The places written with bold characters in the text show the marked places in the Route-Altitude diagram.
We leave the mountains behind us at Putnok village and continue our hike among the mild hills of Borsod Hilly Country. We pick up the backpack after stamping at the platform side of the building of the railway station (Putnok, letérés a vasútállomáshoz), and walk along the straight Rákóczi utca (Rákóczi Street) until the busy main road number 26, which is the high street of the settlement. The building of Gömör Áruház (Department store of Gömör) stands in front of us, we can fill our stock in its well equipped supermarket. This is our last chance to do this, because we will find only small groceries in the next villages until Jósvafő!
We turn onto the main street after shopping, walk about five minutes on the sidewalk and reach the corner of the park at the Serényi László tér (Serényi László Square). The marked path of the Blue Trail turns right here and we follow the painted blue strip marks on the winding Serényi Béla út (Serényi Béla Street). The street pass the Catholic church and the fenced garden of the Serényi mansion (The Serényi family was the owner of the town and its environs before the World War 2, they developed the agriculture and industry of the town on a very high level) and we leave the border of Putnok after a quarter hour long walk.
The asphalt surface of the road doesn’t finish at the outermost houses, the worn and potholed asphalt strip leads us farther in the forest. After a while the road crosses the Szörnyű-völgyi-patak Brook with a big “S” bend, but we stay on the left side of the brook, pass resting benches and tables on a small grassy clearing and continue the hike on a footpath (Szörnyű-völgy, első letérés az aszfaltútról). This path climbs slowly into the hillside, it leads high above the brook, but later sinks back into the valley. We turn onto the narrow asphalt strip again and reach the fishing lake in ten minutes. It is worth keeping our first resting time here, at the coast of the small lake. A soil dam keeps the water of the Szörnyű-völgyi-patak Brook in the pond, usually anglers are waiting for the catch on the shore of the small loch. It is a really calm and peaceful place on our hike beside the very low traffic asphalt road!
After a short rest we can continue the hike on the asphalt strip and get to the clearing opening on the left side after a five minutes long walk. The marked route of the Blue Trail leaves the road at the southern edge of the grassy clearing (Pálma forrás tisztás, második letérés), but if we have a little time, visit the Pálma-forrás (Pálma Spring) on the farther end of the meadow! It works permanently, we can fill up our stock with this cool and clear water! The first hard climb begins here, at this grassy clearing, the wheel tracks ascend steeply in the side of Piroska-hegy Hill, but after a little while the dirt road reaches the wide plateau in the forest. We must follow carefully the marked route, because the Blue Trail will leave this road with a sharp right turn and leads us on a narrow path among the trees! We will get to the tussocky bed of Kis-Mohos-tó Lake after a few minutes long walk.
This small lake was born about 15.000 yeas ago, at the end of the Ice Age, when the climate of this area was very humid. The side of the Piroska-hegy Hill slipped down, closed the gate of the valley and the water accumulated behind this natural dam. Of course, this lake collected not only the rain, but the sediment, as well, and the soil filled up the valley during the many thousand years. This is the last status of the former lake, already trees grow in the swampy valley. This area is a highly protected zone! If we continue the hike on the path leading on the shore of Kis-Mohos, we will reach the other swampy lake, the little bit bigger Nagy-Mohos after a little while. The path of the Blue Trail leads us back to the asphalt road after the lakes (Visszatérés az aszfaltútra). We walk a few minutes on the asphalt strip, and we turn onto a path again. Our footpath descends in the hillside and crosses the serpentine section of the road twice, finally we reach the first houses of Kelemér village after a while.
This village lies in a valley, we reach the junction in the centre of the settlement on the Tompa Mihály út (Tompa Mihály Street). The box of the Blue Trail’s stamp is equipped onto the gate of the Calvinist church. There is a small museum beside the house of the Calvinist vicarage: the poet-parson Tompa Mihály had lived here for two years after the Hungarian revolution and freedom war. His statue stands at the bottom of the stairs leading to the gate of the yard of the church. The route of the Blue Trail turns right in the junction in front of the church (Kelemér, útelágazás, pecsételőpont), we can find the grocery and the Mohos guesthouse in the other direction.
We walk about hundred steps on the road and turn left in the next junction. The small street reaches the border of Kelemér soon, but the narrow asphalt strip leads us farther among the cultivated fields of the valley. The houses of the next small settlement, Gömörszőlős will appear in front of us in a half an hour. The asphalt road reaches the first houses and becomes the main street of the village. We walk along this meandering road, and get to the building of the ethnographic collection. The metal box of the Blue Trail’s stamp is located on the fence of the yard (Gömörszőlős, Néprajzi Gyűjtemény, pecsételőpont). If we have enough time, it is worth visiting the collection and its outdoor department, too. The community of the village try to preserve and exhibit the traditional rural lifestyle, organize different camps (for example horse camp, folk dancer, folk musician, etc.) and programs. We can find many guesthouses in this village.
We will reach the last houses of the settlement after the ethnographic collection. The asphalt surface of the street finishes here, the Blue Trail leads us on rarely used wheel tracks on the bottom of the grassy valley. Later these tracks climb the grassy side of the right side hill, we reach the flat top after a ten minutes long ascent. A beautiful panorama opens from that hill towards the surrounding big pasture and back to the valley of Gömörszőlős village. We are in the centre of the hilly Borsod county here, if we look around, we can see only the waving hills covered by grassy pasture or oak forests.
After a short rest we continue the hike through the pasture on the hardly visible cart tracks, these are our only leader, because we don’t find any painted mark here! The road crosses a small forest patch, and slowly gets to the highest point of the hill. We must find the branching footpath on the right side of the tracks here, because the Blue Trail follows that hardly visible byway leading into a bushy area (Karu-fészke-tető, letérés Zádorfalva felé). The path is very narrow, the long branches of the bushes slap our face, but this section is short, we will reach wheel tracks after a few minutes. This road sinks slowly into the wide Bors-völgy Valley, and leaves the forest after a quarter hour long walk. The tracks meander on the bottom of the vale, on the pasture, the steeple of Zádorfalva village appears in front us soon. We will reach the settlement after a quarter hour long walk.
We walk through this settlement, following the meandering route of the Blue Trail on the Kossuth Lajos út (Kossuth Lajos Street), turn left onto the Nagy út (NagyStreet), cross the small Szuha-patak Brook at the football pitch of the settlement and turn right at the next junction. We reach the pub of Zádorfalva at the end of this street. The metal box of the stamp is located in the pub, on the wall beside the door (Zádorfalva, kocsma, pecsételőpont). According to the latest information there is no accommodation in this settlement!
Our road joins to the main street after the pub, we leave Zádorfalva village on this busy asphalt strip. The road ascends mildly, and we glance its serpentine on the right side hill after the cemetery. We don’t follow it, because the marked route of the Blue Trail turns right before the first hairpin bend, exactly at the distance marker 15 km. The wheel tracks cross the pasture in the left hillside, while they climb the grassy ridge. There are no painted trail markers, we have to follow these tracks leading in northern direction until the corner of the forest. If we turn back here, we can glance back into the valley of Zádorfalva and see the serpentine bends of the asphalt road, which meanders in the valley. The cart tracks lead us at the outermost trees of the forest, later we step into the forest.
The ascent of the road disappears slowly and a very comfortable walk begins in the meandering dirt road in the oak forest. We walk on the wide ridge of the wavy hills, the road ascends and sinks only a few metres in the oak forest. The dirt road reaches a thinning part of the forest on the wide back of Kastély-bérc Hill after a hour long walk, the road branches onto many wheel tracks, they make a real maze among the trees! We must follow the blue strip marks very attentively, many times they choose not the most well trodden road! This section finishes after a half an hour, and the dirt road leads us reliably in the forest again. We get to the Hungarian-Slovakian border after a longer walk (Magyar-szlovák határ).
A special section of the hike begins here: we must follow during the next kilometres the white border stones in the forest! There is no road parallel with the stones, only a narrow footpath run among the trees, it is maintained by only the Blue Trail walkers! Fortunately the border is straight, the marker stones are located often, generally if we stand at a stone, we can see already the next one among the trees. Both countries, Hungary and Slovakia are members of Schengen Zone in the European Union, it means, we can cross the border, or walk along the border without any restrictions, but it is useful, if we keep our documents (passport or personal ID card) an easily accessible place!
We walk about one and a half kilometres in northern, later in north-western direction and reach that point, where the border turns suddenly in north-eastern direction. There is a small clearing, or rather a grassy patch here in the thick forest, we can keep our next rest at this place. If we continue the hike, we walk a little while still in the forest and reach the wide meadows in the Slovakian side. Our path runs for a while on the border of the forest and the grassy fields and we have a good view towards the much higher Slovakian mountains standing in the far. Later the path turns back among the outermost trees of the forest, finally we leave the wood. We walk across the fields, climb a small hillock covered by forest, and we reach the asphalt road exactly at the former, already closed border crossing station.
We turn onto this narrow asphalt strip and get to the fenced area of the camping after a few minutes. The route of the Blue Trail turns left here, follows the fence for a while, finally turns right on the area of the camp. The narrow asphalt strip leads on the border of the grassy field, beside wooden bungalows until the building of Baradla Szálló (Hotel Baradla), which is the reception of the camping, too. The metal box of the Blue Trail stamp is equipped on the wall beside the door of the reception (Aggtelek, barlangpénztár). Behind the hotel appears the high limestone rock, the gate of dripstone cave opens exactly at the foot of the rock. We arrived to Aggtelek, to the most well-known World Heritage Site of Hungary!
The following rows are quotation from the Wikipedia: “The Baradla Domica cave system in Hungary is one of the longest researched, visited for centuries for its speleothems. As part of the Aggtelek Karst, the cave system extends more than 25.5 km (25,500 m) and includes the 5.3 km (3.3 mi) Domica cave. The cave has a natural entrance at Aggtelek, at the foot of a high white cliff that overlooks the edge of the village. It has an articulated, meandering main channel 7 km (4.3 mi) long, with a rock tunnel, on average, 10 m (33 ft) wide and 7 to 8 m (23 to 26 ft) high with a few giant caverns. The main branch has several short and long connecting side branches. A significant part of the cave has varied colors and shapes providing an unparalleled spectacle of decorative stalactites. Subterranean river waters run through the main branch at times of flood. Natural entrances to the cave have been open from ancient times, and there are traces of Neolithic occupation.
The first written mention of the cave dates from 1549. The first survey was conducted in 1794 by Joseph Sartory. In 1825 it was only known to be 1.8 km (1.1 mi) in length. This section was surveyed in 1802 and the first map published. In 1825 the engineer, Imre Vass explored the cave a further 5 km (3.1 mi) along the main branch, producing an accurate map and a description. His work was published in Hungarian and German in 1831. In order to facilitate cave visits, the first tourist walks were installed in 1806. In 1890 the Red Lake entrances were established and further exploration and extension was conducted between 1927 and 1928.
Baradla, and other caves of the Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. The entire cave system and the catchment areas - with the nearby Domica wetlands of international importance were subject to protection in 2001. The Aggtelek National Park is an appealing attraction all year round, popular with visitors, who can choose from several hiking trails.”
The visit of the cave is a must-see attraction of Hungary, don’t miss it! We can choose among many type of the visits: the simplest visit is the short tour, which starts from that entrance of the cave, which opens at the foot of the limestone cliff. This is a round tour in the cave, its length is only 1 km, it takes about 1 hour. There is another short tour at the other end of the cave system, at Jósvafő village, its length is 1.4 km, it takes 1 hour. We will visit that entrance of the cave on the route of the Blue Trail, as well. A little bit longer walk in the cave is the middle long tour, it starts from the Vöröstó entrance of the cave and leads until Jósvafő. Its length 2.3 km, it takes about 100 minutes. These tours leads only on the built concrete pavements in the cave.But there is a very interesting hike along the main section of the dripstone cave between Aggtelek és Jósvafő. Its length is 6.7 km, its duration is 4-5 hours, and this tour visits the not paved sections of the cave, too! This hike starts only in that case, when there are enough visitors and a written application happened two weeks before the hike. It is worth taking an application for bigger hiker teams! If we have enough time, spend one or two days at the dripstone cave in the camping, or ask for accommodation in the bungalows or in the hotel!
If we continue the hike from the cave, we have to climb the rock, which towers above the hotel at the entrance of the dripstone cave! A concrete pavement leads to the top of the cliff with a lot of stairs, the route of the Blue Trail follows it. There is a small terrace on the top, it is worth stopping there and look around from the resting benches! If the weather is clear enough, we can see almost the whole Borsod Hill region, where we took hike in the previous two days!
A rocky path leads us farther, the footpath meanders among the trees, we reach the lower end of the Mész-völgy Valley after ten minutes. The route of the Blue Trail turns left in the junction of marked paths, crosses a grassy meadow and enter the forest. The path ascends continuously, but we walk in the shady forest again. The path passes by a big sinkhole, it is similar to those ones, which we have seen already in the Bükk Mountains, and its function is similar, too. It collects the rainfall and leads the water into the cave system.
The hiking trail reaches the highest point in the col between the Magas-hegy Hill and Somos-tető Hill, later it runs in level in the side of Magas-hegy Hill. The steep downward slope begins here and leads until the small col above the Tengerszem Hotel (Letérés a Tengerszem szállóhoz). The route of the Blue Trail stays on the narrow ridge, but we have to descend to the Tengerszem Hotel and to the other entrance of the dripstone cave, if we want to stamp into our booklets! The box of the stamp is located on the wall beside the ticked office of the cave. If we don’t visit the Aggtelek side of the dripstone cave, we can do it here, at the other end of cave system!
After stamping we climb back on the steeply rising path to the col, where we meet with the route of the Blue Trail again. It runs on the narrow ridge, which slopes slowly to Jósvafő village. We arrive to the settlement beside its cemetery and glance the first houses at the alone standing tower of the church in the hillside. The tower and the church stand in a fenced garden, the path leads between them and joins later into the Táncsics utca (Táncsics Street) at the first houses of Jósvafő village. We cross the Kecső-patak Creek on a bridge and turn right in the junction of streets. After a few dozen steps this street crosses the Tohonya-patak Creek on another bridge and the marked path of the Blue Trail turns left at the next junction (Jósvafő, Tohonya-patak hídja). If we continue the hike, we will leave the settlement soon, but this village is suitable to fill up our stocks for the next days.
We can reach the centre of Jósvafő in a few minutes, if we turn right in the junction beside the Tohonya-patak Creek. As we walk on the Rákóczi Ferenc utca, we glance the third creek of the village, the Jósva-patak Creek, the common water of Kecső-patak and Tohonya-patak joins to this creek and becomes a wide stream. But there is a special thing: the bed of the stream is wide, but very shallow, the level of the gardens are higher only with a few inches. Its reason, that the origin of all the three creeks is in the cave system, so their water regime is permanent, not influenced by the meteorological conditions. We reach the centre of Jósvafő, where the narrow Rákóczi Ferenc utca joins to the wider Petőfi Sándor utca Street. We find here the Jósva Restaurant and a well stocked grocery on the other side of the street. Jósvafő has a good public transport connection to Budapest, the bus stop is located in front of the restaurant.
We leave Jósvafő village beside the Tohonya-patak Creek on a dirt road. The road enters the forest, and we glance the Nagy-Tohonya-forrás (Big Tohonya Spring) after a few minutes long walk. The water breaks out from the ground with a huge power exactly in front of the closed gate of the Kossuth-barlang Cave. This cave is visitable only with permit and appropriate hike leaders coming from the National Park.
As we walk farther, cross a small grassy clearing and we reach the narrow and meandering Tohonya-völgy Valley. The Big Tohonya Spring gives the bigger part of the Tohonya-patak Creek, but a smaller brook follows our dirt road farther! The bottom of the valley is very narrow, the road and the brook run side by side, as we walk, we can hear the babbling sound of the water continuously. Unfortunately this valley is short, we get to the meadows at its end after a little while.
The valley becomes wider, the dirt road runs on the grassy bottom, later the valley branches into two directions. The marks of the Blue Trail choose the right one, but after a few dozen steps leave this valley and climbs out very steeply to the wide, grassy plateau. We glimpse the wide, waving, grassy meadow and the stable of the Hucul Herd appears in front of us (Hucul ménes karámja). Genetically, huculs are the breed closest to those horses used by the tribes (Avars, Székelys, etc.) which inhabited the Carpathian Basin before the Hungarian Conquest in the 9th century.
Since that time huculs gradually got outnumbered in herds by other breeds - for example horses similar to the Akhal-Tekes of Turkmenistan - and over the course of centuries today’s indigenous species were arrived at using other foreign breeds. However, a number of huculs survived this period in the most closed-off parts of Carpathians without any crossbreeding. This period of natural selection developed the hucul into a hardy, small horse suited to rough and hilly terrain. Today, its sure-footedness and ability to work and carry loads over difficult terrain is prized over many other breeds, and the hucul’s appearance has changed little from that of the ancient wild horse it once was. Source: http://www.anp.hu/en/hucul-menes
Generally we don’t find the herd at the barns, they walk this wide meadows every days. It is a rare luck to glimpse them, but not impossible! We turn right onto wheel tracks in front of the stable and walk across this waving, grassy meadow in eastern direction. The wide and long Szelce-völgy Valley appears in front of us, but the Blue Trail chooses a smaller wing valley and we walk until its end on the grassy wheel tracks. We enter the forest again and climb the next ridge among the trees. The road gets to the abandoned area of former weekend houses and vineyards after a short ascent. Now the main part of this area is only a grassy pasture, only a few houses and gardens are the remains of the former recreating area. But the panorama is beautiful to the wide valley of Jósva-patak Stream! Even the big crest of the national park, the big salamander is visible in south-eastern direction! The length of this huge, stone salamander is more, than 80 metres!
The Blue Trail crosses this pasture on grassy wheel tracks and reaches the forest again. A very comfortable section of the hike begins here, the dirt road waves mildly among the flat hilltops, while the trees give a permanent shade even on the hottest days, too. We reach the edge of the forest after an hour long walk. The blue strip marks leave the dirt road at the outermost trees, turn left onto hardly visible wheel tracks leaving the forest and run on the edge of the grassy meadows. It is the upper end of the long Szelce-völgy Valley, which other end was located at the barn of Hucul Herd. We reach a narrow asphalt strip after a few hundred steps, turn onto this road and walk in northern direction until the tourist hostel of Szelcepuszta. We can take a longer rest on the wooden benches in front of the building, or fill up our water stock in the kitchen (Szelcepuszta, turistaszálló).
After the rest we walk another 200 steps until the big left bend of the asphalt road, here we continue our walk on a dirt road branching off to right from the asphalt strip in its bend. We enter the forest again, but after a few steps the road gets to a big, new clear cut. We can glimpse into a deep valley, we will descend to its bottom on this dirt road! The steeply sloping road reaches fast the lowermost point and continues its run after a hairpin bend on the bottom of the vale. We walk now in the deep and shady Patkó-völgy Valley, the road sinks together with the bottom of it. The dirt road gets to the first spring, the Puska Pál-forrás Spring in ten minutes. This spring is a permanent one, it gives water even in the hot and dry summers, too. We can find a shelter and resting benches beside the spring.
The water of the well becomes a small brook beside the road at the bottom of the valley, later we can notice, that the babbling creek becomes wider, as the water of other springs joins to this small brook. The bigger Ménes-patak Creek joins to our small brook from left after a few minutes, finally a small stream flows beside our road! Unfortunately we can enjoy the babbling sound of the stream only for a little while, because the marked path of the Blue Trail leaves the well trodden dirt road and turns left after a few minutes. We continue our walk on the wheel track of a side valley, but we leave it soon. The blue strip marks turn right, onto a meandering footpath and we climb out steeply from this valley among the trees of the forest.
The path reaches the wide plateau after a steep climb and joins to a well trodden dirt road. We walk about 500 steps on this road and turn right at the junction of the road. We reach the meadows of the plateau here, the road becomes hardly visible, grassy wheel tracks meandering among pastures and forest patches. We must follow the blue strip marks very attentively! Later the tracks become more well trodden, and we reach the abandoned Derenk village soon. The box of the Blue Trail’s stamp is equipped onto the information chart beside the road, but we can keep a longer rest and get to know the strange history of this ghost village! (Derenk, romközség, pecsételőpont)
Derenk was populated by Polish people, they settled here after the Turkey era, because the original population of the village escaped during the long occupation. They maintained their language and folk customs during the centuries until the World War 2. The Hungarian governor, Mr. Horthy Miklós decided in 1938 to establish here, in the environs of the village a big brown bear reserve for hunting. The population of the village had to move to other settlements in the next five years, Derenk was already a ghost village in 1943.
Of course, the war obstructed the establishment of the bear reserve, but the population didn’t moved back after the war. But the descendants don’t forget their roots, they keep a memorial day here, on the place of the former settlement every year. There is a small exhibition about the history of the settlement with photos and other documents in the partly renovated building of the school above the road in the hillside. Don’t miss it!
The condition of the access road is getting better, if we leave the ghost village, visitors arriving with cars use this part of the meandering pebble road. We get to the crossing worn and narrow asphalt strip after a kilometre long walk. The marked route of the Blue Trail only crosses it and run farther on a well trodden footpath in the shady forest. After a few minutes the trail reaches and old, fenced clear-cut, we can glimpse the forest covered side of the Szádvár Hill through this bare field. The ruins of a big, almost forgotten fortress stand on the flat top of the hill, if we have enough time, visit this abandoned fort!
We can reach the ruined walls on the blue ruins, and from its end on the red ruins marked path. Attention! The path of the red ruin marks has two branches. We have to choose the second one, after the ridge, when we sink down on the southern side of the castle hill. The last section of the access path is very steep, but it is worth climbing until the walls! The fate of this ruined castle is similar to other Hungarian castles: it was built after the big Tartar invasion in the second half of the 13th century, the owners had changed many times, the Turks didn’t attack it, but the troops of the Austrian Emperor demolished the walls in 1685.
Nobody renovated the severely damaged walls in the next centuries, the remains stood without any disturbance until 1965, when the first survey happened among the ruined walls. A small team of enthusiastic people began the renovation work among the ruins in 2006, they cut the trees, bushes and made an exact survey of the remains. We can visit the ruins already without any restriction. A beautiful panorama opens from the walls in almost every direction!
When we walk back onto the path of the Blue Trail, it will descend slowly in the deep Bába-völgy Valley. We glimpse the Lakatos-forrás Spring on the stony bottom of the vale (it is not a permanent spring) and a long climb begins the in the Bába-völgy until the plateau, the path ascends about two hundred metres in two kilometre distance. This is the last ridge of Aggtelek Karst, which began at the dripstone cave, we will see many sinkholes among the trees of the wide plateau, where the dirt road meanders under our feet.
This section is a very comfortable part of the hike, it keeps until the small clearing of the abandoned, slowly dying former Szabó-pallag forester’s lodge. The house still stands, but is in a very bad condition, there is a new resting place beside it on the small, grassy meadow with a wooden shelter. We can keep our next rest here. The metal box of the Blue Trail’s stamp is equipped onto the wooden post of the shelter (Szabó-pallag erdészház).
Our heading changes at the shelter: we leave the dirt road of the wide ridge and continue the hike on different paths. The footpath meanders for a while on the plateau, later it begins to slope to the valley. This is a long descent in the mountainside, its middle section is the steepest. After a while we leave the forest and glimpse the wide valley of the Bódva River. The houses of Bódvaszilas village appear in front of us, we reach the settlement in a quarter hour.
The first building beside the road is an old, but newly renovated storey granary, it works as museum and art exhibition now. We sink on the long Akácos utca (Akácos Street) until the main road of the settlement. The marked path of the Blue Trail turns right onto this road, but if we want to stamp into our booklet, we have to visit the railway station of the village in the opposite direction (Bódvaszilas, letérés a vasútállomásra). We finish the long hike through the Borsod and Aggtelek Hills with this stamping procedure.
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