Bacówka Jana Hyrczyka Baligówka koło Czarnego Dunajca
Jan Hyrczyk's Bacówka in Baligówka near Czarny Dunajec
In nearby Jabłonka, his father Stanisław looks after a flock of 700 sheep, and both men are assisted by Jan's younger brother Andrzej, a shepherd's helper. Every year on 23 April, St Adalbert's Day, the spring 'redyk' sets off for the pastures. Flocks of sheep made up by many homestead owners, who hand them over to the care of senior shepherds, leave the towns and villages and head for the mountain pastures full of lush grass. In the past, the amount of milk each animal gave was measured before leaving for grazing and in autumn on returning to the farm. Based on these measurements, they calculated how many 'oscypek' should be given to the owner. Now this tradition has vanished. Not so long ago, it still existed in rudimentary form, because the shepherds went out on St John's Day, milked their sheep and, depending on the amount of milk, received a corresponding number of cheeses. The spring 'redyk' is a big celebration which, for most shepherds and many shepherds, means saying farewell to home for five months. After all, working with sheep is a way of life and being on duty for seven days a week. Proof of this is Jan Hyrczyk, whose mountain shelter is located on the road from Czarny Dunajec to Jabłonka. Following his wedding in June, the young shepherd spent his entire honeymoon and subsequent weeks... working in the hut. But family tradition obliges. 'When Jasiek was in kindergarten, I took him on holiday to that thing', laughs Stanislav Hyrczyk, the senior of the family, who shepherds in nearby Jablonka. After finishing school at the age of 16, young Jan was already helping the shepherd in the Bieszczady and then in Silesia. His younger brother Andrzej also wants to follow in his footsteps. You can sometimes meet him on Baligówka. It is worth stopping here for a cup of żentyca and a few slices of oscypek. Enjoy the family atmosphere and the warm wind blowing sheep bells from the nearby meadows.