Polish Tatry: Świnica and Zawrat

Date walked: 03/07/2015

Hopefully I will get time to post a few more walk reports from my time in the Polish and Slovakian Tatra/Tatry, which come with the tagline of 'the smallest big mountains in the world' and which I would recommend to anybody. Here is one to start:

My favourite day in the Tatra was probably when I headed up Świnica ('Porcine' or 'Swine') and down by Zawrat, taking in a short section of the start of the Orla Perc, or 'Eagles Edge'. I left my brother behind in the hostel to do the laundry and set out at about half 8, since I was walking alone and did not have a headtorch I wanted plenty of time to complete my route. I went up the blue route from Kuźnice, having previously descended the route at the end of a long tiring day I thought it would be nice to repeat the ridge walk and take some photos.

View out over Zakopane



It was really hot and I was wearing trousers, my shorts being in the laundry pile, but I resorted to rolling them up to my knees (after all being on the hill isn’t about style!). I stopped a couple of times for water and was making good time despite the heat. When I reached the junction for the black route up to the saddle before Świnica (which starts as the yellow route) I deviated off my route to visit Schronisko Murowaniec and picked up a can of juice – I was worried about getting dehydrated in the heat as I was going through my water fast. After this point I left the majority of the other walkers behind, and met perhaps one or 2 other people on the black route up to the saddle.



The little lakes and mountains were a feast for the eyes, and from the saddle Świnica had an attractive appearance. I am not going to lie though, getting up to that point was hard work and it was a relief to see the saddle coming into sight.


Another hour of walking from the saddle, with a short section of fixed chain, and I was on the summit. This section of path was very busy as people get the gondola up to Kasprowy Wierch and then want to bag another summit; I had to climb around people to get to a point where I could touch the top. I hung round for a few minutes to take in the view and gobbled down a pastry I had picked up that morning. I had a couple of strengthening jelly sweets then moved off the summit area and along the chains – the route splits to the start of the Orla Perć just below the summit.




The next section was quite a long period of descending chains and scrambly sections, with 2 particularly steep sections (described as chimneys in my book, though I was obviously concentrating very hard as I didn’t recognise the sections as such at the time!) which I felt a little nervous on as people were close behind me and I felt rushed on what was my first real experience of using chains and fixed equipment. That said I still enjoyed the thrill of it with the magnificent scenery! There were a few long waits while we waited for groups coming the opposite way to come up and this section was still quite busy.



I turned off the Orla Perć at Zawrat, and made my way down to Czarny Staw Gąsienicowy. I made friends with some Polish students, who rather unfortunately were scared of heights, and enjoyed the sections of easy fixed chains. I was a bit more relaxed for this section and therefore found it more fun and was quite disappointed when the chains came to an end. My poor pronunciation of Polish place names also provided amusement for the Polish students.



After walking round the lochan I stopped by Schronisko Murowaniec once more and wolfed down a zapiekanka (a halfed baguette with cheese and mushroom and tomato ketchup) – thankfully easy to recognise when the order arrived at the hatch. I took on some more water and then plugged in my earphones for some company for the final stretch back to Kuźnice and then on to the hostel. I headed down the yellow route listening to old Radio 4 “The News Quiz” podcasts, I probably looked a bit odd with my trousers rolled up and giggling away to myself but I didn’t really care as I was feeling happy after a great day of walking.

I arrived back at the hostel just before 5, and surprised my brother when he arrived back from his short stroll, as he had expected me to be far later.

Fair to say I enjoyed my meal that night, and it was spent in good company of some fellow travels from the hostel at a Polish restaurant which we were directed to by locals.

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Comments: 9

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Activity: Mountaineer
Member: Inverness Mountaineering Club

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Trips: 2
Corbetts: 1
Grahams: 1


Trips: 3
Distance: 16 km
Munros: 7
Corbetts: 1

Joined: Aug 08, 2014
Last visited: Nov 12, 2021
Total posts: 56 | Search posts