Excuse Me, But Who's your Mate?

by Phil Goodman, Derbyshire

My partner and myself were recently walking in the Peak District near Brassington. A seemingly ordinary Sunday morning stroll took on a very different look when entering a series of open fields containing both sheep and cattle of many various breeds.

At first the field crossing was uneventful - but all of a sudden some of the sheep decided to take an interest in these strangely dressed idiots (speak for yourself, Ed) daring to impinge themselves on their territory.

It began with one or two sheep heading towards us to investigate further but soon turned into a mini stampede as all the others, including those on the surrounding hillside, thought this sounded like fun.

In no time at all we were surrounded by something like 100 very nosey and very noisy sheep, so nosey they were nipping at our heels.

The cattle now decided that this look like the high spot of their weekend and joined in the fun. Now the odd Friesian or Jersey I have no problem with but some of these were highland cattle (have you seen the size of the horns on those things at close quarters).

We had to organise ourselves so the other half carried on walking straight ahead looking where we were going while I walked backwards shoo-ing the menagerie away by flaying my arms madly and wafting the good old ordnance survey map in their face.

When I said they were nipping at our heels I mean it literally. We finally made it into the last field and were within sight of the safety of a stile to the road when I noticed our newly acquired friends were starting to disperse in a very hurried manner i.e. like the Red Sea parting before Moses.

The sound of thundering hooves soon explained the reason for this, two bloody great horses had decided this looked like a great lark and came rampaging through the middle of the lot to see what was happening.

We finally did make the safety of the stile totally breathless, but I have to say this was in the main to howlings with laughter.

When is it safe to walk through cattle? It can never be assumed that it is totally safe, they are big creatures when they get too close, always watch your back.


“I sympathise reading Phils updates on cattle herding around walkers. I've had problems today walking the abbey borders way and being approached on 3 sides by cattle which at the outset to the field (downhill) were invisible. I'm a novice to countryside walking, on my own ( no dog) and didn't know much about what to do. Probably wrongly I got out my whistle as there were loggers who ignored me at the top of the hill. I blew the whistle (reassuring only to me but no effect on the cattle) and edged back to the barbed wire fence very slowly, hurtling it as soon as possible. The rest of the day I've spent in fear of cows which has meant ten mile detours. Now I'm planning a walk tomorrow and preferring to risk the A roads and cars over cattle. Is there a way I can find out in advance if fields are clear of cows and plan a route accordingly? Many thanks”

Amy


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