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Ukraine - anyone travelled the waterways there?

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I recently spent a week in northern Ukraine, a beautiful area of endless forests, marshes and rivers (with background radiation lower than in London....but sure there will be radiation comments). While there I saw the really substantial rivers off the Dnieper river...in particular the Desna at Chernihiv and the Snov at Sedniv. At Chernihiv is a substantial but disused river port and I understand that all these rivers are navigable for many hundreds of miles further into Belarus and Russia. So has anyone done this?

 

There are hundreds (possibly thousands) of pleasure boats around Kiev on the Dniepro and I know that there used to be a hydrofoil service in the 1970s and 1980s up the Pripyat River (with I believe at least one hydrofoil forever stranded at Chernobyl town). I also took a trip up to the Kiev dam at Vyshorod, including through the lock there into the Kiev Reservoir but was surprised at how few cargo ships there were: just dredgers, sand barges and plenty of trip boats. 

 

I just wonder if anyone has explored this region by boat before?

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Pictures please! 

 

No, and I'm not that familiar with them although about ten years ago I was approached to look at a marina proposal near Kiev - I think the developer went with someone else who was less risk averse! 

 

I'm gonna have to get the map out now....

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2 minutes ago, magpie patrick said:

Pictures please! 

 

No, and I'm not that familiar with them although about ten years ago I was approached to look at a marina proposal near Kiev - I think the developer went with someone else who was less risk averse! 

 

I'm gonna have to get the map out now....

I'll try to get some pictures up.

 

There are a lot of marinas around Kiev, and a lot of nice looking boats. Didn't see any up at Chernihiv though.

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I would like to visit the Ukraine as my father was born there (when it was Poland) but I've always been put off by the idea that my hubcaps would be stolen.  Is it still like that or is it now more civilised?

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On 07/07/2019 at 16:23, StephenA said:

I was going to suggest looking at http://european-waterways.eu  but it looks like they need to upgrade their server

Thanks for this. There is some information there and it confirmed what I suspected...that travel on the Dniepr and Desna is possible but "very demanding". A depth sounder is recommended. One intriguing statement was that boat tours have started again up the Pripyat River - surprising given the known high radiation levels in the silt in Lake Kiev. 

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On 07/07/2019 at 11:11, magpie patrick said:

 

 

No, and I'm not that familiar with them although about ten years ago I was approached to look at a marina proposal near Kiev - I think the developer went with someone else who was less risk averse! 

 

....

You chickened out of Kiev, then?

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There have been proposals for canals in the area now called Ukraine for many years, with the earliest probably being those suggested by an Austrian engineer/geographer for a system to link the then recently expanded borders of the Hapsburg Empire with the hereditary lands in what is now Austria. A Baltic-Black Sea Canal was also propsed at regular intervals, and at least two such links were built in today's Belarus - The Oginski Canal and the Berezina Canal, both being developed by the Polish authorities, with the Augustow Canal also being built, to some extent, for similar reasons.

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4 hours ago, Athy said:

You chickened out of Kiev, then?

Very good!

 

It was about the time that Victor Yuschenko was president, and the general advice was to avoid the soup...

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I still haven't had time to sort out photos but have been GoogleMapsExploring (cheaper than Ryanair) rivers in the area.

 

It is fascinating tracing rivers like the Seym and the Desna deep into Russia. It seems these rivers had plenty of navigational features long ago but it is very difficult to trace them from Google Maps now and I don't read Russian or Ukrainian so checking some of the links found on Google are not possible.

 

It amazes me how little these rivers are used for navigation currently or at least up until the 1990s as they seem wide, slow and presumably deep. There is evidence of short-distance navigation on both rivers, even now, but it looks like mainly either dredging (presumably for flood control) or moving gravel or sand to local industrial facilities. There are very, very few boats - along most of the length of the rivers not even (seemingly) small boats for fishing nor ferries across. The Desna is now blocked upstream at the dam that holds water for the Smolensk power station and the Seym is currently blocked by a pontoon bridge not far from its mouth.

 

Looking the other way, the Pripyat is not passable between Lake Kiev and the western edge of the Chernobyl exclusion zone somewhere around Narowla, but upstream there is plenty of river activity and even canal branches to reach large industrial complexes. At the Belarus city of Pinsk, the Pripyat is intersected by the Pina River as an extension of the Dniepr-Bug Canal (map attached). This takes you through to Brest along the Mukhavets River but this river has been subsequently dammed in the centre of Brest itself. It's odd because there is commercial traffic immediately upstream and downstream of the blockage. From Brest there's the Bug and then other waterways right across Europe.

 

While short parts of the Pripyat River are industrial, most of all three rivers are spectacularly rural and isolated. It would make an amazing adventure.

 

I suspect that all this will interest precisely no-one in this forum though. ?

 

 

2880px-Vodnye_kanaly_dneprobug.jpg

  • Greenie 1

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While it's true that most CWDF members are interested principally in the U.K.'s waterways, quite a few of us have sampled continental ones, and several keep their boats over there. I think that we have a t least a couple of members whose boats are in eastern Europe.

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You can buy a map showing all the navigable waterways in Europe at https://inlandwaterwaysinternational.org/product/european-waterways-map-directory/

 

Navigation in the Russian area was quite basic, and this photo shows the remains of a wooden lock on the Onega River in northern Russia. There were schemes for navigation on several rivers in the 1870s, and this one was never completed. Those further west, such as the Bug, were originally undertaken by the Polish government, others being the Oginski, Berezinski and Augustowski.

P6148660.jpg

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2 hours ago, stort_mark said:

 

 

I suspect that all this will interest precisely no-one in this forum though. ?

 

 

2880px-Vodnye_kanaly_dneprobug.jpg

Wrong!!!!

 

A small minority maybe, but greater than zero! Just haven't much to contribute in return (yet...)

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38 minutes ago, Pluto said:

You can buy a map showing all the navigable waterways in Europe at https://inlandwaterwaysinternational.org/product/european-waterways-map-directory/

 

Navigation in the Russian area was quite basic, and this photo shows the remains of a wooden lock on the Onega River in northern Russia. There were schemes for navigation on several rivers in the 1870s, and this one was never completed. Those further west, such as the Bug, were originally undertaken by the Polish government, others being the Oginski, Berezinski and Augustowski.

 

I didn't know about the map. I'll order it. I will be interesting to see if the map shows rivers and canals formerly navigable.

 

The photo is interesting. Is it a 'proper' lock or a flash lock like they used to have on the Thames? There's the remains of one on Bottisham Lode, as well.

 

I keep thinking about how one would go about a trip from..say...Brest to Smolensk.....Pripyat, Dniepr, Desna. I suspect it would not be safe to take a big steel boat but perhaps something more lightweight, fitted with echo-sounders. It is clear that very few places have even rudimentary landing stages but there seem to be a lot of beaches. Would cost a fortune.

 

 

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It's most unlikely that I'll ever end up going boating in the Ukraine or its neighbouring countries, but it is interesting to read about. It does sound as if these waterways may have potential both for cargo carrying and tourism, and their governments may do well to look into the possibilities. Ukraine have recently elected a new president, but he may have bigger issues in his in tray such as the ongoing trouble with Russia, itself no doubt an obstacle to the opening up of some of the waterways mentioned.

Given that the regime in Belarus has a very dodgy reputation, it's a country I would think twice before visiting.

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3 hours ago, stort_mark said:

The photo is interesting. Is it a 'proper' lock or a flash lock like they used to have on the Thames? There's the remains of one on Bottisham Lode, as well.

It would have been a conventional wooden-sided lock - we found a second one, but nowhere near as complete. Wood was used extensively in northern Russia as things need to be completed in three or four months, before winter sets in with temperatures well into the minus area. Unless you had a very quick drying cement, building anything lasting would have been virtually impossible. Navigation would also have depended upon high water levels. We were also looking at water mill sites, which were situated at the end of a shallow weir. They would have caused problems for navigation at low water level. I have come across several flash locks, mainly in France and Germany. This is one on the Alster Navigation, close to the centre of Hamburg.

1996 Alster 153.jpg

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This 1896 map shows two of the waterway links from the Baltic to the Black Sea. The Berezina Canal is not shown, though the river is. A German reporter did travel the whole distance from Riga by inflatable. His book, Unternehmen Wiking by Bodo Müller was published in 1995.

1896 ZfBinnen 040.jpg

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