One of the most distinctive sounds of the Cabo de Gata is the ringing of goat bells. It is a haunting sound that carries a long way across the quiet valleys and hills and it always fills me with a strange, achingly painful happiness.
There are three herds of goats and sheep in this area so we come across them almost every day grazing by the roadsides, in the fields or on the hillsides, on the cliffs and the dunes by the seashore. Once it was terrifying when we were out on the cliffs and we saw two young billygoats headbutting each other on the edge of a sheer drop down on to the rocks below!
In this short video clip you can hear both goat bells and the blustery wind that is another common sound of the Cabo:
They are always accompanied by their shepherd and at least one dog - often two. The shepherds live closely with their animals. In Rodalquilar, there are two shabby old houses on smallholdings, both with a goat shed standing right beside them where the goats and sheep are penned at night. The animals are kept for their milk which is turned into cheese – the land here is too poor for dairy cattle so all the cheese comes from goats or sheep.
Other common sounds of the Cabo are the calling of the crested larks that we see everywhere in the countryside, the constant cooing of the collared doves flying about San José (I have seen as many as ten at a time roosting together on a rooftop), and the hypnotic sound of the sea.