First we head to Bagà, a stopping point on the Camí dels Bons Homes (Path of the Good Men). In all likelihood, the Cathars came across a shepherd or two as they fled from the Spanish Inquisition. The work of a shepherd has no doubt changed in some ways over the centuries but it essentially involves the same activity that was carried out when the Cathars passed through and long before that: leading animals from pasture to pasture in fields or mountains. Whether you’re walking the Camí dels Bons Homes or not, you can join shepherd Ricard Garcia in Coma Bella (Coll de Pal) and see how he works; and not just him but also his dog, which does the essential job of making sure that no lamb strays from the flock. You need to charge your batteries before you leave, but don’t worry because Ricard himself provides a lamb and toast breakfast. Now we can head with the flock into the beautiful Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park!
In Argençola, in the Anoia region, you’ll be accompanying a flock of 600 sheep and a herd of 15 goats that belong to Cal Serrats, a family company with land and animals which produces organic meat. Depending on the date you choose, you may or may not have to get up early (in fact, they don’t go out until midday in winter). What’s more, depending on the time of year you may discover other shepherding tasks, such as sheep shearing. Whenever you decide to go, you’re sure to get the lowdown on shepherding and get a chance to feed the smallest lambs.
Last of all, we head to Sant Boi, in the Baix Llobregat region. The La Gaiata Association, as part of the Ramats al Bosc project, gives you the chance to accompany shepherds for a few hours on Saturdays and Sundays in the forests surrounding Sant Boi. You’ll get to see how efficient goats are in clearing undergrowth with their grazing, thus preventing potential fires.
- Remember to wear suitable clothing and footwear for this outdoor activity.