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Caterpillar Tracked Mechanical Donkeys

The ingenuity of humanity is quite mind-blowing. Does it not sometimes make you wonder how on earth these massive monastery buildings or defence towers were erected on relatively high mountains, here in Mallorca, when there was no road going up, let’s say five hundred years ago, and when there were no helicopters or lorries or other such wonderful modern implements available, when in fact not even the power engine had been invented yet, nor even the steam engine?

I tell you how the folks of old did it. They used the donkey. The history of Mallorca would be quite different without the ingenious use of donkeys or mules. These hoofed bestias have been used for centuries here on the island to carry loads and building material and water and whatever else to wherever these should be needed, with camino in existence or without.

Sadly, these ases (donkeys) or mulas (mules) are not much in demand any more, not here in Mallorca nor elsewhere. Instead, the caterpillar tracked mechanical donkey of mainly Japanese provenance seems to be taking over. Lately, I have seen these little power monsters with increasing frequency here on the island. Traditional small-scale farming is on the retreat as well, and the youngsters who might have inherited their family’s fields without knowing how to till the land because they have an office job or else, work in hotels or restaurants or drive a bus, seem more intrigued by mechanized toy gadgets such as the one shown in the photo (top).

The problem is that these caterpillar track barrows are quite lethal when it comes to any sensitive handling of old and historic tracks and caminos, for instance of the dry stone category. Historic Camins de pedra en sec have been lovingly restored over the last ten or fifteen years in the Serra de Tramuntana. An increasing amount of damage to these old caminos has been reported to the authorities, in all likelihood caused by the caterpillar tracked barrows, each capable of carrying up to 600 kilogrammes or so and causing the dry stones to be dislodged or broken under the weight and due to the friction caused.

I wish some people would come to their senses.

The photo (top) was taken near Deià, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: July 4th, 2012. The time was 14:39:04. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of

Thank you very much.

2 replies »

    • hi olive,
      thank you for your kind words regarding my blog. i am glad you noticed the heart-shaped boulder in the photo. i did not notice the shape when i took the photograph in situ but did when i saw the photo on my screen. i don’t think it is symbolic other than being natural and nature being full of symbolic hints for those with an open eye – and heart.

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