Took my more lively dog for a walk this morning and decided to combine it with a trip to the shops in the nearby town.
I decided to take a shortcut across fields to town and The Dog was off lead and enjoying her freedom. As we entered a small field to walk across to a nearby stile, I was a little perturbed to see a solitary cow, calmly scratching its head on the wooden post of the stile – usually where there’s only sheep grazing. As far as I could see, the cow was on its own, so with a bit of shooing and extravagant arm waving, I thought he would trot off. So The Dog and I were confident as we strolled towards the stile, though The Dog did her “I’m a big black dog” and barked at it and lunged towards the cow, though mercifully stopped by her leash which I had quickly attached. (She’s part collie and loves rounding things up).
The cow, somewhat startled staggered back and gave us a thoughtful stare. He was indeed a young bull (so I will stop calling him a cow) and after some consideration, galloped off to our left into an adjoining field. Phew. We came up to the stile and The Dog had efficiently jumped over it, when I heard a noise to my left. It sounded very much the thundering of many hooves and not waiting to actually see visual evidence, hauled The Dog back quickly to my side of the stile.
The original brown bull skidded to a halt back into the field, with a look of surprised bravado. Hot on his heels was about 15 of his mates, intrigued by the brown bull’s excited intrusion into their lives. You can imagine the panted conversation.
“Here, come and have a look. There’s a human and a dog thinking of coming in our field. Maybe we could follow them – it will liven up our day. I don’t know about you but I’m fed up grazing – this will be a great little diversion”.
So he had called his mates to have a look or maybe he was just a wimp and wanted safety in numbers. Nevertheless it had changed my perspective of the situation considerably. These were large year old male stirks (hope I’ve got that detail right), all frisky and skittish. Every time The Dog barked, they all took a step back and jostled each other, but also egging each other to go and check us out. “Go on, Dave, go and have a closer look” they seemed to be saying, nudging one of their larger colleagues who dug his heels in and refused. Finally, one of the braver bulls rolled his eyes with impatience and strode purposefully towards us – it was our turn to take several steps back and jostle each other. Of course, this was the signal for them all to stride en masses towards the stile, all snorting, shaking their heads and looking rather intimidating.
I looked at The Dog and she looked at me. “Well, don’t think we’re going this way” I told her. She was all for rounding them up and coralling them to a corner of the field. Denying my dog her inner Collie, I turned on my heels and retraced our steps. It meant walking all the way back to the lane and then do the mile trip on the main road. I sighed, cursing the farmer for putting his bulls in a field with a public footpath across it. Cattle have been known for trampling and killing people especially ones with dogs, so I wasn’t keen to test this theory and be mashed to a pulp.
It also denied you, dear reader, of a detailed commentary of this short but pleasant walk, with stunning autumnal views through meadows and fields and a half decent blog. I will return in a few weeks back along this route hoping a) the farmer had put them in another field or b) they are so far in the distance that I have a sporting chance of outrunning them if they are inclined to check me out again………..