Grazing is an immemorial trade, as old as the pastures and pastors-accustomed to watching over their collective interests since long ago-who have also found a space to have fun, compete and exhibit high mountain traditions. Some customs that normally develop intimately, in the vegas that have traditionally been welcoming their activity.
The Pastor's Celebration, held every year at the end of July in the Vega de Enol, this 2019 is the 28 day of July, is one of the most emblematic encounters of a whole way of life. The celebration supposes an act of homage to that united community that has broken the barriers of time.
Near the sky, at more than a thousand meters of altitude, and in the inimitable place of the acquaintances Lakes of Covadonga, the tests take place, like the classic alpine race «Climbing the Porra de Enol», in which the serene trajín of other days of work is abandoned by the rush of a cross with uneven levels and against the clock. During the day also the horses are riding "bareback", without artificial frames, the forces are measured by pulling the rope by teams and another good number of manly skills in which muscle or technique wins. Parallel, groups of choirs and dances brighten up the event, and at the same time compete in unparalleled pieces of pastoral crafts.
The acts begin already in the morning. After the Mass in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd the Corporation and the Council of Pastors with the purpose of sharing the pastures of the mountain of Covadonga in an equitable way. Also elected by popular vote will be the new Pastor, in charge of ensuring that their traditional ordinances are complied with. Not everything is a celebration, because the pastors usually take advantage of the occasion to demand from the local or regional administration, as well as those responsible for the Park, greater attention to their problems. In this sense the last years the dominant preoccupation is the wolf, and the necessity to control his litters to protect the cattle cabins.
The celebrations and their annexed acts have been developing since 1939 and it has already been declared National Interest Festival. Apart from the festive appeal, we discovered in the quote that this human group has inherited an order of functioning, its own governing bodies and social uses for the benefit of the community, which always take precedence over individual interests.
The pastors of the Picos de Europa received the 1994 award Prince of Asturias Award to the Exemplary People. His Highness highlighted on that occasion the sacrifice of men and women in whom the preservation of historical, cultural and environmental heritage prevails. And is that the grazing is one of the architects of the beauty of the Asturian plains, because no one like them since ancient times has had greater knowledge or greater care in the care of these highlands. At the same time that they develop their activity they respect the environment and keep it clean, in optimal natural conditions so that it perpetuates itself, as its ancestors already knew it. Today there are many who continue to live on livestock, that during the winter it grazes in the valleys for between April and October to raise it to the ports. From past times pastors are organized by majadas, of public ownership, which normally correspond to the villages of origin of the shepherds in the low and middle mountain.
The Pastor's Party is unparalleled in Asturias, and certainly it is the best showcase to know a way of life in which the environment is above all, as an unquestionable totem and with the taboos themselves that requires careful attention and affectionate towards nature.
Access to the Pastor's Party
On Monday 25 of July, day of the Pastor's Feast, access will be free For all private vehicles, there will be no restriction for both the ascent and the descent.
The City Council of Cangas de Onís will provide a special public transport service with ticket that will link with the regular line Covadonga-Lagos. The climb will always include a stop at the Altu de Les Veleres, with direct access to the party. The exits of Cangas de Onís will be to the 9: 45 and 10: 45 hours. The departures from Covadonga will be 10: 00, 11: 00. 12: 00 and 13: 00 hours.
The descent will have the Buferrera car park as its only starting point. The departures to the city of Cangas de Onís will be 16: 00 and 17: 00 hours, with stop in Covadonga. There will also be two other exits with final in Covadonga at the 18: 00 and 19: 00 hours.
Photo report of Go with meText: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com