Having seven years experience in the hydrotechnical industry I consider dams as one of the most complex and demanding water structures at all stages of the investment process. Any mistake, oversight during designing, building and exploitation of the object involves some risk. The occurrence of the most serious can cause catastrophic results.
I regard water dams as the most interesting constructions in the hydroengineer’s career already during my studies. That is why I dreamed of being member of the team working on such projects.
My desire was fulfilled, among others, having a foreign training in PANGAEA CONSULTING ENGINEERS LTD company in Athens where I participated in designing three dams in the northern part of Greece and saw progress of construction works and logistics during my personal visits on the building sites.
I was involved in preparations of the Feasibility Study of Construction of the Flood Protection Reservoir in Raciborz Dolny on the Odra River ten years ago. I continued the subject three years later updating part of the execution project.
Those are positions in my CV that I’m the most proud of. I was lucky taking part in this type of investment because they are rarely implemented.
SUP trips around three reservoirs in southern Poland, where I spent last year’s holidays, fulfilled my fascination with dams. The objects that I knew from academic books I could personaly admire from the SUP board on my own. It was a great experience which not only provided me with fantastic entertainment but also was a valuable practical lesson broadening my professional knowledge.
The coverages of my trips round Leśniańskie and Pilchowickie Lakes are available on my blog from April. I’m going to take you to Złotnickie Lake today.
My plan on Złotnickie Lake included visiting the dam from the land in the first stage and seeing the entire reservoir from my SUP board next.
Early morning hours let me park the car easily and admire the dam being alone. The beautiful view of the water side of the wall and the passage through two tunnels cut in the rocks diversified the short walk from the car park to the object. There was a beautiful landscape of a valley covered with dense forest from the crest of the dam. The construction separated wide lake on the one side and the Kwisa River flowing almost 28 m below in a narrow canal to Leśniańskie Lake on the other. I decided to go down to the Złotniki Water Power Plant. Although it was inaccessible to visitors it was worth seeing the dam’s wall in full splendor. It looked impressive from this perspective. I was equally amazed by the cascade of the open channel spillway integrated into the rocks.
While I was looking round the object the XVIII Technical Dam Control International Conference, devoted to hydraulic structures monitoring and safety, took place in Biała Woda. I regretted not participating in this event for a moment. Finally, I found visiting the dam and doing my own “inventory” from my SHARK board more interesting.
I got back to the parking lot being satisfied by the rightness of my choice. I turned back to the Złoty Sen Training and Recreation Center to continue the next stage of my trip.
I started preparations for exploring Złotnickie Lake after I got permission to enter the hotel. It was a great convenience for me to launch the board from the floating platform. I got on the water quickly and easily. Dark clouds began to appear on the blue sky as soon as I started paddling. I floated towards the dam avoiding wasting my time. Fortunately, only 600 m distance separated me from it.
I was looking at the dam wall made of stone bricks in the last rays of the sun. Building it must have been a tedious and laborious work. The blue closures of the open channel spillway were those parts which caught my attention. Actually they were the only abstract colour elements of the landscape. The actual sizes of the rock massifs, in which road tunnels were drilled to have access to the dam, were visible only from the water
I was so involved in admiring the object that it took me longer than I expected. I was waken up from contemplation by a strong gust of wind. I turned back to the “water junction” where I turned left to the east. I was floating with the wind so the board gained speed. I hoped the water stay calm since the lake was narrow and sheltered by trees. It started to rock the SHARK. I felt insecure although I was still winning the race with rainy clouds. I’m not superstitious person, but I thought for the first time in my life that floating on Friday, 13th might end badly for me. I gave up my further route after paddling about 300 m distance. Although the track promised to be interesting with the nature I didn’t want to reach Karłowice at all costs. I was afraid of the return trip the most. And I was right. I barely got back to the Złoty Sen.
Being irritated by the situation I decided to discover the western part of the lake. Because the weather conditions were changing dynamically I wanted to have the hotel within the reach of my paddle. The wind wasn’t so bothering in this part of the lake that is why I was able to explore two small coves with lush vegetation probably in all possible shades of green. Blueberry and raspberries bushes, heathers and moss growing on the rocks formed diverse and not obvious compositions.
I returned to the hotel feeling unsatisfied. I moored my board to the railing and had a picnic on the terrace. Peace and quiet as well as the lake view blunted my disappointment. I cheered myself up with the saying: “What is delayed is not lost”. At least I have an excuse to come back to this place again.