Nature as Therapy: Blatnivá

On our today’s trip to nature, we will stay in Ružomberok, more specifically in the district of Černová. We will visit a less well-known place hidden in the Čutkovská Valley. Our destination is called Blatnivá and it is made up of mountain meadows hidden in the woods. These meadows were used by farmers in the past, which is why there are several stalls (hay barns), which are gradually disappearing. We decided to visit this location because these mountain meadows offer plenty of herbs in spring for us to collect.

Cowslip is an herb you may find on sunny meadows from early spring. Later in spring, we can see it on mountain meadows or in areas of sparse woodland. Cowslip, or “kaška”, as it is called by the inhabitants of the region, is an herb which can be used for preparation of a really good tea. Drinking of cowslip tea is beneficial especially during winter, for supporting the immune system or as a cold medicine. In addition to tea, the flowers of cowslip can also be used for inhalation in the form of a so-called “self-steaming treatment”. Inhalation has positive effects on purifying the respiratory tract and sinuses.

We started our herb-foraging trip from the public transport system bus stop called “Čutkovská dolina“. From the bus stop, we continue in the direction to the valley, guided by the navigation panels of the shepherd’s huts or the green-marked bike trail and the red-marked hiking trail. After a few dozen metres, the mentioned red-marked hiking trail disconnects from the road through the valley. We continue on the side walk by the road all the way to the area with the shepherd’s huts. Starting by the shepherd’s huts is a blue-marked hiking trail and an educational trail called “Známa neznáma“ (the known and the unknown), which are going to accompany us on our way through the Čutkovská Valley. The name of the educational trail in the valley reminds us that there are many places in the valley which are known to the visitors, but even more of those which are still unknown to the majority, such as the area of Blatnivá, to which we are headed. After passing the area with shepherd’s huts, we are getting deeper into the valley and we pass by a dam and a picnic meadow with a well. At the place where the green-marked bike trail disconnects from the road through the valley, we will find another man-altered well, which we can use for refreshment. Running mildly uphill, the road will lead us to a wooded area, where, by the bridge over the creek, we will find a resting zone with benches and a cross. After resting a little, we continue to a nearby place with an educational panel about the woods. After approximately a hundred metres from the panel, we get off the road in the direction to the left, to an indistinct forest sloping road. After about fifty metres, the sloping road curves to the left and continues steeply uphill. After two hundred metres of steep ascent through the woods, we arrive at the periphery of a meadow, which is our destination. After climbing onto a small elevation, the view will reveal how the meadow extends further into the woods on steep slopes. If we stay close to the bottom periphery of the meadow, we may see a man-altered spring, or an old stall with a modest sitting area inside. After exploring the area and resting, we return along the same route.

On our way back, keeping in mind the idea of #ObjavUdržateľnéSlovensko (DiscoverSustainableSlovakia), we wanted to bring with us, in addition to the herbs we had collected, also a few small things which do not belong in the woods. We were pleasantly surprised to find nothing polluting the location of our trip. In the valley itself, which is frequently visited, we did, however, find a few pieces of litter, which we carried away with us.

Blatnivá is located approximately three kilometres away from the bus stop at which we started the trip, and the route there should be okay for smaller children as well. The only problematic section is the forest sloping road, which is steep and slippery. When collecting the herbs in this season, you need to be particularly careful about the ticks, from which you can protect yourselves perhaps most effectively by wearing full-length trousers. You need to frequently dust them off to prevent the ticks from getting on your skin.

When we return, we can make a stop at the complex with shepherd’s huts, which includes a restaurant, refreshment establishments and various attractions for both children and adults.

On our next trip, we will set out to explore other nooks and crannies of the Ružomberok region, which you might not have heard about yet.

The text was prepared by Milan Kolčák and Ján Benčík from the Ružomberok Information Centre.

This is the nineteenth article of the article series with subtitle Nature as Therapy.

Published: 18.5.2022