Ińsko Landscape Park – to the springs of Ina river – the Drawa National Park (part 1 of 2)

First Day

I am starting my next trip from Runowo Pomorskie, where the train brings me in. Because there was no place dedicated to bikes, a kind lady in charge of the train advised me to leave the bike in the first entrance to the first truck, and then sit in the first compartment reserved for the train service. Good start! – I thought, getting out at my station. Platforms and waiting room were empty. The sky was clear.


A few years ago I had a change here, for which I waited for several minutes, and then I was intrigued by the railway turntable and the adjoined locomotive shed.


Fewer and fewer objects like this remain in real shape, most often they are ruined or razed to the ground (a sad case of a powerful, several-station locomotive in Słupsk). Another interesting object is also a water tower visible in the background on the first picture. Its top tank is completely robed in steel. There is no wooden elevation, which is common for water towers at smaller railway stations.

I am going to Węgorzyno, where tourist information is available in the City Library.In addition to promotional materials, I received a map of the Łobez county, very helpful during the first day of the expedition. I am going east to Przytoń. On my way, I climbed with the bike on a quite steep hill called Alinowe Wzgórze. It gives an impressive view of the area, with the Runowo – Drawsko Pomorskie railway line, the Przytoń lake and a charming landform.

In Przytoń, I was interested in a historic church, located on a hill in the western part of the village.


Interesting detail – an eagle from polish coat of arms with a crown added after 1989 – when Poland became a democratic country.

Since the temple was normally closed, I asked one of the residents passing by, if someone has the keys in here, because I would like to go inside and see what is hidden there. After a moment of hesitation and hearing my decisive answer YES to the question “Do you really want to come in?“, the lady got the key from her neighbor, and enabled me to cross the threshold of the church. That inhabitant of Przytoń turned out to be a very talkative and nice person, she told me a few details about the old years, renovations carried out here and these planned for the near future. After leaving the church, she offered me to look at the bell tower, which I obviously did not refuse.

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From the outside, the tower has been recently renovated, that’s why it doesn’t look like a historic one at first sight (new, dark boards). However, after entering the building I was immediately struck by the characteristic smell of wooden historic buildings. The construction of the bell tower is practically unchanged, except for literally few beams that probably had to be replaced due to some kind of infection.

The construction beams of the church are unfortunately in a much worse condition, especially those from the bell tower:


Interestingly, next to the tower there were three sepulchral steles, lying horizontally. Probably turned with their faces downwards, because I didn’t notice any, even shallow, inscriptions. This is one of them:


On the western edge of the plot, under the tree, there is a stack of such steles and their fragments. This is certainly the effect of “cleaning up” the area around the church, which caused mixing and cracking of the tombstones, as well as detachment from the dead who remained in the ground. From the side of the presbytery, there is a monument in honor of the inhabitants of Przytoń and the surrounding area, who died in the First World War (this is what I think on the basis of known monuments and what I could read from there), on top of which the parish priest set the statue of the Mother of God. Letters of the main text, placed on the side of the cylindrical stone at the top of the monument are fairly illegible. It’s even harder to read what appears on the four stone plates in the corps.

My next target was Ińsko. I wanted to get there by a bit more varied way, to wit the blue hiking trail, bypassing Lake Przytoń from the east. As a rule, such ideas end with getting to know something unusual and watching interesting landscapes, but not this time: I got lost with the GPS in my phone (it showed strange, nonexistent routes). I pulled and pushed the bike to steep slopes, I rode on ruts with a depth of up to half a meter – here is where the activity of forest workers comes in handy. I lost two hours on struggling before somehow I found the way and went to the trunk road no. 20, from where I was driving further south, also by an average route, to the regional road no. 151, and then straight to Ińsko.

The evening was approaching, so it was necessary to check the accommodation issue. The first camping area, which I called, wants 27PLN per night without a shower (this was extra paid), I asked my Magda for help. czaswlas.pl showed me the place to camp on the lake Okuny (Okunie), at the famous Ińska Wstęga route. Let’s go! Using the “Ińsko and its surroundings” map published by Compass publishing house, received in the Ińsko tourist information office in the local cinema near the lake, I arrived to the camping area at around 19 O’clock. After paying the fee of 5PLN to the leaseholder living on the other side of the road, I pitched the tent, washed quickly in the cold water of the lake, and hop in to the sleeping bag! In addition to the impressive rut, strange noises were heard at night. This seems even more intriguing for me, considering the fact that I didn’t know such sounds before, and it seemed to me that someone was playing rather fecklessly on a wooden pipe. It sounded so lopsidedly, that I could play it by myself, but it was – you all agree – quite unlikely. Magda made me realize that it is the sound of an owl, or more precisely: a brown owl. I have recorded it, to have a souvenir:

Second Day

A beautiful, sunny morning. This is going to be a good day.


I had guests during the morning coffee – locals.

Copperfield literally didn’t make it this time.


Breakfast, packing, swimming in the lake. At 10 O’clock I was ready to go. With the map on the table, I am planning the route for today: the spring of Ina, Ińska Wstęga and, if time permits, Recz. Of course, plus the things which appears on the way.

Because first I wanted to get to the spring of the beautiful Ina river, I went east, but not by Ińska Wstęga – I was planning to cross it all back, from Ciemnik to Dobrzany – but by the fire road a bit on the south of the Wstęga, also providing beautiful views.

In Ciemnik, I pass through the Ina river for the first time. At this point, the river is quite wide, however, on the south side of the bridge it overgrows, leaving some space for the canoeist’s paddle. In the village, I stopped by the church (of course closed). An interesting construction, as well as the fact that the entrance was moved from east to west. Only steps, an iron “doormat” for cleaning the treads, an iron cross and a mark of the bricked up entrance were remaining from the former entrance.

I turned left behind the church into a road paved with rubbles. It would be a really attractive place for a walk (especially if you take into account a small, but overgrown apple tree on the left side … of course I took as many as I could!), if not for what were laying mainly on the right, which was… rubbish. Not some single papers, bottles, cans of breweries. No. Regular rubbish heaps. Every 10-20 meters: home waste, debris, diapers, tires, plastics. Dozens of such stacks, one next to the other. What’s most interesting, it wasn’t thrown into one place, which should be logical (someone will sooner or later clean it up, so why not make it easier for him/her?), but each of them in a unique place, had it in somebody’s sights, not defiled by someone else’s garbage. I have no words, but I have seen such a thing before, so this sight is not new for me.

I am reaching the asphalt road connecting Oleszno with Czertyń, which is the greater part of the north-western border of the Drawsko Land Forces Training Center, commonly called the Drawsko range. These are areas which are extremely close to my heart, because during few seasons, working in the Museum in Koszalin, I have participated in archaeological excavations in the heart of the range, on the legendary site of Nowy Łowicz: a huge burial cemetery belonging to Lusatian and Wielbark cultures. I will definitely devote a separate post for this unique place.

Meanwhile, on October 11 – 12, 2018 at the range, or more precisely in Oleszno near Drawsko Pomorskie, my close friends – mgr Andrzej Kasprzak from the Museum in Koszalin and dr hab. Adam Cieśliński from the University of Warsaw are organizing a scientific conference on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the beginning of excavation research in Nowy Łowicz. Conference programme:

Coming back to the range:


Who was – knows it. Who watched TV and heard about the careless mushroom pickers wandering the forests of the range during harsh shootings, knows that it can be quite costly in a financial matter (penalty from 500 PLN up), and in the ultimate matter: disability or loss of life. Because I was aware of it, I didn’t delve into the area of ​​the range, I just wanted to reach only the spring of Ina, about 1.5 – 2 kilometers from the border. On the way, I passed relics of former inhabitants of this area: avenue of trees leading to buildings and these ruins.

From a weighty historical monograph of the range of dr. Zbigniew Mieczkowski (Drawski Poligon in three editions, Drawsko Pomorskie 2016, pp. 170-171) doesn’t show clearly it was the ruins of the former settlement of Ihnathal (Inica). However, at the spring of Ina, within a radius of no more than 30 meters, it was possible to notice numerous architectural relics in the form of foundations of at least a few buildings, including one located about 10 meters from the spring itself. I believe that there is still a lot to explore in this topic.

Meanwhile … I have arrived.

It doesn’t look spectacular, but also I didn’t expect fireworks either. Only pointing the finger on the spring like “OOOOOO, IT’S HERE!” is difficult due to the heavy watery area evenly ploughed by wild boars, and less than two meters high nettles, densely overgrowing these several square meters. I went along the left shore, wanting to see if Ina possibly goes here. Well, yes it does! Although you have to strain your eyes to see the current of the river in the narrow corridors between a thick scum.

The first few meters the river goes among the alders.

Two kilometers further, it goes under the road connecting Oleszno with Czertyń. Here it looks like a pure spring, the water is obviously clear and freezing. The watercourse here is so deep that a canoeist in a single-canoe would be able to manage it. In any case, I would try. The hardest part is the overgrown river-bed.


After such a crossing, a man looks like a mobile vivarium. Also – maybe you will not believe in it- but it is completely able to survive, unless you are not bothered by hectares of spiders (various), reeds, weeds and other watery menageries, not including mosquitoes. And it’s all for you. Great feeling!!!
I am coming back to Ciemnik through Gronówko. There is quite unusual (at least for me) view in there, which had me grinning from ear to ear:


Shortening the road a bit, I allow myself to take a quite cold “bath” in Ina river. I pay attention to the depth of this river. The temperature can’t be seen, but it wasn’t too high. I’m still impressed by the clarity of the water..


I’m going by the Wstęga Ińska to Dobrzany. I have to admit that although the road is undoubtedly charming, it has happened to me before, that I travel by much more attractive routes.

A break for the dinner in Dobrzany and I’m going further, this time in the direction of Recz. It is already 5:00 pm, so I don’t have a lot of time left. However, I have decided to enrich my trip. On the map I noticed a hardened road with numerous curves and evident descent to the Pęzinka river valley. The whole route was forested on the map, so let’s go! From Dobrzany we head towards Krzemień. After a few kilometers, we turn right into the fire road no. 18. This road leads almost to Błotno. I highly recommend this way, although maybe the surface leaves much to be desired (cobblestones and crumbling asphalt), but the impression is unforgettable, especially at the turning to the river valley.

Because I already have a place for the night, I calmly crossing the next kilometers. In Sokoliniec, my eye is caught by the octagonal neo-Gothic tower emerging from behind the trees. It is very high, so I decide to take a look at this object. A narrow path, pointed by kind Mr. Locals, leads to the palace in Sokoliniec, founded in 1862. The whole is terribly overgrown. The entrance to the main entry of the palace. Currently averagely representative.

Fear of coming inside: large holes incused in the floor, showing rooms high for maybe even three meters. Bricks, rubble, wild vegetation are everywhere. Joke’s over, we take over civilization – the vines and the wildflowers of the maple are screaming.

After 1945, the country took over the buildings, in the seventies of the last century, the PGR functioned here dynamically, the building had offices, a dance hall and even a cinema! Now there is no trace of recent glory.

The sun slowly goes down, I leave Sokoliniec with a significant feeling of distaste and regret. I only catch Recz from necessity, heading south to Chełpa, through Rajsko, Żeliszewo and Chełpin’s one-chamber settlement. After dark, I am pitching a tent over the tiny lake Chełpa. Evening hygiene and I’m hitting the sack. I’m sleeping like a log, regenerating my energies for the next, third day of the trip.

Third Day

hmm, what to start such a beautiful day with?


© translation by Anita Bernaś.

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