14 – ZaK’s Monster Challenge

 Hikers say that if you want to see the different landscapes of Scotland in one day, go for a huge treck on the Isle of Arran for it is « a miniature Scotland », complete with loch, glen, bay, mountain, castle ruins and even distillery ; I say, if you want to see what the Czech Republic has to offer in terms of scenery, do this monster treck, for along the way, you will see an old water mill, aristocratic settlement, rolling hills, remote lake, canyons and even a castle !E2DC4A5B-FC19-420A-A325-4A35C03A2A73

This is my most beautiful and refreshing hike, moreover, it is highly accessible on public transport from Prague. And, the “challenge” ? Apart from the distance that is, along the way, you will see a rather unexpected link with Scotland. If you find it, take a photograph and post your photograph in the comments zone 😉 “The game is afoot !” 

Access : From the metro station Luka (yellow B line), cross the tunnel and go down the stairs to your right. Take bus 246 to Maškův Mlýn (15 mins) and follow the red trail markers along the road to the pond where you must turn left. By car : Drive to Maškův mlýn and park beside the pond (space for one vehicule). You will need to recover your car after the walk using public transport.

Alternatively, to add three beautiful kilometers to your walk, follow the access and detailed itinerary instructions of the “Three Mills Walk” until Kalinův Mlýn. This is what we usually do.

Difficulty : difficult (only in distance)   Distance : approx 26Km or 30 if you start from Zmrzlik      Time : approx 6h

Tips : You can buy some food as you pass through the village of Třebotov and Mořina. In Kalinův Mlýn, Roblín, Dolni Roblín and other mentioned places, there are no shops. It is also possible to have a meal in Karlštejn (there are several restaurants), before taking the train back to Prague.  Also remember to take a muzzle for the train ride.

Summarized itineraryKalinův mlýn (red trail) – Třebotov (blue) – Kuliva hora (green) – U Louže (yellow) – (blue) Roblín – Dolni Roblín – Mořina (yellow) – Velké Amerika – Mexiko lom – Mala Amerika – Dub Sední Bratři (red) – Karlštejn (yellow) – train station 

Detailed itinerary – Follow the red trail all the way to Kalinův Mlýn (a water mill constructed prior to WWI, in 1910).

From there, choose the blue trail ; cross the bridge over to your left and follow the river along to the right (blue trail markers).

After passing a wide junction where forest paths meet, you will walk straight on, on a path which cuts through cultivated fields. Here, I must warn you, there is an absence of trail markers until you cross all the fields and arrive at the first houses. Go right at the main road and cross over, towards the pretty wooden bus shelter. At the recycling bins, go left and follow the blue trail through the forest, all the way to Kuliva hora. Here, you must swap to the green trail and follow it past football club and hospital, all the way through the beautiful little town of Třebotov. You will pass a pretty pond, then a manor house, known as tvrz Třebotov (Třebotov fortress).

This settlement was founded in the 10th century and through the ages, has been owned by aristocrats, the wealthy and the Cistercian monks who held it as a fortress, residence or monastery. Today, it is actually possible to sleep there (alas but understandably, not with your dogs) and the rooms are all named after former owners eg. Merklin Stach, owner of Třebotov in the 14th century, the Knight Jan Ledčanský and his wife Dorota, owners in the 17th century and another, after a rich pharmacist from Prague….Keep following green trail markers past the church and just after Pod Vsl you will get back onto a country path.

This is also a very beautiful stretch. The forest is vast and sloping and you will emerge at a charming, calm lake where your dog can have a peaceful swim. On leaving the lake, anticipate a road ahead. Cross the road, still following green trail markers and at U Louže, you will have a wonderful view of the surrounding hills clad in forest. On the left, photo stop ! A mound of rocks holding up the Czech flag….conveniently erected in the middle of nowhere !

Now swap to the yellow trail going right, and then join the blue trail, going right. However, you won’t necessarily know that you have joined the blue trail and you may have to walk down to the bottom of the path (where you will see the blue markers) and then turn back and walk up again in the direction of Roblín.

Go all the way to Roblín, then stay on the blue trail, going left, all the way to Dolni Roblín, then straight on again, all the way to Mořina. Mořina is a good place to take a short break and if you are not vegetarian, I can highly recommend the delicious paštika, pâté de campagne and rohliky sold by the friendly lady at the tiny, almost hidden potřaviny slightly before the pond. And your dog, whom I am sure is not vegetarian, will enjoy being rewarded with a huge sausage, also on sale at this little grocery shop. 😋Walk straight on along the road (pond on your right)  until you arrive at the Mořina signposts and you must go down to the right, following the yellow trail in direction of Velké Amerika. You will cross a railway, and the yellow trail will take you directly to the tiny carpark at Velké Amerika.

This is an absolutely amazing place and the Czech Republic’s answer to the Grand Canyon. Follow the yellow trail round to the left (to the far side of the canyon). There is no need to risk life and limb by passing under the safety cable to get a closer peek at the canyon ; trust me, the best spot to take photos is from a mound of dirt at the far end of the canyon where there is a huge wire fence. My photos are taken from here, where dogs and human are safe.

Things then get a tiny bit tricky because you will need to go back to the yellow markers but you don’t want to miss this second viewpoint over the Mexiko canyon (be careful, there is no fence). From here, we follow an unmarked path along the left side of this canyon but it is tricky to explain so I recommend that you follow the yellow trail which runs along the right hand side of the lóm: take a good look at the map. B28392F8-E365-4C91-842C-A66CF9487514Now you must walk all the way to Mala Amerika (small America) and to do so, you will cross a road at a working limestone quarry and walk round and over a farmers field where there is a distinct lack of yellow trail markers. So at the bin, go left along the field and just keep following the path until eventually you see a yellow marker again. From the very top of these fields, you will catch your first glimpse of two towers of the castle below. But keep going on the yellow trail though until you reach Mala Amerika. After Mala Amerika, your yellow trail will turn down to the left and you must keep following the yellow trail to Dub Sední Bratří. Switch to the red trail at U Dubu and follow the red trail all the way to Karlštejn. You will cross a wooden bridge and up a steep path right to the castle door.

You can go right into the courtyard with your dog on the leash. Then go back down to the gate (archway) and follow the street round and down into the town.  As you walk down the street, castle behind you, look back several times as the best photos are to be had from here.

Should you feel you need a meal in order to survive the 20 minute train journey, this street offers several possibilities At the bottom of the street, do not cross the little bridge but follow the road (yellow trail markers) to the main road. Cross the bridge over the river Beroun and the station is along to your right. Present your Litacka when purchasing your ticket as the last part of your journey from Radotin is accounted for. You must pay for your dog (15 Kc/dog) It is possible to get the train back to Smichov (where you can access the yellow metro line) or to the Prague’s main station Hlavní Nadráží (where you can access the red metro line). In Karlštejn the Prague-bound train leaves from the platform on the far side of the tracks. Do not be nervous about travelling by train with your dogs. I have always found the ticket inspectors kind on České Dráhy trains and you just need to find a seat where your dog will have space to sit or lie beside you, muzzled.  If you arrive close to the station just as a train is due, it is also possible to purchase your ticket on board the train.

Congratulations on completing ZaK’s monster challenge ! I will not say I hope you have enjoyed your walk as I’m pretty confident you have.

Remember to complete the challenge by posting your photo in comments, if you found something related to Scotland during this hike 🤓

 

 

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