Autocamping Kněhyně

It’s that season again… Czech camping time and not before time! It’s arrived a little late this year due to the vagaries of the global weather system but no matter – join us as we load the van, grab the family and head off to our favourite campsite in the Beskid mountains… Autocamping Kněhyně.

Czech Camping. Our Lass cooking an afternoon meal in the finest traditions of Czech camping.

Our Lass cooking an afternoon meal in the finest traditions of Czech camping.

Now, no-one could accuse this campsite of being posh but if you want luxury accommodation, there’s plenty of it in the nearby towns and villages. However, the staff are friendly and the it has everything you need from a campsite, like somewhere to pitch a tent or park your van, fire pits for that authentic smoky taste in your food, toilets and showers and a bar.

Shady trees and modest chalets for the less adventurous. Czech camping.

Shady trees and modest chalets for the less adventurous.

Most Czech campsites have a choice of chalets for those without tents or caravans. Czech camping

Most Czech campsites have a choice of chalets for those without tents or caravans.

There is plenty of space for tents, caravans and camper vans around the chalets. Czech camping.

There is plenty of space for tents, caravans and camper vans around the chalets.

And a clean, cold river which you can use as a fridge or just lie in if it gets too hot! Czech camping.

And a clean, cold river which you can use as a fridge or just lie in if it gets too hot!

Hard and soft surfaces for caravans and motor-homes, along with electrical hook-ups. Czech camping.

Hard and soft surfaces for caravans and motor-homes, along with electrical hook-ups.

There's a play-area for children... Czech camping

There’s a play-area for children…

... and one for adults as well, close enough for the children to supervise you! Czech camping

… and one for adults as well, close enough for the children to supervise you!

500 metres above sea level, 1 km from the nearest restaurant and 7 km from the top of the mountain, which also has restaurants. Czech camping.

500 metres above sea level, 1 km from the nearest restaurant and 7 km from the top of the mountain, which also has restaurants.

The site is in a good location for walks and seeing the local sights, including the lovely architecture and ridge walk from Pustevny to Radhošt. There are some nice restaurants in the neighbourhood as well if you get tired of smoky sausages and barbecues.

Our Lass proudly eating chocolate next to the disorganised mess that is the Van Rouge! Czech camping.

Our Lass proudly eating chocolate next to the disorganised mess that is the Van Rouge!

As this was our first camping trip since last summer, all our gear was spread liberally among cellars and cupboards and took a bit of sorting out. Like truly organised people, we slung it all in the Van Rouge and decided to sort it out when we got there.

Why bother sorting it out in a city street at home when you can do it in the beauty of the Beskids with a cooling drink to hand? Czech camping.

Why bother sorting it out in a city street at home when you can do it in the beauty of the Beskids with a cooling drink to hand?

Another thing which needed sorting out was a fridge. I’ve tried various methods before, some more successful than others. This weekend I plumped for the evaporation of water in sunshine as a cooling medium, using a wet towel over the top of an Aylesbury Vale District Council recycling box.  How I came by this box is a bit of a mystery, seeing as I’ve never lived in Aylesbury Vale but all attempts to get rid of it have failed over the years so I have adopted it.

One wet towel, one stick and one Aylesbury Vale District Council recycling container equals... Czech camping

One wet towel, one stick and one Aylesbury Vale District Council recycling container equals…

... a makeshift fridge, powered by the laws of physics. Other district council recycling containers are available. Czech camping.

… a makeshift fridge, powered by the laws of physics. Other district council recycling containers are available.

As it turned out, this method wasn’t too bad. Next time I’ll try using strips of cloth to let the breeze circulate a bit more and maybe raise it up off the ground a bit. If anyone has any experience of improvised refrigeration, I’d be interested to hear about it – there’s a comments form at the bottom of this post.

Dinner cooking on the fire, coffee brewed with my venerable Trangia. Our Kid paying no attention whatsoever to this valuable lesson in camp craft.Czech camping.

Dinner cooking on the fire, coffee brewed with my venerable Trangia. Our Kid paying no attention whatsoever to this valuable lesson in camp craft.

Yep. that's hot! Czech camping

Yep. that’s hot! Note Our Dog deliberately ‘not scrounging’ in the hope that we’ll share it with her.

Once the van was sorted out, we got down to some proper camping, i.e. lounging about in the sun doing as little as possible. Our Kid took care of Running Around Like A Lunatic, ably assisted by Our Dog. Somehow, we managed to cook lunch and an early afternoon meal with no casualties and made an awning for the van with a tarpaulin, thin saplings and bungees, all held together with a few yards of hairy string. An awning is the only major piece missing from our gear and something I haven’t managed to sort out with any success so far. Everything I’ve tried has sooner or later been destroyed by the wind.

Two happy campers at the end of a long day in the fresh mountain air. I'm not quite sure who is guarding who here! Czech camping.

Two happy campers at the end of a long day in the fresh mountain air. I’m not quite sure who is guarding who here!

Around dusk, with no warning, Our Kid stopped running round like a lunatic. It was as if his batteries had run out. He just sat down for a rest and fell asleep. I love this fresh mountain air!

Our Dog wasn’t far behind – she jumped in the van, curled up next to Our Kid and that was that, peace at last! Our Lass and I sat up with the remains of the fire, watching a massive thunderstorm ponderously bypass our valley. It literally built up on all sides, towering way up into the sky, blasting giant flashes of lightning which lit the place up like daylight and left us completely alone. A beautiful sight indeed and a good time to go to bed, we thought.

For myself, I fell into a deep and satisfying sleep. Not so Our Lass. She was kept awake by the wind banging a corner of the tarp on the roof of the van, so she woke me up to take it all down. Once again, the wind had thwarted my awning ambitions!

The nearby village of Protřední Bečva, where you can find shops and restaurants. Czech camping

The nearby village of Protřední Bečva, where you can find shops and restaurants.

Sadly, this was only a short trip because we had a family gathering to attend back home. However, most of the camping kit has now been found, cleaned up and stored in the van ready to go next time so hopefully, we can share a few more campsites with you soon!

I’ll leave you with a few more pictures to give you a taste of the area. It tastes pretty good to us, why not come and try a slice?

A quiet little village built right up to the edge of the hills. Czech camping.

A quiet little village built right up to the edge of the hills.

If you feel like a little luxury, it's only a half-hour walk to the village and a selection of pubs and restaurants. Czech camping.

If you feel like a little luxury, it’s only a half-hour walk to the village and a selection of pubs and restaurants.

If the supermarket's closed, this general grocery shop has almost everything you could need to survive the weekend. Including some very nice cider! Czech camping.

If the supermarket’s closed, this general grocery shop has almost everything you could need to survive the weekend. Including some very nice cider!

About 4 km from the campsite, you can find this excellent hotel and restaurant, the Hotel Valaška. Czech camping.

About 4 km from the campsite, you can find this excellent hotel and restaurant, the Hotel Valaška.

Hotel Bauer, a 3-star hotel and restaurant in the nearby town of Bílá. Czech camping.

Hotel Bauer, a 3-star hotel and restaurant in the nearby town of Bílá.

Built in the traditional Wallachian style and recently renovated to a very high standard. Czech camping.

Built in the traditional Wallachian style and recently renovated to a very high standard.

Traditional Wallachian spruce shingles and timbers. Czech camping

Traditional Wallachian spruce shingles and timbers.

Summer Grill, with trout, mackerel, steaks, smoked sausages and a grubby chef smoking a cigar! Czech camping.

Summer Grill, with trout, mackerel, steaks, smoked sausages and a grubby chef smoking a cigar!

The local Tourist Information Office is based here, as well as a great playground for the kids. Czech camping.

The local Tourist Information Office is based here, as well as a great playground for the kids.

A better view of the kids' playground. Czech camping.

A better view of the kids’ playground.

The Mountain Rescue Centre (left half of the building), conveniently located next to the pub (right half of the building). Czech camping.

The Mountain Rescue Centre (left half of the building), conveniently located next to the pub (right half of the building).

 

 

 

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