Leśniańskie Lake

Czocha Castle is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful monuments of Lower Silesia attracting great interest of Polish and foreign tourists regardless of the season.

I can’t resist going to village Sucha when spending my vacation in Świeradów Zdrój. Visiting the castle is still my favourite attraction while being there although I have known the object for 28 years. What I saw almost three decades ago also causes my admiration now. Every time I’m surprised by the changes and the wider offer for tourists and business year after year. I’m glad having the possibility to enter the place with my dog which for me – a tourist traveling with quite large bobtail – is a great logistic ease.
Not only the architecture of the castle but also its location on Leśniańskie Lake – a vast retention reservoir – makes it a unique place.

I have been dreaming of spending a night in the castle and seeing the object from the water since childhood. I haven’t had the opportunity to book a hotel room yet but I managed to fulfill my second dream last Summer.

The worst weather from my entire holidays was predicted for Monday September 9th, 2019 so I wrote it off when preparing my SUP schedule. Rain in the morning only confirmed the weather forecast. That day I was planning nothing more except a trip to Leśniańskie Lake just to find a safe place to launch the board. I wanted it to be close to the Leśniańska Dam because I wanted to see this hydrotechnical construction first. It stopped raining immediately after I arrived to the parking lot located in close proximity of the dam and opposite the Czocha Camping Beach.

This choice appeared to be suitable for entering the water. A quick look at the beach only awakened my desire to float. I decided to use the two – hour weather window instead of waiting until Tuesday. I appreciated my good decision of keeping the board and sports wardrobe in my car boot giving me unlimited access to the gear in all conditions.
I had never pumped SHARK so quickly before. I had never climbed into the wetsuit with such enthusiasm.

There was free admission to the camping due to the end of the season. The possibility of using sanitary services and buying food and beverages was valuable when having spontaneous floating.
Access to the lake was difficult because of the low water level which revealed a steep slope of the beach. My feet got stuck in mud under the weight of my board which made me afraid of losing my neoprene shoes or getting faced in mud in the worst case.

I felt relief as soon as I got on the water. Euphoria and joy initiated by fulfilling my dream disappeared. The consequences of the drought, which has lasted in Poland for over five years, were seen best from this perspective. A situation was visible on the dam’s wall too which the fluctuations of the water in the lake marked its levels on.

Still, I was charmed by the dam’s design. It is one of those objects for me that impress with their size but mostly the range of construction works which were considerable technological and logistic challenges almost 120 years ago. Admiring the oldest dam in Poland from my SUP board was undoubtedly an enormous experience for me – a hydroengineer.

As soon as I fulfilled my curiosity with construction of the dam the time to reach the Czocha Castle came which required taking the direction to the east and covering about 1.3 km distance. The lake narrowed just behind the Czocha Camping Beach. I was floating in a picturesque gorge with trees densely grown on both banks. The green colour also dominated in the water which gave me an impression of floating on the grass. Gray gneisses building the valley gave contrasting colour. The shape of the castle crowned with irregular, slopping roofs and a tower, as well as a marina for boats at the foot emerged from the bend of the river.

Because time was flowing and the cloudy sky reminded me of coming rain all the time I decided not to go ashore. I paddled further instead to get to the Kwisa River. The lake became shallow behind the Gościniec Camping discouraging me from reaching its end. I didn’t dare to float further. I preferred to avoid the risk of getting stuck in mud. I gave up seeing Rajsko Castle. Also the terrifying sight of birds wading in rubbish made me leave this part of the lake. I turned back to Czocha Castle spending another quarter to take photos of the object from every possible side.

The return trip was my race with the rainy clouds. I got to the launching point punctually at 1 pm. The wind calmed down. It got stuffy. An worrying silence descended. Instead of ending the trip, I floated to the dam for the last time ignoring the signs of an approaching downpour. I took the board out of the water completely soaked a few minutes later. Because I forgot that the beach is muddy I fished barefoot my neoprene boots out of the mud losing my paddle all the time.

Pumping out the board was unpleasant too. As a consequence, the wet equipment was thrown carelessly into the car boot. I didn’t have a chance to dress up dry clothes. I only dreamed of warming up in the car as soon as possible. The hail was falling before I started the engine. I burst out laughing. I couldn’t imagine a crazier end of the SUP trip. It was really incredible.

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