From Zapolítsy to Slobódka
8 miles, around 4-5 hours
Forget the bustle of the city, and slow right down. Lie back in the sun and drift off to the buzzing of dragonflies. Stop for a picnic on the riverbank. We can even organise a full-scale rustic lunch for you and your friends, if you wish!
From Zapolítsy onward to Porétskoye
For the slightly more adventurous. Takes things slow all the same, kick back and watch the day unfold away to port and starboard. As evening falls, stop and pitch your tent. You'll soon forget you ever lived anywhere else!
We'll meet you at the start with your boats, gear and instructions. Life jackets are provided. You'll be travelling downstream, so little effort is required (although we cannot rule out the occasional headwind). We'll likewise be waiting for you at the other end, where we can arrange a taxi for you to Vladimir or Suzdal (both are 30-40 mins away by car).
For groups of 8 or more, we like to organise a pukka village lunch beside the river, where you get to meet the locals. If one of your company is celebrating their birthday, their place in the boat is on us!
What There is to See
Old churches, authentic Russian villages, vast meadows, pine forests stretching down to the water's edge, black sand beaches, and - here and then - our own art installations.
The land here echoes with history, from old bridges and water mills to ancient "kurgan" burial mounds unearthed in the 19th century by Count Aleksei Uvarov, one of the founding fathers of Russian prehistoric archaeology.
Travelling with Children
We have had more and more people coming on our trips with children of all ages. Allow us to put your mind to rest:
The Nerl is a slow, shallow river. There are certainly no rapids, and the water is warm and clear.
Our three-seater boats are ideally suited to families of two adults with child.
We do provide life jackets to all, but experience suggest that smaller passengers are not going to be climbing out of anywhere unaided!
The 2-3 hour stretch of river from Mordýsh to Porétskoye is perfect for groups with children, and offers many opportunities to leave the boat for a leisurely stroll away from the river. There are also many small beaches along the way that are ideal bases for a swim.
Children can often appear to be perpetual motion machines. So take advantage of them! Kick back and let them do the work!
No one is going hungry. Our complimetary hamper of locally-sourced food contains home-make cheese, fresh bread, farm eggs, healthy vegetables and pure spring water.
We do not generally recommend the trip with children under 3, although you know your own children better than we do!
Our craft are a modification of the Soviet "Salyut" rigged out with a new "skin". They are stable in the water and designed to ease back strain when rowing. We also have canoes for those of you who are redskins at heart, as well as dugouts – traditional craft made from a whole tree-trunk.