The Goatherd’s Shelter in El Garraf, Catalunya

Goatherd's shelter in El Garraf


I’ve walked El Garraf many times as it’s a lovely spot for Sweep to run around like a loon and I’ve spied the Goatherd’s shelter on numerous occasions. Today I decided to climb the hill and take a look at the old stone structure.

Set half way up a hill amid trees and overgrown foliage the shelter is a dome topped building with thick stone walls. A goatherd would have used the shelter at night or during hot days while his/her flock grazed the area.

The short climb through thistle type bushes and brambles left me bleeding gently but painlessly. I took some snaps of the shelter and mentally soaked up the construction in as I went around it. Slate bricks stacked and packed with earth and coated with tree sap for water-proofing support a dome roof which is covered in mossy grass. Inside the dome holds fast and even squatting by the entrance I could feel just how cold it is inside.

That cold would be extremely welcome in the hot summer months and the peace offered by the surrounding forest would make for a great respite. I sat and ate provisions with my back to the outer walls imagining how the goatherds would have lived.

The shelter seems disused now; not even recent kindling or ashes line its floor and although the nearby plants have been trampled into a sort of pathway there were no fresh tracks.

The goatherd’ s shelter would make an excellent stop over on a walk through the expansive El Garraf and the local fauna might provide a modicum of sustenance although clean water isn’t easy to find up there.

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