Walking the Šárka Valley

Signpost for the circular red route. EL. DR. is an abreviation of 'Elektrická dráha' - 'Electric railway': another name for the tram system. © Ricky Yates

I have blogged previously about the Šárka Valley Nature Reserve, a wonderful steep-sided wooded valley that lies beyond the Baba ridge which in turn, lies immediately behind the Podbaba flats complex where we live. There are a series of waymarked paths which enable this wonderful green oasis to be explored on foot with points every few kilometres, where public transport can be accessed.

Since we moved to Prague, Sybille and I have explored various parts of the valley, following a variety of the paths including walking from the Divorka Šárka tram terminus at the western end of the valley, all the way back to our flat which lies just beyond the eastern end. That walk was along one half of the circular red route and I traversed it once again with my sister Jenny when she visited us last August.

However, on my day off last Monday 9th August, I finally managed to do what I’ve been wanting to do ever since I discovered the joys of the Šárka Valley – I walked the complete circular red route from one end of the valley to the other and then back round again on the other side. According to the signpost that is 20.5 km and if you add in the walk up the hill to reach the route and the walk back down the hill to return to the flat, I reckon it is 22 km in total.

View across the fields to the panelaks of Bohnice © Ricky Yates

I walked the route in an anti-clockwise direction, initially walking along the Baba ridge to its eastern extremity where the signpost in the photograph above is situated. The path then passes through woodland and down to the bottom of the valley at Dolní Šárka – ‘Dolní’ means ‘lower’. Then it climbs back up through the woods on the other side, emerging at the top to the view in this next photograph – a beautiful field of wheat swaying in the breeze but in the distance, the communist era panalaks rising from the suburb of Bohnice.

The red route through the woods. Note the red & white waymark on the tree © Ricky Yates

The route then follows the northern edge of the wooded valley before re-entering woodland, dropping down and through the village of Nebušice and on through the most spectacular part of the valley – Divorka (Wild) Šárka before emerging near the tram terminus of the same name at Dolní Liboc. As I was walking the final part of this section, the heavens decided to open with one of the ‘heavy showers’ the BBC Weather website had promised. It therefore gave me a good excuse to shelter in the McDonald Restaurant that is situated alongside the tram terminus and enjoy a ‘Double Cheeseburger Meal’ whilst waiting for the rain to stop.

The slightly shorter return route is the one I had walked previously twice last year and took me through more attractive woodland before dropping down to the little settlement of Jenerálka. Then the route has one more climb back up to the beginning of the Baba ridge from where I could walk back down the hill to the Chaplaincy flat. Fortunately, there was no more rain and I arrived home in the late afternoon, pleased to know that I can still walk over 20 km without too much difficulty.

My disintegrating walking boots © Ricky Yates

However, when I came to take my walking boots off, I got a shock that I was not expecting. I discovered to my horror that whilst walking, my boots had been slowly disintegrating. As can be seen in the photograph below, the central section of the sole and heel of each boot has turned to rubbery powder leaving a gaping hole on the side of the heel of the left boot. I last wore my boots during the very snowy weather we had here in Prague this past winter and can only postulate that maybe the salt used by the city authorities has affected the rubber.

These are the boots that I wore to walk 1500 km along the Chemin de St Jacques/Camino de Santiago. They are so comfortable I shall be extremely sad if I have to part with them and have the difficult and expensive task of wearing in a new pair of boots. Fortunately, there is still a culture here of trying to repair things rather than just throwing them away. So in the next few days, I shall pay a visit a shoe repair shop I have once previously patronised, in the hope that something can be done and that my much-loved walking boots are not deemed to be beyond repair.

3 comments to Walking the Šárka Valley

  • I love “Wild šárka!” It rained on me too when I hiked there. Did you see the fresh water spring there? I haven’t done all 22 km. more like 9 km. Well done on doing it in a day.

  • Ricky

    Hi Karen – I think the fresh water spring you refer to is where the open-air swimming pool is located. In which case, yes! However, it was when just passing there that the heavy rain started so I moved on hastily to find shelter.

    Any hope of getting your blog going again? Or are you still waiting for internet access at your appartment?

  • Yes Ricky, I hope to get my blog going soon – at least by the end of August. Thanks for asking!