The Julian Rydzkowski Kashubian Trail BY 2016c red (54.6 km)
The Julian Rydzkowski Kashubian Trail BY 2016c red (54.6 km) Chojnice (0.0 km) - Jarcewo 6.0 km) - Stary Młyn - Funka - Bachorze (14.9 km) - Stara Piła (18.4 km) - Męcikał – 28.9 km) - Czarniż PKS (38.7 km) - Kosobudy PKS (43.2 km) - Dąbrowa PKS (51.7 km) - Wiele PKS (54.6 km) We start our tour along the Julian Rydzkowski Kashubian trail in Chojnice (0.0 km) at Człuchowska Gate, in which there is currently located Historic and Ethnographic Museum. The most significant attractions of Chojnice are its monuments. Special notice should be taken of the remains of the municipal walls elevated around middle of XVI century and including the Człuchów Gate and towers: Wronia, Kurza Stopa, Szewska and Więzienna. The last tower up to 1903 served as a prison but currently it is the seat of archive. Places worth visiting in the town are also: St. John the Baptists Smaller Basilica from XIV century, Post-Jesuit Church of St. Mary built in the middle of XVIII century, Monastery School – former church and St. Augustine Monastery and Town Hall constructed in a neo-gothic style in the period 1901-1907 with beautiful stained-glass windows in the conference room of the City Council. Chojnice are the largest town in the region of Southern Kashubia. Jan Długosz used to name it the gate and the key to the Pomeranian Region. It was situated at the inlet between two currently non-existing lakes: from the south it was the Zakone Lake, also known as the Jeleńcz Lake and from the North the Zielone Lake also called the Cegielniane Lake. A small stream used to run out of these lakes connecting the Chojnickie Lakes with Łukom /the Charzykowskie Lake/. It was that small river, in the past called Chojnica, which influenced the town’s name. The surrounding forests had impact on the town’s emblem which includes the head of and aurochs decorated with flowers placed between its horns. The aurochs – the forest animal – was killed off by people in XVII century. In the medieval age the town of Chojnice that has existed since the times of the Pomeranian dukes, holds one of the most significant places among the towns of the Gdańsk Pomerania. It owed its significance to the favorable location in terms of defense capabilities and trade. In the written sources the name Chojnice appears for the first time in the document of duke Mściwoj II as of 1275. It presents person named Myślibor Malowy de Chojnicz, owner of estates in Konarzyny, who was also an official residing at that time in Chojnice. In 1309 Chojnice together with Tuchola Forest and the whole region of Gdańsk Pomerania underwent the ruling of Teutonic Knights. In terms of administration and military issues it was dependant to the Order.
Due to good location and constructed fortifications the town became very difficult to invade. The entrance to Chojnice was secured by the gates: Człuchowska, Młyńska and Gdańska, and to the south the Klasztorna Gate also known as the Monks Gate. The last one was in fact the passage in a wall that connected the town with the St. Augustine monks who were brought to Chojnice in 1356 by Vinrych von Kniprod. In 1360, the location of the city renewed under the Chełm law. During war with the Order of Teutonic Knights, in the period 1409 – 1410, the town was changing hands several times to finally remain under the reign of the Teutonic Knights. In 1433 armies of Hussites and Poles had struggled for several weeks to capture the town, which under the reign of the Teutonic Knights had been strongly Germanized – all in vain. One of the results, among others, was that Chojnice did not join the Prussian Union. In 1454 the Teutonic Knights fought battle with Polish mass levy troops led by King Kazimierz Jagiellończyk. That attempt along with other attempts to free the town ended with defeat until 1466 when Chojnice was taken over by the Polish army. This victory marked the final defeat of the Order. Since 1466, that is since capturing Chojnice by the Polish army and defeating the Order, begins the golden era in the history of the town which was connected with the development of the trade and craft – mainly cloth halls. Of high importance there were also timber processing, forest bee-keeping, and fishery. The fall of the Chojnice and the Zaborska Land is connected with the period of Swedish Wars and plundering during the Northern Wars (1701 - 1721). In 1707 for the period of two weeks Chojnice were occupied by the Russian troops. In 1772, by the force of I Partition, Chojnice and the Zaborska land were included into Prussia. In 1871 a railway to Piła was constructed, in 1873 to Tczew and in 1902 to Lipusz and Kościerzyna. In 1920, after 148 years of bondage, Chojnice came back to Poland. Regained independence was a trigger to social and cultural movements. Numerous organizations were established: Polish Tourist Society, The Association of Chojnice and its Region Amateurs, Singers Society Lutnia, Gymnastics Society Sokół and several others. This development of Chojnice and the region was interrupted by the outbreak of the World War II. In the interwar period Chojnice were a border town. Nearby the town, close to Krojanty a cavalry charge of the 18th Pomeranian Lancers Regiment took place. Currently, there is a monument and every year on first Sunday of September a special ceremony is held to commemorate this event. After visiting monuments of this XIII century Pomeranian town and getting familiar with its history we are heading towards North. Going along Mickiewicza Street and further along Derdowskiego Street we reach (turning left before the sewage treatment plant) the Death Valley. We can see there the monument commemorating approximately 2000 inhabitants of Chojnice Poviat killed during the World War II.
Further the trail leads us to the municipal forest – leisure spot of inhabitants of Chojnice. In this place the Kashubian Trail meets the green trail of “The Rill of the Seven Lakes”. Together they lead along the valley of monumental trees (stately oaks, elm trees, black alders, bass-tree, etc.) to Jarcewo village, (6.0 km). There is a XIX century manor and park complex established by the contemporary owners – the Kreisch family. The manor is a single-floor brick house, the eastern entrance with projection. Well-preserved farm facilities: land-agent house, brick byre from the beginning of XX century, old stable, fire station, smithy and henhouse. In Jarcewo the trails split – the red one behind the bridge over Jarcewska Rill turns left the direction to Stary Młyn. On the way we pass by the Niedźwiedzie Lake where the green trail of “The Rill of Seven Lakes” crosses the J. Karnowski black trail. We reach the area of the Zaborski Landscape Park. After walking along ardous, sandy road we reach Stary Młyn. We pass by the buildings and cross a busy road leading to Charzyków and to Swornegacie village. We reach the bus stop. From there the red trail leads to the north-east bank of Charzykowskie Lake. The Charzykowskie Lake also known as the Łukomie Lake is second deepest water reservoir in the Tuchola Forest with the area of 1363.8 ha and maximum depth of 30,5 m. The lake is located at the height of 120 m above the sea level. Charzyków and Małe Swornegacie villages situated at two ends of the lake are separated by 9.5 km of water. The maximum width of the Lake is 2.4 km and the minimum width is 0.5 km. The main tributaries are Brda and Czerwona Struga flowing from the west and Jarcewska and the Seven Lakes Rills flowing into the lake at the eastern side. In the southern part of the lake within the region of Charzyków the water in the lake is of 3rd grade cleanness while in the northern part the water is strongly influenced by the inflowing water of Brda and is of 2nd grade of cleanness. The vast area of water and strong winds, mainly from the western direction, from the south-west to the north-west ensure favorable conditions for sailors in the summer and iceboaters in the winter. Due to numerous bays, picturesque and easy to land banks the lake offers possibility for touristic cruises. The banks of Charzykowskie Lake are almost completely forested and in general low, except the north-east side where they reach the height of 25 m. At that point there is located a vantage point from which there is a wonderful view over the mouth of the Seven Lakes Rill to the lake which is especially worth seeing at the sunset. In the lake there are living numerous fish species, including “the queen of freshwaters” whitefish, in Kashubian dialect called “morenka”. The banks are inhabited by the waterfowl, including crane, grey heron, mute swan, cormorat, grebe, and coot. Through the north-west part of the lake the Brda River flows, which via a narrow inlet flows into the Długie Lake, the Karsińskie Lake branch and further to the next lakes of the Tuchola Forest. Through this region up to the mouth of the Brda River in Bydgoszcz leads one of the most attractive canoeing trails in Europe, already known in the interwar period. Already in 1938 on the Brda River there was organized an International Canoeing Rally. Even Karol Wojtyła participated in canoeing trips organized in the Tuchola Forest. He participated in the rallies on Czarna Woda (the Wda River) and Brda River. At the second one he was twice: in 1953 and in 1966. Due to its current the Brda River is treated as the lowland river with mountain features. Its total length is 238 km with the fall of 125 m. It is the lowland, meadowland and forest river of diversified width of the current, depending on the foundation and terrain configuration. There is an annual International Canoeing Rally organized on the Brda River and various other events of the national and regional range. We are crossing the railroad leading from Chojnice to Kościerzyna and reaching Męcikał village (28.9 km). This Kashubian village became famous in the past due to fights for Polish independence. In December 1898 villagers gathered at the school ceremony protested against Germanization and organized a march through the village with the Polish teachers carrying Polish flag. Few days later the Prussian authorities dismissed and imprisoned a teacher suspected to initiate the demonstration. On the 21st March 1944 the Męcikał Battle took place between soldiers of the Secret Military Organization „the Pomeranian Griffon” – led by Henryk Grabosz that secured the entrance to the bunker of the Poviat Command of the “Green Palace” and the German troops. There were 13 casualties and few wounded German soldiers. Out of all Polish guerillas taking part in the battle, only 3 survived and escaped. Nearby the road from Chojnice to Brusy there is a monument commemorating the killed guerillas. In the village there are preserved two houses with the framework and vertical – post log construction from the second half of the XVIII century. The village is one of the stops on the canoeing rallies along the Brda River and a tourist spot. It is also a very good starting point of for trekking in the Tuchola Forest. In Męcikał we cross the bridge over the Brda River and walk further about 1 km along the asphalt road from Chojnice to Kościerzyna. Behind the Forest Administration in Spierwia we cross the rill connecting the Trzemeszno Lake with Kosobudno, then we turn right. Walking along the lake bank we first reach the Giełdon village and later through Czarniż (38.7 km), Kinice, Kosobudy (43.2 km), Dąbrowa (51.7 km) we reach Wiele (54.6 km) where our trail ends at the bus stop.
Going along the bank of the Charzykowskie Lake from Stary Młyn we reach Funka. On the way we pass several wells from which water is obtained for Chojnice town with the population of over 40 000 inhabitants. Funka village existed already in XIV century. The name comes from the German name Funk. In time it underwent Polonization. There is a written record from XVII century “Funkenmühle”. Funka became popular due to activities of Janina Bartkiewicz, the founder of the sailing training center for the scout-girls. Currently there is an Environmental Education Center for Scout. Fom Funka the trail leads to Bachorze. From the high escarpment situated within the Environmental Education Center for Scout in Funka there is a wonderful view over the lake. The name of the Bachorze village comes from the noun “Bachorze”, which means swamp or marsh. For the first time it appeared in the documents from 1772 as “Bachors”. In 1982 in the center of the village a wooden cross with cuts on its arms and figure of Jesus Christ made of metal sheet was placed. The figure was moved from the previous cross, placed in the village in 1812 by the Polish legionnaires who were walking with the Napoleon’s army to Moscow. In 1982 Mr. Stefan Jażdżewski made accurate copy of the legionary cross and together with forester Egon Raszke placed the cross nearby the forester’s lodge. Next to the forester’s lodge in Bachorze (14.9 km) the red trail crosses the road, turns right next to the bus terminal and joins the green trail of the Seven Lakes and the black biking trail which runs from Bachorze to Tuchola. We are now at the territory of the National Park "The Tuchola Forest". Further the trail leads along the sandy forest path. On the left side we are passing the habitat of the ground cedar and approximately 200 m further to the right there is a habitat of the twinflower (relict of the postglacial era). After walking for approx. 3 km we will see on the right side the dystrophic Kacze Oko lake and finally we are reaching place named Stara Piła (Piła Młyn). Through Stara Piła there is also leading the blue Brda trail. Few dozen meters behind the bridge, after a difficult, sandy climb the red trail turns right and together with the green trekking trail it runs along the Płęsno Lake. In this manner we reach the Black Road. Here our trails cross the blue biking trail leading from Bydgoszczy to Chojnice. Also in this place the black trekking trail ends (the Liaison trail) from Drzewicza. Our trail leads further to the east along the Rill of the Seven Lakes. On the right side we pass lakes: Główka, Bełczak and Jeleń. Over the flow nearby the Jeleń Lake there is a wooden bridge and a place for resting. On the way we can observe evidences of the beavers’ activities. Heading east along the shores of the water reservoirs we reach the boundary of the of the “Tuchola Forest” National Park. At this point the green trail turns right leading to Dębowa Góra, Klosnowo and Chojnice. We, however go straight ahead. We pass the railroad from Chojnice to Kościerzyna and reach place named Męcikał (28.9 km). This Kashubian village became famous in the past due to fights for Polish independence. In December 1898 villagers gathered at the school ceremony protested against Germanization and organized a march through the village with the Polish teachers carrying Polish flag. Few days later the Prussian authorities dismissed and imprisoned a teacher suspected to initiate the demonstration. On the 21st March 1944 the Męcikał Battle took place between soldiers of the Secret Military Organization „the Pomeranian Griffon” – led by Henryk Grabosz that secured the entrance to the bunker of the Poviat Command of the “Green Palace” and the German troops. There were 13 casualties and few wounded German soldiers. Out of all Polish guerillas taking part in the battle, only 3 survived and escaped. Nearby the road from Chojnice to Brusy there is a monument commemorating the killed guerillas. In the village there are preserved two houses with the framework and vertical – post log construction from the second half of XVIII century. The village is one of the stops on the canoeing rallies along the Brda River and a tourist spot. It is also a very good starting point of for trekking in the Tuchola Forest. In Męcikał we cross bridge over the river and walk further for approximately 1 km along the asphalt road leading from Chojnice to Kościerzyna. Behind the Forestry Management in Spierwie we cross the rill connecting Trzemeszno Lake with Kosobudn Lake and turn right. Walking further along the bank of the lake we reach Giełdon village and further going through Czarniż (38.7 km), Kinice, Kosobudy (43.2 km), Dąbrowa (51.7 km) villages we reach Wiele (54.6 km) where our trail ends at the bus stop.