. Thankfully we do have plenty of bulbs…. Here’s Mark on the actual circle:

On the subject of 24-hour daylight, we’ve now officially left the Midnight Sun behind. Having said that, it still isn’t going dark at night, just a bit gloomy (the Sun is now touching the horizon but not yet fully setting).

We found a great place to stop on Sunday night:

Just on the other side of the water (yes, there was a road bridge 😉) was a car park with free fettlings. Despite appearing in Camperstop and on Camper Contact as a place you can stay for free, this car park now had a polite sign. We saw lots of these signs in Norway too in car parks where motorhomes were apparently allowed to stay overnight just a few years ago:

Lots of people were ignoring the sign and staying on the car park anyway; being the good citizens that we are we bagged a prime location on the other side of the river, then returned the next morning to fettle. Whilst here, we went on a bike ride through the forest, and a Dutch couple approached Mark to say that this was the fourth time they’d seen us; previous sightings had been at Trondheim, the Arctic Circle heading North, and Nordkapp. That just goes to show that Kampington does stand out in a crowd; we hadn’t noticed them but then again there are a lot of grey Pössl van conversions just like theirs trundling round Scandinavia….

Further South at Arvidsjaur we visited Lappstaden, which is a church town. We’re going to visit the biggest and best-preserved of these tomorrow, so I’ll save an explanation of church towns until the next post. Suffice to say, the thing that’s different about the buildings at Lappstaden is that they are traditional-style Sámi buildings. The raised square ones (like “normal” log cabins) are called ájttes (as in the name of the museum at Jokkmokk) and are used for storage. The ones for living in are gåhties, and are the ones with the square base and pyramid-shaped roof.

They didn’t have any furniture inside the gåhties, so perhaps it doesn’t matter much that the buildings here are all privately owned and we couldn’t see inside any of them.

We’ve now left the Sámi area behind, which means that we’ve probably left the reindeer behind as well. Not to worry, there’ll be plenty more to discover as we wend our way South 😃 And we may even get a reliable mobile ‘phone signal!

Heading South from Lappeasuando, we did indeed get a ‘phone signal as we approached Gällivare again, then promptly lost it on the other side of town. We then had to drive a long way until our next (very small) patch of signal in the centre of Jokkmokk, then nothing again until we reached Arvidsjaur.

Three seem to have their own network in Sweden, and that’s all we can connect to. Which would be fair enough except that they’ve put a roaming coverage map on their website that has pretty much the whole of Sweden coloured in. Lies 🤥 Lies 🤥 Lies 🤥

Here’s what Three in the UK promises us in terms of coverage when roaming in Sweden:

Here’s what Three in Sweden says the coverage is:

Spot the difference, anyone?

We’re very near the coast now so have a good signal. We should be OK for a few days, then I guess it’ll disappear again when we next turn inland….. It looks like we’ll be fine further South though; very reassuring after our recent near-disaster in the far North!


  1. Sorry there’ll be no more reindeer as they looked very entertaining, if also somewhat dangerous…… Sheep? Goats?


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