Shepherding in the “Pasiego” Valleys. Cantabria (Spain)
The travelling across boundaries (transterminant) system of shepherding spread widely across Mediterranean Europe from Central Persia. It consisted in seasonal migrations from the winter encampments in the valleys to the summer encampments in the mountain passes, and may be the origins of the Pasiego system, which is typified by one term: the move. It means a change of “hearth”, a journey across the fields-cabins which takes place every few weeks.
In summer, the herds feed on the meadow pastures at altitude. The grass is cut with a scythe and loaded in baskets and carried from the meadow to the stable, where the cows graze. In the plots in the valleys, the grass is mown, dried and carried to the hay store on top of the cabin, using hazel sticks on the reapers’ heads. The hay will be used to feed the cattle in winter.
In the photo, a pasiego dressed in a buzo (work overalls) and boots, which have replaced traditional clogs, looks after the livestock in the high meadows while the rest of the family mow the low-lying meadows.
Elena Flores Pérez. Drª in Biology, collaborator with citizen organizations of the third sector, in the awareness and dissemination of health