82 – Fialka’s Trail

Fialka’s Trail is a short, pleasant varied trail in Roblín, close to Prague but first of all, who is Fialka?

Fialka is a female Weimaraner. She is a powerful and energetic hunting dog and when one has seen her emerge from the forest, especially on a misty morning, her stealthy movements, along with her sleek, silver coat leave one in no doubt as to why the breed is nicknamed the “Silver Ghost”. Like most Weimaraners, Fialka is naturally affectionate with people and will fully expect that friendliness to be mutual, even when she is stealing your picnic. You see, food means everything to Fialka! Alas, this trait was to be her downfall. To the amateur on-looker, Fialka’s recall skills would naively have been praised as fairly good. However, when her dedicated owners signed her up for training with a professional, he chastised  her for being a “naughty girl” who only responded to the recall whistle once the more attractive options had been exhausted. He preyed mercilessly on her craving for food and used it to transform her into an obedient dog who drops a scent, no matter how tantalizing, and turns on heel to charge back to her owner; skidding to a halt before a blue bag, renowned for dispensing the most exquisite treats. In order to achieve this metamorphosis though, according to the trainer, and to borrow an expression from my Glaswegian grandpa, Fialka had to “learn the hard way.” First, her feeding routine had to be broken: Instead of receiving her meal at the same time, on the dot, as she had since she was a puppy, she was to be summoned at home, by the whistle, at an unexpected hour and receive her daily ration all at once. Once this conditioning had been established, her owners had to take the fiendish plan to the next level: The daily ration was taken along on walkies. When the whistle was blown, Fialka had to come at once and would be awarded with her meal of the day. No Fialka, no meal! And perhaps more surprisingly, following a no-show, there was to be no second chance! As simple and innocent as that… Needless to say, distracted – one might legitimately say, deafened – by intoxicating and promising smells outside, Fialka missed a few meals. To her utter disbelief, her usually indulging owners remained resolute. Unbelievable! Fialka lost a few kilos. Nevertheless, thoroughly unconvinced by the long-term benefits of intermittent fasting, it wasn’t long before the penny dropped and her innate intelligence and empty stomach had her responding instantly and consistently to the whistle. At last Fialka could be congratulated for being the “good girl” that we all know and love, and be spoiled and pampered once more by her owners. 

The American Kennel Club in their description of the Weimaraner, quite comically specify that these dogs love to be around their owners at all times and yearn to be “full-fledged family members”. Well Fialka has certainly been successful at achieving this status. Not only does she have her own toy-boxes, shelves and beds in the family living room, she has her own dressing room too, where her leashes and jackets hang like garments in a lady’s wardrobe. 

Fialka’s trail is an elegant circuit with forest, open fields for releasing energy, a couple of well-appointed benches for enjoying the view with a snack, and even a picnic table and sausage-grilling spot; both requisites for obtaining Fialka’s stamp of approval. 

Difficulty: easy Distance: 5.7 Km Starting point: Vonoklaská, Roblín

From the starting point, go left through the forest on a wide, flat path. Then turn right and after a long, gently positive incline, you will emerge from the forest onto a wide track bearing blue trail markers. Go left and shortly thereafter, you will emerge from the forest with a pasture on your right and a beautiful view of Vonoklasy ahead. (see photos above) In the summer period you will find Highland cattle grazing in the pasture but all through the winter it is generally unused and not fenced. Descend to the bottom of the pasture and turn right to follow the fencing. You will descend on a narrow, grassy path, bordered on both sides by wild teasel (see photos above). Fuller’s Teasel is one of my favourite wild plants and looks wonderful in a huge bouquet of wild flowers. Teasel is a biennial which means that it completes its life cycle in two years. Around the month of February, you will find its jagged lush green leaves starting to sprawl on the surface then the stock will climb to about 2m high and flower, then go to seed the following year. The roots and leaves have many medicinal properties when harvested at the right time (Jan, Feb). As you can see from the photos above, a field of teasel heads, glistening in rays of sunshine is a beautiful sight; however a long-haired dog will look a lot less glamourous after running through the field. When you reach the bottom, enter the forest on the narrow path beside the hunter’s mirador and this little path will bring you out onto a vast grassy prairie. Cross the prairie heading for the benches where you can spend some time chilling and admiring the view. Then walk along the ridge to the picnic bench and turn down to the left until you reach the water pump (which is functional should your dog need a drink). Facing the water pump, go right to descend an alley, earring yellow trail markers. At the bottom of the alley, go sharp left following blue trail markers and follow the path all the way back to the starting point.

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