The seasonal sheep ‘transhumance’ from Rocamadour to Luzech in the Lot, which has become a magnet for tourist and hikers, culimates this weekend when the animals reach their summer pasture.
Their five-stage journey began on Tuesday and they will have covered 70km along small paths and narrow roads by the time they reach their destination. The animals, shepherds and walkers following on behind have been blessed with fine weather.
If the sociability element pleases those humans who joined in, it should not obscure the main reason transhumance still exists: by moving the animals, the shepherds help landowners clear their scrubland and prevent the risk of fire.
The Transhumance programme in Quercy brings together some 50 breeders and 1,500 owners and nine years after it first took place, some 4,000 hectares of land have already been rehabilitated by the sheep.
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For the first time this year, a gourmet market will greet those arriving in Luzech, thanks to the Lot food promotion group – Comité de Promotion des Produits du Lot.
This will take place on Saturday at Plane de Blanchard, where several local producers will be present. In addition to grilled Quercy lamb, you can take your pick from regional specialities such as duck dishes, Rocamadour cheese, Croustilot bread, Périgord walnuts and Quercy saffron – washed down by a glass or two of Cahors and Côtes du Lot wines.