1,200 cows brought back home after spending summer in Pyrenees mountains
Around 30 farmers take animals back to valley after enjoying cooler weather during hottest season
Each year, hundreds of cows temporarily move up the mountains in the Catalan Pyrenees for the summer. The green surroundings and milder weather conditions make for a better environment for the animals during the hottest period of the year. Local livestock breeders started to bring the cows back home at the beginning of October, before being surprised by the first snowfall.
The animals spent the summer in the mountains of Llessui, an area surrounded by national parks near the border with Andorra. The region is ideal for farmers because there are stretches of land with no trees for kilometres, which makes the cows very visible.
Because of these favorable conditions, farmers from all over Catalonia take their animals to the Llessui area for the summer. Therefore, most of the cows go back home by truck instead of walking. They spend the rest of the year in areas like Solsonès, Cerdanya and Berguedà in northern and central Catalonia.
No early return
To collect the animals after the hot season, herdsmen spread out and walk up and down the mountain to lead the cows to esplanades. These vast open areas are used to separate the cows, group them by owner, and prepare them for the way back. In this case, around 30 people joined forces to bring the animals down to the Àssua valley.
In the beginning of the summer an early return of the animals was expected due to continuous drought. Josep Anton Canudes, a farmer from Berguedà, explained that the rainfall in August created a healthy environment for the animals again as the mountains turned green, giving the cows enough food to sustain themselves for a while longer.
The livestock breeders are all satisfied with the way the animals have come down.