In the Iberian Peninsula the practice of transhumance is some 6,000 years old, with Neolithic pastoralists following the ancient paths traced over millions of years by wild herbivores. The long distance between southern valleys and northern mountains, about 500 Km of plains that are extremely cold in winter and very dry and hot in summertime, forces the herds to travel four or five weeks in spring, and the same period back in autumn. Each herd is led normally by five people, each with one shepherd dog to handle the livestock, and five defence dogs to protect the herd against wolves and bears. A vast network of drover roads, 125,000 Km long with a total area of over 400,000 hectares, links together the different Spanish regions. Today transhumance in the Iberian Peninsula is being revived – a revival which is welcomed and celebrated by the people of Spain.
Gema Arrugaeta’s wonderful selection of photos portray the noble Spanish transhumance. Gema Arrugaeta is a professional photographer who lives in natural surroundings in the mountains of Navarre. Throughout her career she has collaborated with different specialist magazines such as National Geographic, Altair and Integral. She manages her own photographic archive that at present includes 140,000 photographs taken throughout her professional photography career and from around the world – but above all, from Spain.
Website and portfolio links: www.gema-arrugaeta.com

 

Gema Arrugaeta for On The Move