Congratulations! You’ve reached the description page of trail run’s “Stirnu buks” sixth (!!!) seasons first stage.
Start/Finish: Carnikava park. GoogleMap here!
Competition programme: HERE!
Detailed distance maps: HERE!
Why will the season open in Carnikava? Because this is a truly beautiful place near the sea where trail runners will be delighted to see the pine surrounded seashore, forest lakes and estuary of the sea of Latvia’s most magnificent river – Gauja. People of Carnikava are proud of their lamprey fishing traditions that have lasted for centuries thanks to the local masters.
Carnikava county is located by Vidzeme shore of Riga sea bay and lasts from Kalngale up to Lilaste. Nature park "Piejūra" takes up one fifth of county’s territory and it stretches out 19 km next to the Riga sea bay. The park is rich with seashores, dunes, forests and lakes.
River Gauja is considered the most beautiful in Latvia and its groove is the only estuary of the sea that has not been transformed by any construction work. It’s a truly special experience to go there and see the meeting of two powerful forces – the river and the sea. Notably one of the most significant bird migration routes goes through the Piejūra nature park.
But the centre of the race itself will be in Carnikava that is an ancient fishermen parish and has become famous all over Latvia as a place where people have gone lamprey fishing for hundreds of years. As the time has passed words "lamprey" and "Carnikava" have become nearly synonymous.
Pre-war press called Carnikava the "kingdom of lampreys" and not in vain – lampreys have always been an important source of income for locals, as well as a symbol of the region but being a lamprey fisherman has been a thing of honour. In 2015 Carnikava lampreys were added to the EU's Protected Designations of Origin list, which shows that local lampreys are unique not only in Latvia but in all of Europe as well.
Organization of trail runs first stage is also supported by locals – thank you to Carnikava county and especially Head of Sport strategy department Edvīns Krūms!
See you in Seashore forests!!!
Carnikava is an ancient fishermen village that has been known as a popular lamprey fishing spot amongst Latvians for centuries. Through times words “lamprey” and “Carnikava” have become almost synonymous. Locals used to call these creatures “zutiņš” that could be translated as “little eel” as the word lamprey or “nēģis” was considered more German. Funny enough Latvians have gotten used to calling lampreys fishes when in fact the local “zutiņš” from River Gauja is a more ancient creature – probably even a million years old aquatic animal. Ever since middle ages this peculiar river inhabitant has been believed to be a food for royals that is served only in castles. But in Latvia you don’t have to be a king to enjoy this delicacy. It is tastiest when prepared just as our ancestors did it – by cooking it on scolding hot alder coal.
Establishedin 1962, this seashore nature park is the third oldest nature park in Latvia. It takes up approximately one fifth of Carnikava county’s territory, stretches out from Kalngale up until Lilaste river and includes seashores, dunes and forests as well. The park has become a beloved place for recreation as it is full of stately pine forests, dunes and beaches. The nature park’s territory consists of numerous protected rare species habitats both in water bodies and their shores. For example, in Lake Ummja one could come across water Lobelia (Lobelia dortmanna L.) or a quite special rare species habitat of floating water-nut (Trapa natans L.). Fossil research has shown that floating water nut used to be widespread but now it can be found in only four water bodies in Latvia. Multiple rare bat species have been found in the territory of lake line Garezeri that consist of three separate lakes. One of the most significant bird migration routes in Europe goes right through the territory of seashore’s nature park.
River Gauja used to be a place where sailors could rest from the wavy sea. Of course, it also was and still is a great place for fishermen, but more recently it has become popular amongst water tourists. River Gauja’s groove is the only estuary of the sea that has not been transformed by any construction work.
In 2018 the longest hard-cover promenade to the sea in Latvia was declared open in Carnikava. It was built in special conditions as it is 1800 metres long and goes through nature park “Piejūra”. Canikava promenade’s concrete plates make up the conceptual pattern of Līvu road – it consists of three colours (black, white and red) that make a wave that is a symbol of River Gauja and the seashore. In the dune zone the hard cover is substituted by wooden pathways, however near the path to the sea you can find a 4x4 metre wooden view platform.
When it comes to geology Garezeri is a unique place. The lake line includes the most expressive areal lakes in Latvia which are also the only lake of this kind on Vidzeme beach line. Areal lakes stretch out for 3,5 km and include three narrow (180 – 220 m) lake line that consists of Zieme’lu Garezers, Vidus Garezers and Dienvidu garezers. The longest and deepest of these three is the Vidus Garezes, because it reaches 1,45 km in lengt and 2 m in depth although its deepest point is said to reach up to 4 m.
Proof of Carnikava county’s rich history and cultural heritage can be found in the Regional research centre (7 Jomas street). The centre was established in 2012 and its building was built as a copy of the house “Cēlāji” that used to beong to fisherman and raftsman, stood on the shore of River Gauja’s groove and was built in 1851. There used to be a road going right beside the sea bay and it lead from Riga to Paarnu. The house “Cēlāji” was one of the three most important raft crossing points of River Gauja’s downhill. The inhabitants of this house took people and cargos from one side of the river to the other up until the 19th century.
The longest pedestrian and cyclist bridge that crosses River Gauja and connects Carnikava county’s administrative centre with Gauja parish wasopened on November 18th 2014. the bridge is 220 m long and 4 m wide. This construction is a significant part of the “Euro Velo 13” Iron curtain’s route – it marks a symbolic border between Europe’s East and West.
In total this route goes through 20 countries, is more than 10 000 km long and invites anyone to travel around Baltic seashore. The new bridge is an interesting example of engineering soulutions that has managed to become a beloved place to take walks amongst locals in quite a short time.
This used to be the military training base camp for USSR's air defense forces. In some locations there still can be found pictures engraved in concrete that tell about the life during the time of USSR. From what there used to be only the former check-pont and a couple of guard posts, garages and hangars are left in tact.
When looking at the former military base one can see that several of the buildings were dug into the ground and the whole territory is surrounded by quite largepits and lamparts. Nowadays tourists that visit with a tour guide can go inside some of the lamparts and take a look at the heritage of soviet army, such as rocket hangars and bunkers. You can book an excursion by phone (+37126980327 or +37126460546)
Once the two rivers – Gauja and Daugava – were connected by River Langa but in the 18th century czarina Kathrine II gave an order to begin cutting down forests near the sea in order to make tar. Widespread wildfires were also common for the young forest stands that used to grow in these dunes, so there was a lot of sand that was moving from one place to another thanks to the wind. This resulted in creation of the moving or "traveling" dunes that were able to swallow up gardens, forests, houses and even partly burried the aforementioned River Langa. In 200 years of dunnes changing their positions a large formation – the Parabolic dune was created.
Wooden pedestrian path in Garciems was build as a part of the project "Hiking route along the Baltic Sea coastline in Latvia and Estonia". The path starts on Aizvēju street, end by the sea and is approximately 650 m long. The height of the patch changes all the time as it was built by following the natural salient of the territory.