On the western Baikal lakeside there is a small quiet town with a funny name Bolshiye Koty, which has nothing to do with "Big Cats".
The name refers to the settlement built in 1842 to accommodate the gold miners. "Gold rush" time on Baikal reffers to 1840's. Gold mining those days was very difficult and dangerous, it mainly engaged the convicts, who in cold weather used to wear wooden shoes called - the “koty” (or “kotki”), pronounced with the first syllable stressed. It was estimated that over 160 kilograms of precious metal have been extracted during the whole period of gold mining carried out in Bolshiye Koty. Until 1968 the country's foreign exchange reserve was replenished by pure gold from the Baikal mines, including that of Bolshiye Koty. However, no one has undertaken to count the number of lives given for that gold.
Moreover, there is another interpretation of origin of the "Bolshiye Koty" name. For example, according to the V.I. Dal’s dictionary “koty” is nothing but ordinary fish traps, installed at the mouths of rivers. And the semblable word “kottsy” in Siberia was used to call a wattle fence stretched across the river to catch cisco coming in the river to spawn.
There are about one hundred residents living in Koty. In summer Bolshiye Koty can be reached by motor ship running from Irkutsk and Listvyanka once a day on weekdays, and twice a day on Saturdays and Sundays. There is also a trekking route along a coastal path from Listvyanka to Koty, but it is considered dangerous and suitable only for experienced travelers. If you are interested you might check "Meeting with Baikal" trekking tour to Baikal. In winter, Bolshiye Koty can only be reached by car by a temporary motor road laid on the ice of frozen Lake Baikal.
Bolshiye Koty and its outskirts are a part of Pribaikalskiy National Park. The Koty territory is surrounded by real Siberian taiga, notable for mushrooms and berries, herbs and various most rare species of wild flowers. All kinds of recreation available in the village, one way or another, are connected with walking and enthusiastic contemplation of nature, seeing that Bolshiye Koty abounds with all sorts of breathtaking beauties: you can go fishing, horseback riding, quad riding, canoeing.
Trekking along the shore of Great Siberian lake. Both in taiga forest and along the beaches. Overnight in tents (or wooden houses on your demand). 3 or 2 days are possible.