East Bohemian rivers in spring
This is rather forgotten river in Liberec region. Frankly speaking, its upper flow, near to the town, does not belong to pure and clean rivers (especially in Liberec), but the situation improved in the course of passed 15 years. If there is in spring or in summer, after heavy rain, enough water level available, it is not for long time-period, of course. So, the navigation of this river is recommandable to be started near to the community of Machnín. You keep away from its polluted part and mainly two unpleasant weirs in the environs of Svárov. So, up to the town of Hrádek nad Nisou, located on border with Poland, this is nice one day navigation. Even open vessels (boats) could use it. As far as the weirs are concerned, there are many available on route (it is true, some are broken, some, on the other hand, just reconstructed, using its water for production of electric energy). Anyway, most interesting section starts just near to Machnín. The river is most beautiful in spring, when the river-basin, cleaned by water stream, is surrounded with green hillsides and water is pleasantly green. Nevertheless, after heavy rains or during long dry period when the rain is missing, any river-section could not become right experience. Let´s trust that even in Liberec and environs, the situation changes in positive way. You pass two weirs, and shortly after railway bridge, the river turns sharply to the left. At low weir, near to electric power station, the water stream is lead away straight ahead throughout a rock to electric power station. Here, the river forms nice headland round Castle of Hamrstein. It is very nice passage here at highest water level. The end of this arch, in front of Andělská hora (Angel Hill), where there is to be found high reconstructed weir, there are also several rocky thresholds (open canoes could take a water inside, provided the raid is not perfect). Shortly, we reach the town of Chrastava with its industry (partially just deserted) and high weirs in its regulated basin. When you overcome it, (you have to carry over your vessels), you are at a mouth with Jeřice-river. The river flows quietly towards communities of Bílý Kostel and Hrádek nad Nisou. Morover, you pass several weirs in busy stream and the river is overcome! It is, of course, possible to navigate ahead, but the river forms a border between Poland and Germany, let´s trust that the situation will be more favourable in future. Anyway, this is mostly relax matter, and carrying over, from time to time, in form of weirs, is a small obstacle.
This is a river flowing down from highest levels of Giant Mountains. The river passes the town of Trutnov (via many weirs), and afterthat, it is navigable for open vessels (boats). However, the weirs in Trutnov are not passable, moreover, in front of some of these, there is difficult to stop and to carry the vessel over. So, you can start your navigation in the community of Bohuslavice (below last weir in Poříčí quarter). From here, Úpa is quite wide river with quick stream, but small rapids are not too expressive and the boats are not full of water from the very beginning. Nevertheless, you need to have some experience regarding drive along flowing water. Even Úpa-river, thanks to its great declivity (slope) is used as energetic source, and the weirs are mostly high (in upper flow- section – near to the community of Svoboda nad Úpou - 4-5 meters high weirs are no exception!) and some of them are passable. So, this slantindicular weir, near to Úpice, you can try (according to the actual water level), but it is absolutely necessary to estimate water level! Nevertheless, weir in Úpice could be - under higher water level - quite dangerous. In similar way, you have to decide in the case of other weirs. Provided it does not seem O.K., it would be better to carry over the vessel. It is better to arrive home safely as to break the vessel (boat) in weir. The section up to Ratibořice is long but navigation speed enables to descent this section during a day. Anyway, you leave out Viktorka-flood-gate, for sure. It seems to be quite inconspicuous, but at middle water level the whirls below inform bad news. The same situation could happen in case of movable weir at the end of „Babiččino údolí“ (Grandmother Valley), where mill-race to Rozkoš dam turns aside. Sometimes, it is only a couple of centimetres high, but a roller could be created behind, and gives more meters disponible. This weir is always dangerous, so the carrying over on right side is not too difficult. When you find a place for overnight here, you can continue the second day up to the mouth of Elbe-river. The surroundings along the river are very beautiful up to the town of Česká Skalice. The weirs are similar to those previous, nevertheless, its inspection in advance is always necessary. Anyway, pay attention to the weir situated below the bridge just in town-centre, (it is slanting) its passage depends on water-level (stand) again. Passing Česká Skalice, the river is still quick. After Doubravice, would you pay attention for several inconspicuous stages (they create long and dangerous rollers, being able to stop even long vessel and it is unpleasant to leave it). Provided you navigate up to Elbe, it is recommandable to finish before mouth at a bridge, or it is possible to do it directly at confluence. So, you need to transport your vessel. Anyway, one day, or two days, spent on Úpa-river – all this could be – at nice spring water level - very nice experience.
The name of this river is mysterious, similar impression makes also a name Ledhuje, one of its tributaries. Metuje could be passable just at moderate higher water level from Adersbach Rocks (however the access here is not allowed for watermen). Anyway, after rock-town, this small river is more than 3-4 metres wide, and it runs, with moderate slope, to the town of Teplice and passes Protected National Countryside Broumovsko. The flow is not difficult, but turnings are sometimes quite sharp, and the weirs do not add more calm. Nevertheless, there are not of so big number, as in case of Úpa-river, so the weirs are not so numerous and high. Anyway, its passage is scattered also here. It is necessary to effect carrying over the vessels. Provide the water stand (level) is satisfactory, so the whole river could be descent within two or three days. This concerns the section from Teplice nad Metují up to the town of Nové Město nad Metují, the distance makes 50 kms. Frankly speaking, this is, especially for inflated vessels (canoes) quite long distance. However, this section has satisfactorily water level in spring or after heavy rains only. On the contrary, the lower section, below Nové Město, is passable all year round, and, moreover, it could be used with several lateral legs of river. If you have good luck and sufficient water level available, you cannot miss the navigation from Teplice or the community of Česká Metuje., despite the fact, that the river does not seem to be too interesting – but to watch a kingfisher – it is an experience! Nevertheless, before Náchod, you have to try to find some accommodation place, and continue the navigation next day. You find camping place near to Náchod and Nové Město nad Metují. The river is meandering, some weirs are to be inspected in advance, before you effect the descent. Behind the town of Náchod, the river-flow starts to be more quicker, and the most attractive section comes at Bražec. Last high weir follows, and the river flows, some waves appear, and Olešenka river brings its waters in nice rapid from left side in sharp bending. It is worth to make a stop, in order to take a refreshment in Peklo (Hell) cottage. However, the canoes could have a problem here, at higher water stand. The waves of rapids are higher and vessels are soon full of water. It is necessary to keep away from stones and rocks, even fallen tree in river-bed could not bring surprice for you. Section of rapids in this nice valley is short, and even before the valley becomes more wide, the river is more calm. So, we recommend you to finish your navigation before Nové Město. On the contrary, you can start our navigation direct in town-centre in summer, at low water-level, so you can take advantage of so called Strará řeka (Old River). The starting point could be looked for a little, but this could be estimated according to the map. So, you find the turning at hight weir and the vessel could be carried over to Stará řeka (Old River) on left side. It is quick, romantical navigation with many bendings, you have to bow under fallen trees. It is true that you could stop in more difficult way and in last moment in front of new weirs of electric power stations, the river-bed is quite narrow, and only more experienced crew could reach it. The river flows through wild countryside, the villages are far from the river, and you have only occasionally the chance to visit a pub, but you finally find such place. Old river returns several times into its original bed and turns aside again. You can terminate your pasasage in Elbe-river as well, but you can take advantage of access bridges sooner. Last section is regulated (arranged). Nevertheless, here is the mouth of tributary from Rozkoš-dam. So, it could happen that, suddenly, there could appear more water as presumed, and the stages could become dangerous for life. The stages in original river-bed, near to the community of Šestajovice, are also quiet dangerous (this is in case, if you could loose your way). So, you can choose your termination point sooner, the best chance could be at last turning. Anyway, some reconnaissance navigations are not closed, of course.
Text: Vojta Jančar
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