Sunday, 13 July 2008

Oddsocks' secret swimming spot

Swimming at the Vykleky Quarry outside Olomouc

I’m going to let you in on a little secret today. This is my favourite place to go swimming.
But we don’t want every man and his dog finding out about it and crowding us out, so let’s just keep it between us, OK? I get the impression a lot of the locals from nearby towns don’t even know about this place. It’s not signposted at all and I doubt that I’d have ever found it if I hadn’t been taken there.

It’s the old rock quarry just outside Výkleky. Výkleky is about 20km from Olomouc if you follow the marked cycle trail, but only 5km from Lipník nad Bečvou if you’re coming from that direction.

Signs marking the Greenways cycle trail between Vienna, Austria and Krakow, PolandThe way I like to get there from Olomouc is to pick up the marked cycle trail #5 in one of the parks that ring the old town. The reddish paving is for cyclists and the #5 trail is called the Jantarová stezka/Amber trail because it traces the old trade route that led from the Baltics via Krakow to Prague.

Following the Amber trail takes you through the parks, across the mill stream and over the Morava River. As soon as you cross the river, you need to turn left past the abandoned Russian military barracks. You’ll be following the river valley for the next 8kms.

Be careful in town, there are busy roads to cross. Actually there are busy roads to cross outside town too. It’s not a bad idea to wear a helmet on this trip.

Hana hops. Top quality ingredients for top quality Czech beerWhen you get out of Olomouc’s suburbs, the river is behind the trees on your right. In the first village, Bystrovany, you’ll cross the bridge and the river will be behind the trees on your left. At the second village (8km) Velká Bystřice, you’ll leave the river valley and strike out across undulating hills smothered in barley and hops. Other parts of the country are famous for beer making, but top-quality ingredients come from the Hána region that you’re riding through now.

The next landmarks are Vacanovice township and the church tower at Tršice. Tršice is nestled down in a valley and when you first see it, it looks as though a church has sunken into the ground. Enjoy the cruise down into Tršice while it lasts, because you need to climb a hill to get out the other side.

At Tršice, it’s time to say goodbye to the #5 trail. Turn left behind the church to follow the #6058. The climb out of town is wearying, but there’s less than 5km to go and this road will take you right into the township of Výkleky.

There are probably about 50 or 60 houses in Výkleky and when you’ve almost passed through town, the road forks around a big tree. You want to go right. If you’re eagle eyed and understand Czech, you might notice the sign saying “Kamenolom”, which means ‘stone quarry’. If you get really stuck and need to ask directions, “Lom” is the word for quarry and is pronounced just the way it would be in English.

About 100m along this right fork, there’s an unpaved carpark area just off the road. The cars parked here belong to people swimming at the quarry. Once you’re off the road and in the carpark, just follow the main trail. There might be a boom gate across the track, but just go around it like everybody else does. If you’re more than 100m from the road and still haven’t seen the water, you’ve gone the wrong way.

underwater hazards for rock jumpersThe water in the old quarry is cold and deep. So deep that the emergency services use it for training with their scuba-diving gear. The gentlest way in is along the ramp that the trucks used to drive down to bring out the stone. You’ll no doubt see local teenagers jumping off the rocks. If you think you might want to try that, please jump out as far as you can and be as careful as possible. Somebody gets hurt there every summer.

When you’ve had your fill of the quarry, you can turn around and come back the way you came or continue on into Lipník to catch the train home. If you’re cycling home, you can get food in Tršice and Velká Bystřice and those cherry and apple trees lining the road are fair game.

Happy cycling! Just remember, Výkleky’s our secret.


Veverka said...

Yay, Výkleky! I remember going there... maybe with Francie and Peter. Hmm? Awesome!

Captain Oddsocks said...

That sounds likely, Veverka. It was Peter (along with Libor and Dagmar) who took me there the first time too...

It's a great place to know about at this time of year. They say the rest of the month is going to be #HOT#!

Francie said...

Actually Veverka, we went to Nova Ves in the opposite direction towards Bouzov castle. It's nice too but I think Vykleky is nicer. You might have gone there another time.

Nice job on the trail description Oddsocks. Dobry. Good pics too.