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When I read the headline in the Ariège News my heart missed a beat. No transhumance! For thousands of years shepherds have been taking their sheep to the estives, summer pastures high up in the Pyrenees mountains. And now they are about to stop! But what are they going to do with the sheep in the summer, I asked myself? They can’t keep them in the valley. The pastures are needed for growing the grass which will be turned into hay for the winter.
Fortunately, I was wrong. The transhumance isn’t going to stop. It is only the transhumance-show which is taking a year out.
According to Simon Lompède, quoted in the Ariège News: “It is more like herding tourists than sheep. It’s not our job.” In 2011, despite the rain, 700 onlookers followed the sheep, cows and horses going to the estives. According to the farmers in the Couserans transhumance association the event is a victim of its success and has become too difficult to manage.
In fact, the sheep will still take their summer holidays in the mountains. Only this time there won’t be a crowd to see them off.This entry was posted on Saturday, April 14th, 2012 at 3:50 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a comment below, or trackback from your own site.