Aiviekste (river)

The Aiviekste is a river in Latvia. It begins at Lake Lubāns (the largest lake in Latvia) and drains into the Daugava (the largest river in Latvia). The Aiviekste is the largest tributary of the Daugava in Latvia. The Aiviekste, along with the Pededze, forms the border between Vidzeme and Latgale.

Country - Latvia
Source location - Lake Lubāns
Length - 114 kilometres (71 mi)
Basin size - 9,160 km2 (3,540 sq mi)

The Aiviekste cannot impress with its rapid flow or spectacular scenery, typical for the River Gauja, but it is a large and interesting river with its charm. Two types of paddlers will like this river: those who prefer marathons and kilometres and like being in a narrow kayak and rowing while watching their average speed on a GPS screen, and those who will tie their canoes together, go with the stream and share snacks with their travel companions. These later ones will have be taken into account at all times the best boating textbook manual, which states that in a boat trip it should be taken along with you “ or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.” (Jerome K. Jerome “Three Men in a Boat”).

 The Aiviekste, surrounded by sluices, flows out of the Lubāns Lake. Lubāns, together with surrounding marshlands and small river basins is the largest lake in Latvia and people have always tried to use the Aiviekste for diverting the excess water in the Daugava River. In many places, artificially extended Aiviekste River, sluice systems, channels, the Pededze - straightened largest tributary of the Aiviekste, flat bends overgrown with deciduous trees – all of it make up associations with lowland canal and river systems of England. Stream up to Aiviekste HPP (101km from Lubāns) is slow and drop an average is only 1 m to 14 km. The river perks up after Aiviekste HPP and in further 14 km up to the Daugava River presents almost exhilarating 0.8 m drop per kilometre.

The further section of Aiviekste, from Lubāna up to the Daugava (79.8 km), may be recommended for those who want leisurely recreational paddling. This stage in the summer is a good alternative for routes in the Gauja and the Salaca – in the Aiviekste you will not have to fight for settlement place with other travellers and it is quite possibly that on the long sections you will not see any other boaters. Starting from Lubāna down up to Ļaudona (81.8 km from Lubāna) Aiviekste is crossed by 5 bridges with an average interval of 10 km between them, but along the river there is a developed road infrastructure. All this allows varying the length of your trip without especially burdening boat rental operators.

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