Dubna is the longest river of Latgale. It begins and ends in Latgale. The river Dubna streams out of the lake Sivers, the ninth largest lake in Latvia. Although in some materials the lake Cārmins is considered to be the source of the river Dubna, but we support the opinion that Dubna streams out of the lake Sivers. Also the local inhabitants call the nullah connecting the lakes Sivers with Ārdavs and Ārdavs (Ploteņu) with Lejas ezers as the river Dubna.
Dubna is the right affluent of middle reaches of the river Daugava and it is the second longest affluent of the river Daugava in the territory of Latvia. Longer is only the river Ogre -188 km. Length of Dubna is 120 km, slope is 76 m, area of basin is 2780 km2, the average flow rate in the entry: annually 16,7 cumecs, during high water 112 cumecs. For tourism it can be used all the season from the lake Višķi, but in low water level it could be problematic to move from the source to entry in the lake Višķi. In the upper course to the lake Višķi you have to count with frequent obstacles of fallen trees and spans with low water. The way is obstructed also by the small hydroelectric power stations that are four within this span, two mill sluices and one embankment.
In the upper course when flowing through the Highlands of Latgale, Dubna is rapid, riffles interchange there with slower spans. Although more to be more precise it must be said that is was rapid because after 2000 the most beautiful and rapid spans of the river were deluged when building the small hydroelectric power stations. Before they were built water mill ruins and remains from sluices had survived here in place of what the mentioned hydroelectric power stations were built. Here, in the not deluged spans of river, its width reaches ca. 10-15 m.
Behind the lakes Višķi and Lukna the river Dubna flows through the plain Jersika. Here the river grows wider and deeper. The width reaches 15-20 m. Here the riverside is low so the meadows and arable land adjacent to the river was flooded in springs. Already in the thirtieth the government of Latvia financed one of the greatest that time land amelioration measures and controlled the span of the river in the length of 61,6 km. During the Soviet times a 614 ha big polder with pump station and 2.3 km long protecting dike was built in Pelēči parish. It must be mentioned that currently the area of polder begins to overgrow with shrubs and the draining systems begin to crash. In the result of ameliorative measures there are many dead arms of the river on the sides of Dubna, particularly in the span from Špoģi – Preiļi road bridge to Arendole and Vecvārkava (Upmala). The biggest right-side affluent are Feimanka, Oša, Jaša, Šusta, Divkle and Egļupe, but on the left-side -Kalupe, Malnaviņa, Kucupe and Bērzupe. The right-side affluent are much longer than the ones of the left-side because the left-side river flow directly in the river Daugava. The longest right-side affluent Feimanka (72 km) is more then two times as long as the longest left-side affluent Kalupe (32 km).
In the upper course Dubna frequently flows through a wood. The biggest wood area that is crossed by Dubna in this span is from Staškeviči to Lauku Ļāperi.
The surroundings of Dubna in whole span from Špoģi to Līvāni can be agriculturally used and wood areas aren’t directly adjacent to its sides. Usually the sides are overgrown with shrubs – osiers, willows, alders, bird-cherry trees, etc. Just in Arendole the beautiful Arendole estate park with centenarian trees is adjacent to the very river.
Behind the Rožupe the river Dubna grows wider and the width thereof reaches on average 20-25 m. It is connected with the fact that two biggest affluent- Oša and Feimanka flow into the river Dubna in a short span. At Rožupe there is hydropost where the hydrographical measurements are made. Since in summers the river Dubna badly overgrows, particularly behind Rožupe, then in 2009 this span of river was deepened. The aim of deepening was to facilitate more rapid water flow rate expecting that it shall decrease the overgrowing of the river with waterweeds. Before Līvāni several small islands appear in the river Dubna where in springs ice jams form. In Līvāni in 2001 the Straumes HPP was renewed. Behind the HPP, before the entry in Daugava the river Dubna forms a quite branched delta that sharply turns from west northwards. Further more detailed description of the route of upper course of the river Dubna.
We begin the route at effluent of the river Dubna from the lake Sivers. To get there we have to go to Kombuļi and then turn on the Kombuļi-Auleja road and ca. after 7 km we shall cross the bridge over Dubna. On the first turn after the bridge at the road with the sign to Vanagi we turn right and after 1,5 km we turn again right and arrive at the margin of the lake. The mound on the left side is Brāslava castle mound. Getting at the margin of the lake should be agreed with the landowner from the nearby house.
Before getting into boats we must definitely go onto the Brāslava castle mound. From the top of the castle mound we can see fantastic panoramas on the lake Sivers and the Highlands of Latgale. On the top of the castle mound the local inhabitants celebrate Midsummer Day and here is the place for Ligo bonfire. Now we can begin our route.
By the river Dubna we go to the lake Ārdavs. Arriving in the lake Ārdavs along the right margin we go westwards to the overgrown lake Ploteņš. Here the opinion of cartographers and geographers differ–whether Ploteņš is a separate lake or just a creek of the lake Ārdavs? However it may be, in the latest cartography materials Ploteņš appear and we shall regard it as a separate lake, although when entering it we shall see that all around there are only reed and water-plants among that there is a few metres wide free water zone that in 800 m grows into the river Dubna. Having gone another ca. 450 m we arrive at Kombuļi-Auleja road bridge. Totally in the route we have covered 3,7 km.
Behind the bridge we have to make another 750 m by the river Dubna and then we arrive at the lake Lejs. At the entry of Dubna in the lake there is a nice resting-place that is managed by the owners of 350 m distant guest house “Lejasmalas”.
Lejs or the lake Lejas is located in winding subglacial shallows between the lakes Ārdavs and Cārminis. The lake bed has a wide south part (arriving into the lake from the river Dubna it remains on the left from us) and a wedge-formed bottleneck on the north-west (in this direction we must continue the route). The lake has three depths – 30,7 m in the south part, 34 m opposite the eastern bank, it is the deepest place of the lake, and 15 m at the south-east end. The average depth is 8,2 m. Lejs is the tenth deepest lake in Latvia. The area of the lake is 177 ha, together with the islands – 178 ha.
In the place where the widest south part of the lake gets into the narrower north-west part there are two islands that can be went round by the east or west side. We continue the route north-westwards – the lake becomes narrower and narrower till at the end of the reck we arrive at the source of the river Dubna and entry in the lake Cārmins. Here is also a bridge. In the route we have covered 6,1 km.
Cārmins (Cārmans) is the next lake in our route. Its area is 222 ha, together with the only island 224 ha. The length of the lake reaches 5,6 km, but the width 0,6 km. The average depth is 9,3 m, but maximum depth – 30,6 m. Cārmins is one of the picturesque deep and large lakes in the undulating ground of Dagda. The lake is of subglacial origin, the shallows bent north-westwards and south-eastwards. The banks are sheer and overgrown so particularly beautiful landscapes can be seen in spring and nice autumn days. The lake has many creeks and recks. The deepest part of the lake is in the north part. Immediately after the two only islands of the lake on the left side the river Dubna sluices. In some materials it is said that this is the real source of the river Dubna, but as it frequently happens, opinions about the sources of rivers differ. To protect the beautiful landscapes and frogbit family plants, in 2004 Cārmaņa lake country park was established on the banks of the lake Cārmins with the area of 529 ha.
When entering the lake Cārmins we go initially along the left margin westwards. Gradually the route turns northwards. Ahead we can see two islands behind that there is the mentioned source of the river Dubna. After 1,7 km we reach the source of Dubna. The source has hid in shrubs opposite the smallest island that is located more on the north.
After 450 m we reach delta creek of the lake Zosns that in summer usually overgrows. After another 400 m we go into the lake Zosns. The are of the lake Zosns is 18 ha, the average depth 2,0 m, but maximum depth reaches 3,0 m. Here we keep at the left margin because the source of Dubna is on the west of the lake. After short 0,6 km we arrive at remains of a bridge. Once here was a pedestrian bridge but now only separate wooden poles are left over that there has been a footbridge. During low water this place is used as a ford. The riverbed here is comparatively wide in places more than 30 m, but it is overgrown with reed and other water-plants. Behind the remains of the bridge after 500 m three culverts are placed in the river and dike is made over them over that gravel is taken from the pit that we can see on the left bank. The gravel-pit was created in 2010. Here we’ll have to pull the boats over the dike. Soon after the dike the river comes closer to the Krāslava-Aglona motorway. In this place the river sharply turns southwards and continues to flow parallel to the motorway. After 1,0 km we reach Sakova mill-lake and the bridge over the dike connecting Aizupes with Krāslava-Aglona motorway. Also here we’ll have to carry the boats over the dike. After 0,3 km we reach the bridge of the motorway over the river Dubna. Totally in the route we have covered 9,4 km.
Behind the bridge after 290 m we float in the lake Sakova. Area of the lake Sakova is 22 ha, the average depth is 1,8 m, but maximum depth 2,0m. In the lake Sakova we keep closer to the north margin because the source of Dubna is located in the north-west part of the lake in the place where close to the margin houses can be seen. About the middle of the lake on the left from us we can see the only island of the lake.
When further traversing the lake the river Dubna mainly cranks through a wood till after 2,3 km we reach Kovaļova millpond. By the flux we go another 260 m and reach the mill dike. Here we’ll have to carry the boats. When going ashore ca. after 150 metres we can see the blue-green Kovaļova old-believer preaching-house. At the same time we can go to see it. The chapel was built in 1861. Here it is possible to order an excursion with narration about traditions of old-believers and icon-painting but during the visit you must observe the custom of old-believers-women must wear a kerchief and long skirts, men – long trousers. Excursions can be ordered by the phone 65646278.
Having seen the chapel we board and continue the route. Although in straight direction there are ca. 300 m to the Šķeltova-Grāveri road bridge, by the river the distance reaches almost one kilometre-980 m. At this bridge we have covered 13,3 km in the route.
Further for 3 km the river Dubna snakes through meadows overgrown with shrubs in parallel to Šķeltova-Grāveri road. The average distance from the river to the road is 150-350 m. After 3 km the river discharges into the lake Aksenova. The lake Aksenova with its six islands is one of the most picturesque small lakes in our tour. In some materials a fact appears that there are seven islands in the lake. Some day perhaps it was so, but the biggest island has merged with the smaller island on the north and now it is practically one island. Area of the lake Aksenova (Aksjonova, Aņisimova, Savičs) is 1,25 km2, together with the island 1,32 km2. The average depth is 3,5 m, maximum depth 9,4 m. In the north banks are low, in the south-sheer and picturesque. Length of coastline reaches 5,5 km. Area of the biggest island is 5,1 ha. Lake bed in the south-west part 7-9,4 m deep, coastline sandy, in greater depth there is mud.
We have to keep in the middle of the islands to find the source of the river Dubna from the lake. We must look for the source of the river Dubna opposite the second island on the left side. Over the lake we must have covered 1,55 km and after another 300 m we reach the Grāveri-Aksenova-Šķeltova road bridge. Totally we have covered 18,1 km. If there is a wish to stretch the legs it is possible to go to 1 km distant Peipiņi Catholic Church. In this case you have to go southwards the road. From the road there is a beautiful view on the just traversed lake Aksenova. From the church you also can see the lake Peipiņi. Peipiņi parish was established after the First World War and the first dean was Jānis Ziemelis. For a country parish relatively big corner-jointed chapel with two towers was built in 1926 at expenses of parishioners. In 1931 the dean Jāzeps Ļakse put a lead roof on Peipiņi, built the towers with a high spire and covered with lead. In 1935 the church was planked and painted. From 1955 to 1972 the dean D. Punculis took out the beams and immured bricks instead, iron fence was put around the church and gates in concrete posts. In 1955 the dean Staņislavs Svilāns built a parsonage behind the church opposite the presbytery. The church was called the Church of Virgin Mary – Mother of Pains. In 2002 Peipiņi Church was included in project of list of national protected cultural monuments. Art objects are located in the church that in 2001 were included in the project of lists of protected monuments – church ceiling lantern, sconces, and reliquary.
Behind the bridge after 1,2 km we arrive at Upes Kudiņu water mill, there is a facilitated resting and tent place. Staying must be agreed by phone 29734566. Here is no dike and the tour can be continued without carrying of boats. On the right side there are houses and right there in the wood there is Brīver castle mound. In 1941 the castle mound was discovered and wider described by A. Gusars.
Timbered Brīveri castle mound is established on ca. 15 m high left bank of the river Dubna, where forming 8 m deep glen a brooklet flows into the river. Thus a land corner has formed that in north, east and south-east has the sheer brook glen descent, but in south and south-west the sheer riverside of Dubna. On north-west where there are no natural obstacles the castle mound is delimited from surroundings with a 45 m long, 5 m wide and 1 m high dam. In front of the dam at the descent of glen possibly remains of the second ditch are to be observed –the ditch itself in the front of the castle mound is ploughed up. Inside of the dam there is 8 m wide and 0,5 m deep ditch delimitating a flat area of 35×40 m. On the side of the plateau against the ditch once there was a soft 0,2-0,3 m high bank that nowadays cannot be seen anymore. More than 0,4 m thick cultural layer was found in the plateau of the castle mound that has formed in the soil of light sand. Chippings of handmade smooth plates were found there that could testify that the castle mound is to be referable to I millenary A.D.
Behind the Upes Kudiņu mills having covered 3 km we reach the next bridge. This time it is Aglona-Šķeltova road bridge. From the beginning of the route we have made 22,35 km.
1,3 km after the road we reach Staškeviči HPP reservoir, after another 0,5 km on the left side there is the place where Dubna bight branches. This bight is dug over and the river bed is straightened out. In the middle of the straightened span there is Staškeviči HPP dike. Till the dike there are another 250 m, but also behind the dike the straightened span continues for another 250 m. In this point from the left side the natural bed of Dubna joins again. More extreme tourists can try to bypass the HPP by the old bed, but you have to count that the water level here is lower than in the straightened span. This bight of Dubna is 3 km long and we don’t count it in the total length of the route.
After this juncture further 7,0 km Dubna flows through the biggest wood area and the least populated span in whole route. There are also no somewhat remarkable roads in this span. Part of this span Dubna is boundary river between Aglona and Daugavpils counties. After these 7,0 km we have arrived at a small wooden bridge. After a longer period on both riversides we can see houses. Ca. 50 m after the bridge we reach a bight where part of the river flows again straight, but part on the left and makes a bight that after 520 m joins again with the straight span. The straight span is 150 m long. From this juncture having covered ca. 0.5 km there is Ļāperi castle mound on the left bank in the wood. The first person who investigated and described Ļāperi castle mound was Ernests Brastiņš, the famous ancient times investigator of the first Latvia. He was the first person who starting from 1922 every summer visited and investigated the castle mounds of Latvia, as a result of what he published four books about the castle mounds of Latvia. Every book was devoted to one region of Latvia and to the castle mounds investigated in this region. Book about the castle mounds of Latgale was published in 1928. Here is also the description about Ļāperi castle mound, and also about further Greita hill and Baranovska castle mound.
Ļāperu castle mound is a solitary round hill that rises 28 m above the level of Dubna. The hill has a small slightly explicit round plateau with diameter of ca. 35 m. Two meters lower than the edge of the plateau all around the hill at places you can see a terrace. Another terrace is located some meters lower than the firs one. Both these terraces are weekly remained because in former times the hill was ploughed. The soil of castle mound consists of fine-grained sand where a coniferous forest grows that has already taken over the entire castle mound.
Several stories go about the Ļāperi castle mound. One of them is about a virgin who has lived in the hill. She was imprisoned there and she wanted to get away from the hill. Once she came out and asked the people for beads, so she shall become free again. The beads must be particular-they have to be two and equal. If the virgin would receive such beads, she would get out of the castle mound. Such beads weren’t found and the virgin had to stay in the castle mound. It is said that she still lives there.
Another story goes that a nobleman had lived inside the hill who guarded his property there. Once during the war he had taken his possessions and put in the carriage and gone away. The carriage was set to two black horses. The horses had dragged the nobleman with all hid possession in the lake at the foot of the hill. It is said that the lake is now overgrown.
When continuing the route after 2.2 km we reach Šķīvišķi HPP reservoir. Having gone ca. 1,5 km by the reservoir we arrive at the next castle mound –Greita hill. The origin of the name “Greita hill” is explained differently. One of the versions is that the name has originated from a fabulous enormous virgin Grieta who was buried in the hill fill; another version is that “Greida” is the same as bank, fill, Russian “grjada”. According to the opinion of Ernests Brastiņ’s this explanation seems acceptable because the castle mound really is characterized by ca. 70 m long straight fill. Dubna encloses the 30 m high castle mound from three sides. A wide ditch was made at the side not protected from the river from the bottom of that to the hill there are 9-10 m. At the moment the castle mound is overgrown with wood. About the Greita hill there goes also a story. Once in the evening village people have seen that a gate was opened in the castle mound. Bright light have shone in the gates. Slim woman had stood in the light and next to her black dogs. After a moment the gate had closed again and the brightness had disappeared.
After another 0,9 km we arrive at HPP dike. Šķīvišķi HPP was built in 2001. It is the upper HPP of cascade, underneath there is Dubeņeca HPP, behind it-Galvāni HPP. HPP complex consists of massive ferroconcrete foundation, on that there is turbine chamber erected from metal constructions and generator room with flat-belt drive and above them container-type structure with electric accessories equipment. This and also the other two hydroelectric power stations are managed by SIA Novators. Totally in the route we have covered 37,0 km.
0.6 km behind the Šķīvišķi HPP begins Dubeņeca HPP reservoir and after another 0.74 km we reach HPP dike. Dubeņeca HPP is the second one in this cascade, but the first one who was built in 2000.
0.47 km behind Dubeņeca HPP dike begins the third and the last HPP reservoir. This is Galvāni HPP that was built in a new place in 2001 and is with the least power. If the power of both previous HPPs is 450-500 kW for each, then the power of Galvāni HPP is half as big -250 kW.
In summers there have been cases when a completely small rivulet flows behind the dike of this HPP that can encumber further movement of water tourists. If you’re lucky to arrive at the HPP at midday, there is hope that the sluice shall be opened and the water level shall be sufficient to continue normally the route. Usually opening of sluice is from 1-2 p.m.
Opposite the dike on the right bank you can see Baranovska castle hill that is overgrown with wood, although in twentieth – thirties of the last century the hill wasn’t overgrown and it was agriculturally cultivated. Just as with the two previous castle hills, Ernests Brastiņš was the first person who investigated and described this castle mound.
According to the looks, the castle mound is a solitary small hill with 7-10 m high step sides. It is located in the coomb of other hills and for an ignoramus it is difficult to see and distinguish among other ambient hills. Sides of the hill already naturally have been steep enough so additional fills and other work isn’t done. Since the castle mound was ploughed for ages then the occupation layer is badly preserved. Length of plateau is ca. 50 m, but the width is half as long. Perhaps the castle mound was populated already during the Stone Age. A story goes that golden money is buried in the castle hill and it is possible to dig the money only at Midsummer night. In former time there was no Midsummer night when local people wouldn’t have searched for this buried golden money.
Behind Galvāna HPP dike after short 0.5 km we reach Ambeļi-Aglona road bridge. When going along the road southwards after short kilometre it is possible to get to Ambeļi.
In Ambeļi you can see the small Catholic Church that was built in 1888 and Ambeļi park. Area of the park is 6,2 ha, its arrangement was begun at the end of 18th century, later it was restored according to the project of G. Kūfalts. It is a beautiful landscape park between two hillocks, in the valley there is a pond with Love island. 38 exotic plant species grow in the park.
When returning at Dubna we continue the route. Behind the bridge after 2.7 km we reach the lake Višķi. Totally in the route we have covered 42.5 km.
When arriving at the lake Višķi we finally don’t have to worry about fallen trees and other obstacles.
The lake Višķi is located 99,3 m above sea level. Its area is 3,60 km2. Length – 2,6 km, maximum width 1,9 km, just a narrow road belt separates from the lake Lukna. Still in the fiftieth of the 20th century the lake Višķi was connected with the lake Dodka that now is separated one from another by a marshy constriction. Banks of the lake Višķi are flat or low, in places steep. The coastline is indented by several peninsulas thus forming a convoluted three-inlet reservoir that grows narrow at the north-east end. Višķi castle mound can be visited on the peninsula at the north-east end. Here is also good bathing ground and overnight stay place. Further there is the guest house “Višķezers” at the very north end of the lake where you can comfortably stay overnight and if necessary agree on leaving the car.
Having arrived in the lake we move westward against the closes bank that is the largest peninsula of the lake. Further we continue the way along the peninsula till we see the bridge over Dubna on Višķi-Aglona motorway. This span of Dubna connects the lakes Višķi and Lukna. If you don’t want to continue the route here is a convenient place where to land and end the tour. Tour over the lake is 2 km long. Till the bridge totally we have covered 44.5 km.
When entering the lake Lukna we keep at right and go to the 450 m distant resting-place at the south-east end of the lake. It is not advisable to plan to stay overnight here because at weekends in good weather loud companies usually arrive here. However, it is advisable to stop here and climb onto the bird observation tower. From there you can see wonderful views – the majestic Višķi Catholic Church, the lake Višķi, lakes Boltari and Ostrova at the foot and of course the Lake Lukna with its creeks and ambient hillocks. Here also you can end the planned tour because it is convenient to land here and drive up with the transport is also no problem.
Area of the lake Lukna is bigger that of the lake Višķ and makes 4.09 km2. Maximum length reaches 5.3 km, width in north-west part-1.6 km. Average depth of the lake is 2.4 m, but maximum depth 6.1 m.
Banks of the lake Lukna are flat. East bank is firm, but other banks are miry, overgrown with shrubs. The lake is rich with creeks. North-west part is wider, in the middle there is contraction, East part is wider again, but not as wide as the north-west part. The middle contraction is also the deepest place of the lake. Coastline is 18.5 km long.
Further we continue the route by the lake Lukna westward. The left bank of the lake Lukna is densely populated. Višķi, Višķi technical college and Špoģi are located here. Višķi Catholic Church built from the split boulders looks wonderful from the lake. On the right bank we can notice Daniševska old-believers preaching house and Maskovskaja Orthodox church that are close by one another.
Having gone ca. 4 km by the lake Lukna we arrive at the contraction of Dubna source. After another 1.6 km we arrive at Daugavpils-Rēzekne motorway bridge. Here end the first part of our tour. We have arrived at Špoģi village that is the centre of Višķi parish with parish administrative building, schools and stores. Not far from the bridge you can visit Second World War warrior’s cemetery.
Totally in the route we have covered 50.5 km.
It is advisable to take this route in spring because then the water level is higher and the river is easier to pass. Frequently there are fallen trees in the route that can be overcome by pulling or carrying the boats. This roué is meant for tourists who are not afraid of certain difficulties and inconveniences, however unexpected adventures and adrenaline are guaranteed in this route, as well as satisfaction at the moment when you’ll have made the route. Later for year in other tours you shall remember and tell about the adventures of this tour.
Most convenient it is to begin the route at the recreation centre “Dridži” that is located at the east end of the lake Drīdzs, ca. 2 km from Skaista. But Skaista is located 16 km from Krāslava when going along the motorway Krāslava – Dagda – Rēzekne.
Drīdzs is the deepest lake not only in Latvia, but also in the Baltic States. The average depth is 12,8 m, but according to latest measurements the deepest point reaches 63,1 m. (Mainly the depth of 65,1 m appears in different materials). Physiogeographically the lake Drīdzs and other lakes in the route are located in the hillock Dagda of the Highlands Latgale. It has formed in subglacial bed so the lakebed sometimes looks like large, winding and wide river.
Areal of the lake Drīdzs is 753 ha (with islands 772 ha), length 9,8 km, the widest part is located o the West and reaches 2,4 km. There are nine islands in the lake – the biggest one is the island Bernata (Bernāta) with area of 13,9 ha, the other islands are quite small.
In 1938 the Latvian hydrobiologist Bruno Bērziņš (1909-1985) stated in the middle of the lake Drīdzs the biggest depth of Latvian lakes. In 1939, when making measurements from ice, 1681 depth measurements were made and a detailed depth map was prepared. Water exchange takes places only once in 12,5 years, water brings a bit of nutrients. When compared with information from 1939, the amount of oxygen has decreased significantly in the deepest water sheets, in some creeks at the depth of 8 m it is not at all. It creates flowering caused by cyanobacteria that is disliked by the living beings of the lake.
In 1977 the complex nature restricted area was formed around the lake Drīdzs with the area of 2520 ha. In 1999 the nature restricted area was changed into country park of the lake Drīdzs. Its task is to preserve and protect the landscape of lakes and hillocks characteristic to the south part of the Highlands Latgale.
At the beginning of the route there is really a feeling that we tour along a big river. Having covered ca. 3 km we reach the creek Šaure that is on the right from us. We have to continue the route a bit on left. When going in this direction we shall se the island Bernata (Bernāta). There is the hill Baterija on the right bank of the lake at the end of peninsula opposite the island Bernata (Bernāta). In fact, the hill Baterija is a castle mound. To the hill Baterija we have managed 5,6 km. Here it is convenient to land with boats and go ashore.
Further we move along the reck between the bank and the island Bernata (Bernāta). Behind the reck the lake Drīdzs grows wider. This is the widest part of the lake in our route that north-westward becomes ever narrower. We approach the hill Sauleskalns. The narrow creek before the hill Sauleskalns is called the foot of the lake Drīdzs.
After 9,1 km we have reached the recreation centre of Sauleskalns. The origin of the recreation centre is to be searched already in Soviet times. The hill Sauleskalns itself is a cult place of the ancient Latgallians. The head of hill rises 210 m above sea level (according to other information 211m above sea level), relative height exceeds 50 m. In clear weather here you can see great panorama from the Highland of Latgale on the mirrors of the many lakes and creeks. It is said that 27 lakes can be seen in clear weather. If separately seen creeks of one lake are also counted then there are even more!
After seeing the hill Sauleskalns we board in the boats and go back. We try to keep closer to the left bank because after ca. 2,2 km there shall be a flow connecting the lakes Drīdzs and Ots. When reaching the flow we have managed totally 11,3 km. In fact, this is not just a flow but a channel. The channel was dug in the twentieth of the 20th century and it decreased the level of the lake Drīdzs for 0,5m. When the water level is higher the water from the lake Drīdzs flow to the lake Ots, and there are no problems to go through the channel by boats. More difficult it could be in summers when the water level is lower. Length of channel is ca. 250 m and at the end of the lake Ots it is quite strongly overgrown with reed. Having traversed the channel we arrive in the lake Ots.
Area of the lake Ots (Ats) is 120 ha, together with the four islands – 124 ha. Average depth of the lake is 2,4 m, but maximum depth reaches 7,4 m. Length west-eastward is 1,9 km, but maximum width reaches 1,1 km. the lake has seasonal water supply through the channel from the lake Drīdzs, and also from the amelioration ditches. Eutrophic lake. By pining-up of mud, since the fiftieth the depth of the lake has decreased for ca. 1 m. That is why here is more fish than in the proximal lake Drīdzs.
Having entered the lake Ots we keep to the left. Having bypassed the peninsula we shall see ahead a ca. 100 m wide reck that is formed by two peninsulas both from west and east side. We have to go to this reck. Having reached the reck we have covered 12,3 km in the route.
Having gone through the reck we keep at the left bank and ca. after 700 m we shall arrive in a river that connects the lakes Ots and Ārdavs. Unlike the channel that connects the lakes Ots and Drīdzis the nullah is of natural origin. This nullah also doesn’t cause any difficulties with traversing and after ca. 300 m we reach the lake Ārdavs. We have managed 13,3 km.
The lake Ārdavs (don’t mix with the lake Ārdava in the parish Pelēči of the county Preiļi) is one of the most spectacular lakes in our route. The coastline is very twisty with many creeks and peninsulas. Length of coastline is 18,8 km. It forms a semicircle around the hill Sauleskalns. Area of the lake is 229 ha, with islands 230 ha, length in the semicircle by the axial line is 4 km, but width in the east part reaches 1,2 km. Average depth is 4,6 m, but maximum depth reaches 14,0 m. The deepest points of the lake are in the west (14,0 m) and south-west (12,0 m).
Having entered the lake Ārdavs on the right we see the biggest island of the lake that is located between the peninsula on the east and the bank of the west. After ca. 500 m we have reached the reck separating the peninsula from the island. Peninsula is like a narrow tongue stretching in the lake. Here it is convenient to land and a good place to arrange a halt. When going around the island and along creeks some water tourists have got quite good catches of pikes. To the peninsula we have covered 13,8 km.
Further our route goes straight northwards to the entry of the river Dubna in the lake Ārdavs. If we are so close it would be a sin not to see the ninth biggest lake in Latvia – Sivers, and no to go on the scenic impressive 15 m high castle mound Brāslava. To do this we have to find the entry of the river Dubna. Our direction is straight to the end of the lake ahead. After ca. 1,6 km we have reached a narrow peninsula on the east bank. Having bypassed the peninsula we have actually arrived in the delta of the river Dubna. When going ahead the delta grows narrower and turns into a river. Although we have to go upstream it cases no difficulties and after 900 m we reach the lake Sivers. Totally in the route we have covered 16,3 km.
On the bank we can see a hothouse, but up a living house. Here it is convenient to land and go ashore. Ahead on the bank of the lake there is the castle mound Brāslava. There is no overgrowing on the castle mound so fabulous panoramas can be seen from the top of the castle mound to the lake Sivers and the Highlands of Latgale. The local inhabitants celebrate the Midsummer Day on the castle mound and here is a place for the Ligo bonfire.
Having enjoyed the nice sceneries we go along the river Dubna back to the lake Ārdavs. Arriving again in the lake Ārdavs along the right margin we go westwards to the overgrown lake Ploteņš. Here the opinion of cartographers and geographers differ – is Ploteņš a separate lake or just a creek of the lake Ārdavs? However it may be, in the latest cartography materials Ploteņš appear and we shall regard it as a separate lake, although when entering it we shall see that all around there are only reed and water-plants among that there is a few metres wide free water zone that in 800 m grows into the river Dubna. Having gone another ca. 450 m we arrive at Kombuļi-Auleja road bridge. Totally in the route we have covered 20 km.
Behind the bridge we have to make another 750 m along the river Dubna and then we arrive at the lake Lejs. At the entry of Dubna in the lake there is a nice resting-place that is managed by the owners of 350 m distant guest house “Lejasmalas”. With the owners you can agree on shelter for the night. Here is place for tents or you can stay overnight indoors. On the rooms you should agree in advance.
Lejs or the lake Lejas is located in winding subglacial shallows between the lakes Ārdavs and Cārminis. The lakebed has a wide south part (arriving into the lake from the river Dubna it remains on the left from us) and a wedge-formed bottleneck on the north-west (in this direction we must continue the route). The lake has three depths – 30,7 m in the south part, 34 m opposite the eastern bank, it is the deepest point of the lake, and 15 m at the south-east end. The average depth is 8,2 m. Lejs is the tenth deepest lake in Latvia. Area of the lake is 177 ha, together with the islands 178 ha.
In the place where the widest south part of the lake gets into the narrower north-west part there are two islands that can be went round by the east or west side. We continue the route north-westwards – the lake becomes narrower and narrower till at the end of the reck we arrive at the source of the river Dubna and entry in the lake Cārmins. Here is also a bridge. In the route we have covered 22,4 km.
Cārmins (Cārmans) is the next lake in our route. Its area is 222 ha, together with the only island 224 ha. The length of the lake reaches 5,6 km, but the width 0,6 km. Average depth is 9,3 m, but maximum depth – 30,6 m. Cārmins is also one of the picturesque deep and large lakes in the hillock of Dagda. The lake is of subglacial origin, the shallows bent north-westwards and south-eastwards. The banks are sheer and overgrown so particularly beautiful landscapes can be seen in spring and nice autumn days. The lake has many creeks and recks. The deepest part of the lake is in the north part. Immediately after the only islands of the lake on the left side the river Dubna sluices. In some materials it is said that this is the real source of the river Dubna, but as it frequently happens, opinions about the sources of rivers differ. To protect the beautiful landscapes and frogbit family plants, in 2004 Cārmaņa lake country park “Cārmaņa ezera dabas parks” was established on the banks of the lake Cārmins with the area of 529 ha.
When entering the lake Cārmins we go initially along the left margin westwards. Gradually the route turns northwards. Ahead we can see two islands and behind them there is the mentioned source of the river Dubna. When moving northwards the lake becomes narrower and narrower and having gone for ca. 2,5 km from the mouth of the river Dubna into the lake Cārmins, we reach the narrowest place of the lake. Here the east bank is separated from the west bank by not more than 50 m. totally in the route we have managed ca. 25 km.
Having traversed the reck we go again into broader waters, but here we have to keep north-eastwards and we have to bypass the peninsula at the left bank. Behind the peninsula we have to move north-westwards. This is the widest point of the lake Cārmins. Ahead on the left bank after ca. 1 km we see a peninsula, having bypassed it we keep westwards to the church that can be seen on the bank. It is Raģeļi Catholic Church, next to it there is Raģeļu castle mound. In this point the lake Cārmins is closest to Grāveri-Jaunokra road and here is a good berthing place where it is easy to go ashore. Here we’ll have to carry the boats over the road to the lake Jazinks. We’ll have to carry for about 200 m. There will be some difficulties because the lake Jazinks at this pint is overgrown and a bit marshridden. Totally in the route we have covered ca. 28 km.
At the same time we can see Raģeļi Catholic Church. The first wooden church was built in 1780. After the First World War a turret was put on and a bell was hung up. In 1941 the wooden church burnt down, but a chapel was arranged in the proximal almshouse. The new stone church was consecrated on 30 September 1956.
There is a cemetery. Partially the cemetery is located on the former Raģeļi castle mound.
Ahead we have the last lake that we have to traverse in out route – the lake Jazinks. Its length is 4,2 km, but width 1,7 km. Area of the lake reaches 260 ha. Average depth is 8,1 m, but maximum depth reaches 33 m. Jazinks is the twelfth deepest lake in Latvia. On the south-west part of the lake there is the village Grāveri, sewage from there pollutes waters of the lake, that is why in the sixtieth the lake turned from mezotrophe into eutrophic and the overgrowing is 13%. Particularly it can be felt at the ends of the lake.
Having gone a short kilometre along the lake on the left we can see the village Grāveri. The village is located in a narrow, almost 2 km long area between Aglona – Krāslava motorway and margin of the lake. At the beginning, the first 1,7 km we cover along the narrower part of the lake. Behind the horn that stretches in the lake from the left bank, broader waters of the lake begin. From here we can already see the only island of the lake that is located in the middle of the lake at the widest part thereof. To the island we have to cover ca. 1,5 km.
Behind the island we continue the route just straight to the north-west end of the lake. However, we don’t go to the very end. Not far from the north-west end of lake on the left there is a creek with arranged resting place. Here it is possible to long conveniently. We have reached the finish of our route! Totally we have covered 32,3 km and traversed or been in 8 lakes (including Ploteņš).
However, the tour won’t be perfect if we don’t see one of the most peculiar and mysterious lakes of Latvia – the lake Velnezers (Čertoks, Čortoks, Čertaks). The lake Velnezers is located ca. 250 m southwesterly-westwards from our finish. Not to be mistaken, we can go along a wood road that is by the margin of the lake Jazinks.
The lake Velnezers is a lake of suffosive origin. A crater depression is characteristic for it. Area of the lake is only 1,1 ha, but depth reaches 18,3 m! The water has small amount of salts so there aren’t many water-plants and water animals.
The lake Velnezers is one of the clearest lakes in Latvia that attracts with its peculiar blue-green water colour, big transparency and weird stories that from old times have twined the small lake. Water transparency in the lake is 12 m (according to other information – 8 m). The colour changes – the water can take all colours of the rainbow. This unusual feature can be explained with the fact that the water in the lake is very clear, it has no discharge and it has steep bank descents. If the banks were flat it would be more difficult to notice and appraise the beautiful colour of water.
In 1977 Čortoks lake nature restricted area was formed around the lake Velnezers with area of 55 ha. Several species of rare plants – sand pink, forest psque-flower, Dactylorhiza baltica and sweet butterfly orchid grow at the margins of the lake.
The lake and the restricted area are managed by AS „Latvijas valsts meži” that in cooperation with the University of Daugavpils have made a convenient sightseeing footpath.
At the end a reminder – you cannot swim in the lake in order not to facilitate its overgrowing and loss of the unusual colour!
The described span can be covered not hurrying in two days. More athletic water tourists can manage it in one day.
We begin the route in Kastīre village at the bridge-dike over the river Jāša (Jaša). Don’t mix with Preiļi-Krāslava motorway bridge over the river Jāša (Jaša)!
For ca. 850 m the route leads along the river Jāša (Jaša) upstream that is not very appreciable. In summer this span usually is overgrown with water-plants that cause some inconvenience. After 850 m extension of river source begins and after another 500 m we arrive in the lake Jāšezers (Jašezers).
Jāšezers (Jašezers) or the lake Jāšas (Jašas) is located in the Feimaņi hillock of the Highlands of Latgale, 149 m above sea level. Its area together with the island makes 97,8 ha. Length from north to south – 1,6km, maximum width – 0,8 km. The average depth reaches 2,8 m. Maximum depth is established in south end of the lake and it reaches 4,1 m.
Further we move north-eastwards to the reck that connects the lake Jāšezers with the lake Bicāns. On the right side there is a peninsula with oakery that now is protectable landscape feature. In 2004 Jāšas-Bicāns lake nature restricted area was established where the mentioned peninsula and islands of the lake Bicāns were included.
The total area of nature restricted area “The lake Jāšas and Bicāns” is 311 ha, ca. 82% of the total nature restricted area are occupied by both lakes. Ca. 15% of the nature restricted territory are covered by wood ca. 5% thereof are biologically valuable realms. Slightly-touched by people deciduous and broad-leaved trees wood biotopes with peculiar microclimate characterised by high humidity and other factors ensure the existence of rare, endangered and protectable lichen, moss and plant species. The usual tree lungwort found in the nature restricted area is a rare, air-humidity and light sensitive, high-value wood natural biotope indicator species both in Latvia and in Europe.
After short 2,8 km we have left the reck and arrive in the lake Bicāns.
The lake Bicāns is also located in the Feimaņi hillock of the Highlands of Latgale, 149 m above sea level. Its area is 159,0 ha, together with the islands – 164,2 ha. Length from north-east to south – 3,0 km, maximum width – 1,0 km. The average depth reaches 4,1 m. Maximum depth is established in south end of the lake about the middle between the first island that we see first when the entering the lake and the coast and reaches 18,8 m.
On the right bank of the lake Bicāns there is Geļenova park with tree species of rare occurrence. Structure of estate household buildings has also remained.
Geļenova part is natural site that is under national defence from 1957. It is a scenic park with 23 species of exotic trees and shrubs, the area is 8 ha that includes dry-land and waters.
The park was arranged in the peninsula of the lake Bicāns at the end of ninetieth of 19th century and at the beginning of 20th century, it belonged to estate manager who arranged the park in honour of his daughter Helēna. In former times the park was also so called –Helenova park. Estate building and adjacent buildings were in the territory of the park. The estate was imitation of the Renaissance style. In 1990 the remains of estate buildings were demolished, only the foundations have remained.
Local and induced species of tree plants have formed specific forest stand. In the south part of the park there is a plantation similar to wood park with big groups of larches and red oak-trees. Ca. 0,5km south-eastwards from the park there is an interesting larch stand. Such untypical for Latvia trees as Weymouth pine, European linden, Japanese larch, red oak-tree, white walnut, Caroline poplar, Tatarian maple and other interesting trees can be encountered in the park.
In the fifth kilometre we reach the constriction –the so called Turčinks (in other materials Percovka) that in Soviet maps is marked as a separate lake but now it is regarded as a creek of the lake Bicāns. Having traversed the creek after 300 m we arrive at the culvert of the motorway Jaunaglona-Kategrade-Kastīre that connects the lake Bicāns with the lake Kategrades (Zvejnieku). Here is also the guest house “Šaures” where you can agree on night’s shelter if necessary.
The area of the lake Kategrades reaches 134,4 ha. The length from north to south – 2,7 km, maximum width 0,7 km. The average depth of the lake is 1,6 m, in the deepest place it reaches 3 m. In summers the lake becomes very overgrown. Because the lake is not deep and is overgrown it is reach with fish. Under favourable conditions you can get here good catch of pikes.
At the north end of the lake Kategrades there is Kategrades castle mound. The castle mound is strongly overgrown with wood and has no explicit descents. The hill is 17 m higher than the ambient meadows. A story goes that this hill was brought by French soldiers during the war. This story, of course, has nothing common with the real origination of the hill.
Till Šaures we have managed 5,3 km. In the lake Kategrades we move southward, south-eastward. The south end of the lake in summers is usually strongly overgrown in the result of what floating islands are formed that in windy weather makes jams at definite places. Now the situation is so that the floating islands have filled the creek of the lake at railroad culvert. Therewith the boats must be either carried over the railroad or carried to the culvert and then pulled through the culvert to the lake Zolva. To the railroad we have managed 7,6 km.
The lake Zolva is also geographically located in the Feimaņi hillock of the Highlands of Latgale. If the aforementioned lakes were 149 m above sea level, then the lake Zolva is 149,6 m high above sea level. The area of the lake without islands is 351,2 ha, with islands – 359,2 ha. Length from north-east to south-east reaches 5,5 km, maximum width – 1,6 km. The average depth is 2,8 m, but the maximum depth exceeds 6,5 m. The deepest places are located at the west and north-west bank of the lake.
After 9,2 km we arrive in the wide waters of the lake Zolva. Here on the right banks you can see leisure complex “Zolvas”. Here is a guest house, sauna, campsite houses and sports grounds. In the further route we reach the peninsula that already during Soviet times was covered with buildings as the gardening society “Zolva”. Further we can se a light blue building that is a private rest-house. Stay here is possible only with permission of the owner.
On the north of the lake Zolva there is the Krupeniški castle mount, but in the north-east part Krupeniški old-believers village where only a few houses are populated. Here is a cemetery and old-believers’ preaching house that is in a bad condition! Larch stand that is not typical for Latgale is the most interesting landscape feature here. At this end of the lake if necessary it is possible to find an acceptable campground.
At the south-east end of the lake we reach the nullah Rušonīca. From the start we have managed ca. 12,6 km. Having gone short 1 km along the nullah Rušonīca we have reached Daugavpils-Rēzeke motorway bridge. Next to the parking-place ca. after 20 m in the wood there is an obelisk for members of Latvia freedom fights – 3rd Jelgava infantry regiment that during the Latgale liberation fights in 1920 fought here with the Bolshevists. The monument was unveiled on 16 August 1936; author of the design thereof was the engineer Zilēvičs. After the Second World War the upper part of obelisk was toppled. In summer 1988 it was placed back. The following ranks are cut in the monument: “3rd Jelgava infantry regiment battle scene in the liberty procession through Latgale. 1920.16.I. We brought the sun, liberty and independence to Latvia.”
Behind the bridge the route continues along the nullah Rušonīca. In spring this span doesn’t cause any difficulties but in summer the nullah usually strongly overgrows, floating islands begin to travel and beaver activities don’t stay without consequences also, and of course the nullah overgrows with water-plants. That is why you have to take into consideration that you’ll have to pull the boat for some span. When slushing through slime some leech chance to appear! The impassable span isn’t usually longer than 500 m.
Sooner or later everything comes to an end! We have reached the small lake Seksts (area 16,0 ha without the island, with island 16,1 ha). 14,7 km are covered! When the nullah Rušonīcas discharges into the lake Seksti, ob the right side on the bank of the lake we can see steps. Here the boatmen can land and go onto the castle hill of Rušonīca (Rušenīca). Quite recently here were archaeological excavations, and VAS „Latvijas valsts meži” has put in order the castle mound and its surroundings – they have cut down the spare overgrowing, installed the steps and built a shed. It is worth to walk on the impressive bank that stretches northwards in parallel with the nullah Rušonīca. In the place where the bank ends steps are installed and you can get back to the castle mound by going along a wood road.
The first person who explored and measured the Rušonīca (Rušenīca) castle mound was Ernests Brastiņš on 29 and 30 July 1925. In 1928 the author published his description and measurements in the paper „Latvijas pilskalni: Latgale”.
Having traversed the small lake Seksti at the south-west end we arrive in the river connecting the lakes Seksti and Rušons. We have covered 16 km and arrived in the lake Rušons.
Area of the lake Rušons is 2373,0 ha, together with islands 2407,0 ha. It is the eighth biggest lake in Latvia. Maximum length reaches 13 km, but width – 5,5 km. The average depth is 2,9 m, but the maximum depth reaches 29,9 m and this place is located at the end of the creek Ūbeļu. The lake has complicated configuration and long coastline. The west part makes broader aquatorium, there are 10 conservation islands. In all there are 34 islands in the Rušons. Eastward the Rušons gets narrower and gets to the meandering creek Ūbeļu where there are many scenic creeks and islands. From the main part of Rušons it is separated by a big wooded peninsula so this long creek sometimes is called also the lake Ūbeļu. In this creek the tourists can spend several romantic hours.
When returning to our route – in front we see two islands, the smallest island has no name, but the biggest island is Ozolu island. Behind them you can notice Bērzu island that is famous for impressive colony of gannets (sea ravens). There are circa 30 occupied nests at the south end of the island. Here it is possible to establish a camp but it must be done at the north end of the island. However you have to take into consideration that there birds are not quiet and with dawn begin to rustle actively.
From the Bērzu island you can see clearly Lielā (Upursala) island and the proximal Priežu island. It will be more convenient to establish the shelter for the night on the Lielā (Upursalas) island. On this island you must definitely see Rušona Upurakmens [sacrifice stone]. On the central part of Lielā (Upursala) island there is hill front on the highest part of what there is a stone that is still called the sacrifice stone. A story goes that once there have been writings carved on the stone and lambs were taken there for sacrifice. Nowadays no carvings can be seen on the stone. The Upurakmens is 1,2 m high, its circuit at the ground is 5,5 m. The stone is coarse-grained, its surface is crumbled. It seems that it had been artificially smoothened. Earlier a fire was burnt at the very stone and on it. Crumblings, splinters torn of it found around the Upurakmens testify thereof. Archaeological excavations were made at the Upurakmens. No antiquities were found in excavation by that the usage period of the island Lielā (Upursalas) could be determined. So far it can only be assumed that the sacrifice stone as a place for worshipping could have been used by the inhabitants of settlements Kristapiņi, Liepu salas and Mazie Mucenieki, and of Kurtošs castle mound, and also of other nearby ancient settlements.
When planning shelter for the night you have to take into consideration you speed of movement. You have to consider that when traversing the lake Zolva and entering the nullah Rušonīca it shall be troublesome to arrange a camp. So the camp places should be planned either on east end of the lake Zolva or on the islands or ashore when entering Rušons. If you have decided to arrange the camp on any of the islands of Rušons, then you should be careful towards the nature because these islands are nature protection objects. Don’t leave garbage here, but try to take it ashore! For real water tourists it goes without saying and it must not be reminded once more! It is differently with some local visitor of islands!
On the next day we move along the shore of the island Priežu and behind it we turn southwards to Jaunaglona. The white church of Rušona is left behind on the west coast. When moving to Jaunaglona the tower is a good reference-point that can be well seen. We enter Jaunaglona creek and by channel we go to the dike. We have managed 22 km. Here we’ll have to carry the boats. They can be carried to the next street and only then released in water because the culvert under this street is narrow and during high water level difficult to pass. In summer it is passable. Over the dike where we have stopped goes a street. When going along the street westwards after 100 m we arrive at Kameņeca Great stone.
The former name of Jaunaglona was Kameņeca that is derived from Polish. It is directly connected with Kameņeca Great stone whose length is 3,2 m, width 2,7 m, height 1,5 m. On one side plane of the stone in a rectangle form framing a text is carved in Polish that nowadays is hardly to be read. In Latvian it sounds like this:
“With permission of the holiness (meant Pope) Clemens XIII in 1766. And on this Peter rock a chapel was built by the example of Roman Catholic faith of our land and that stone gave the name Kameņeca („Kamieniec”)”.
This inscription indicates that on the stone or near it there has been a catholic chapel – preaching house. Stories written down in the beginning of our century testify that really there has been a church on the stone where several tens of people could go in. Perhaps the chapel wasn’t built exactly on the stone and it was inside the chapel. In other stories it is said that the lightning has split the stone in two parts and the chapel crashed. However, the Kameņeca Great stone has also the characteristics of cult stone – a regular cylindrical cavity is carved in the highest place of it (diameter 30 cm, depth 30 cm). It is supposed that originally the stone really had been a component of pagan sanctuary. By introducing the Christianity that became active in Latgale in the 17th century due to Jesuit activities a chapel was established in the place of the old sanctuary.
After 500 m we reach Jaunaglona-Rēzekne/Daugavpils motorway bridge behind that we go into a small lake with the name Katleņš (Katliņš). When we have covered 23,2 km, we enter the lake Skudrinka (area 9,4 ha). North part of the lake is continued by Tartaks where we continue the route to Aglona – Preiļi motorway bridge. This span is easy passable both in summer and spring and doesn’t cause any difficulties.
When arriving at the abovementioned bridge we have covered 24,8 km from the beginning of the route. Here is also the entry of Tartaks into the lake Cirišs.
The lake Cirišs is the second biggest lake in our route. Its area without the island is 629,3 ha, but with the islands 663.34 ha. Upursala (18,24 ha) and Joksti (Ošu) island – 15,80 ha, two biggest islands of the district Preiļi are located in the lake Cirišs. Length of the lake from north-west to south-east is 5 km, but width 2,5 km, the average depth 5 m, but the maximum depth 10,5 m. The lake Cirišs and the lake Ruskuļi and surroundings in area of 1297 ha are included in the country park “Cirīšu ezers”. Islands of the lake Cirišs are included in the restricted area of the park and the provisions of nature protection state that in the restricted area it is forbidden to arrange tourist halts where the tourists stay for more than three days and nights. So water tourists can surely stay one night on any of the islands.
Along the Jaunmuiža creek we bypass the peninsula Jaunmuiža (Ksaverina) at the end of that there is a campsite and we go to the island Upursala. In Upursala VAS “Latvijas valsts meži” has arranged a footpath that is worth walking and getting acquainted. Going along the footpath we can arrive at the hill Upurkalns of the island Upursala. Previously it was regarded that the hill Upurkalns of the island Upursala is a cult place not modified by people. In 1977 the archaeologist J.Urtāns surveyed Upursala and archaeological excavations were made in Upurkalns and at its foot under his supervision. It was found out that Upurkalns has features characteristic to a castle mound. Although the hill and island have significant name, archaeological excavations didn’t reveal nothing that could be surly connected with the traditions of ancient cult. According to the found antiquities the usage of the hill Upurkalns of the island Upursala is to be dated with I millenary B.C- the beginning of I millenary A.C., but the settlement at the foot of the hill had formed around the middle of I millenary.
From Aglona to the island Upursala you can get by a motorized floater by notifying it in advance. With the boats you can stop at the east of the island or at the side of Aglona, at the same place where the floater lands. The boats can be conveniently left by the established plank-way. Here you can arrange also a good halt, but you have to take into consideration that for a big group it will be a bit for small! To the island Upursala we have managed 28,4 km.
With visiting the island Upursala we could end the two-days long route and go over the reck to the bathing ground of Aglona where it is easy to land and drive up with transport.
If you want to fully enjoy the beautiful landscape that greets from the lake Cirišs to the basilica of Aglona, then it is advisable to continue the route along the lake and end the tour at the south-east end of the lake not far from the parking-place of basilica of Aglona. In this case the total managed length of route shall be ca. 30 km.
If it is planned to continue the route, then bypassing the island Upursala we go further in the direction of the island Joksti (Ošu). Behind the island Joksti (Ošu) in a creek on the left there is fitted place for tents that is located on private owner’s land and staying overnight must be agreed with the owner. Tartaks or the nullah Salinieki sluices in the creek on the right by that you can get in Ciriša HPP reservoir. Source of Tartaks from the lake Cirišs is 30,5 km from the beginning of the route. Covering ca. 2 km along the Tartaks we have reached the Aglona-Višķi motorway bridge and after another 0,7 km we reach the entry of the nullah in Ciriši HPP reservoir creek.
Ciriši HPP reservoir is one of the biggest dammed lakes of artificial origin in Latgale. This dammed lake is the sixth biggest among lakes of natural origin in the former district Preiļi. Ciriša HPP reservoir was created in 1960 by building a hydroelectric power station on Tartaks and by raising water level for 10-12 m. Depending of work of dikes the area of reservoir can vary from 210-260 ha. Before formation of the reservoir here were a chain of small lakes that were mutually connected by the river Cirišs. These lakes had settled in the subglacial furrow so the maximum depths were big and reached even 34,5 m. In the chain of these lakes there were lakes Dziļūksna, Jagodki, Pirtspakurs, Tūļeišs, Raudiņi and the mill lake Sekļi. Length of the reservoir is 7,3 km, width reaches 2,6 km.
Depending on speed of movement the described span can be managed in two days. The fastest water tourists have got also to the lake Pakalns (Pakaļņu) and have arranged the halt on the banks of this lake. With further description of the route you can get acquainted in description “Along Tartaks” and continue the route.