Monday, 27 May 2013

Charged by cows

Having nearly completed a circular walk of Wild Bank Hill I decided to take a short cut back to Mottram Old Road as recommended by Bill from Walks in Tameside. The route I discovered by myself is nearly a mile longer and Bill's route is definitely better so that is the route I used.

When I reached the farmland at the lower edges of Wild Bank Hill I had to walk through a field of cows to get to Mottram Old Road. I had my brand new Nokia Lumia 920 with me and the cows presented themselves as ideal subjects to try out the phone's camera (the 920 is know to have an awesome camera) so I started taking pictures of a cow munching grass, while being careful to avoid the large bull nearby.

The cow did not seem unduly perturbed and the bull was totally indifferent so after having photographed the cow I carried on downwards towards the exit from the field.

As I was walking away from the cow which I had just photographed, it started mooing, it was then joined by other cows but not the bull. He remained on his own watching the spectacle as the cows started to gather to form a herd.

I have heard that cows can become aggressive towards walkers, but only when dogs are present. I had no dog with me, unless the invisible spirit of one of my deceased dogs was in tow so I did not think there was any reason to panic.

Slowly but surely the herd that had formed started walking towards to me and I though this was interesting so I decided to see how good the video capture on my new phone was and started filming as they walked towards me.

As I walked backwards filming, the herd increased their speed so I looked over my shoulder to double check how far the Mottram Old Road exit was, it was about a 400 metres and I thought if it come to it I could easily outrun them - I was wrong.

Soon their slow methodical walk had turned into a trot, and as they neared, I decided that in this situation discretion would be the better form of valour, and with that thought in mind I started to run. Next thing I have a full on stampede heading in my direction and the stampeding cattle were gaining quicker than I could run; this now becomes a life or death situation, seriously, they were gaining on me and they looked angry.

I knew I would never make it to the Mottram Old Road exit so I headed towards a small barbed wire fence which I quickly leapt with the stampede only yards behind. I was fearful that the fence would be no deterrent as the herd could have flattened it in seconds but luckily for me, they didn't. However they did wilfully form a cordon which prevented me from reaching the exit I had originally planned to use.

That was the end of the drama. The cows were not to blame, it was I who had trespassed into their field so I have no complaints there, but please do take this as a first hand account of the dangers a herd of cows can pose to casual walkers. If they decided to charge when I was in open country with no wall or fence to leap, I would have been flattened and that's a fact.


Anonymous said...

nice cow

Britain's killer cows have form said...

To urbanites, cows are more a form of rural furniture than animal - docile food machines forever processing grass into milk and beef, easily ignored by those strolling through the vast super-park that is the modern British countryside. But, as events this week have shown, cows can be anything but docile; killers, in fact.

Have you herd said...

NEVER run, they WILL charge and they WILL catch you.
Stick to the edge of the field always keeping an escape route, over a fence or whatever, nearby. If they start to approach too close, you should turn and face them, spread yourself as wide as possible and walk towards them shouting, 'Go On!' or similar. I've had to do this on dozens of occasions and it has always worked.
The key thing is to leave yourself with an escape route, if you have to trespass in an adjoining field, do it rather than go in their field.
Turning your back and/or running simply invites them to attack.

Bill said...

Interesting story TC. The field you mention almost always has cattle in it. A similar incident happened to me elsewhere a couple of years ago.

This incident happened while walking through a large field near Hartshead Pike at the bottom of Broadcarr Lane, Mossley. It is a route which I have used many times before.

I came across what looked like young cows about 300 metres away on a nearby hillside. As I got to the centre of the field with no escape possible they came charging down at me. At 67 my running days are over, and with animals this isn't recommended anyway, so I stood my ground.

Being short sighted I soon realised they were bullocks and around 40 in number. Thankfully they stopped about 6' away and surrounded me in an arc. I started to walk away, slowly heading towards a fence and they followed me keeping the same distance away.

Thinking attack is the best form of defence I moved towards the nearest one waving my walking pole in the air and shouting. Luckily they backed off. I had to repeat this several more times before I reached safety.

Now I am very wary of any cattle and keep a wide berth especially if they have young with them. Horses though cause me more concern as they can be so unpredictable.

I always keep near a fence or wall when cattle or horses are in a field and constantly keep an eye open for their behaviour.

As you know it can be a frightening experience. Cattle have been the cause of a few deaths recently with people being trampled, usually those with dogs in tow.


Chandler man arrested for secretly filming neighbor said...

Is illegal in this Country to spy on your neighbours secretly filming them?

Tameside in Bloom said...

We've just had a VIP visitor at the Cemetery Rd horticultural centre. The leader of the Conservatives John Bell. He looked smart in his purple pullover and big posh Jaguar. He was pleasant and made himself known to the staff. It's a pity more VIP's aren't as pleasant.

yip,yip,yip, poo, poo said...

yeah but he's useless

Have you herd said...

They reckon you should let the dog off the lead if cows approach as they'll follow it instead of you and it can easily outrun them.

Bovine cranial penetration said...

Or, carry a boltgun in your rucksack.

Anonymous said...

That's the route I always use going up Wild Bank, which often has no cows, though I haven't been up for a couple of years. When there are cows I'd climb into the the adjacent field until I'm close to the top. Watching your vid my cautious approach is clearly vindicated.

Homes create more 'human happiness' than fields, Planning Minister claims said...

Forget Wildbank Hill. Prepare for Wildbank Housing estate if this enemy of the countryside has his way. Why the hell do we keep having to build new homes when every study suggests birth rates are in decline? It makes no sense.

Nick Boles said that communities who refused to co-operate with the government's plans will risk losing their hospitals and high street shops as their populations shrink.

Mr Boles told the Daily Mail that he understands that rural campaigners are "very worried" when greenfield land is replaced by 'the sheer ugliness and soullessness of housing estates'.

He argued that current planning laws, however, are sending Britain "back to the 19th century" when only the wealthiest were able to buy houses to live in.

He said: "The sum of human happiness that is created by the houses that are being built is vastly greater than the economic, social and environmental value of a field that was growing wheat or rape."

Greenfield land in Mr Boles's Grantham constituency has been earmarked for a 7,000 home development.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England chief executive Shaun Spiers said the moves could damage both the countryside and town centres.

He told the Daily Mail: ‘Housing can make people happier than fields but that doesn’t mean it is necessary to spoil fields to produce the new houses that we need.

He's a facile little twerp. said...

England is the most densely populated coutry in Europe. We only grow enough food for 30% of our people. We are short of water and will be short of electricity soon. And you want more homes and more people? Madness!

Nick Boles, even more proof that politicians are a complete waste of space. Cut the number of MPs to one per million of the population and save money! Come to that just shut Westminster and let Brussels do all the work.

Nick Boles…another political square peg hammered into a round hole….Speaking of holes, has Boles repaid the expenses he claimed from the taxpayer so that he could learn to say not tonight dear in Hebrew to his Israeli husband?

Give a young ambitious man a portfolio and watch him sell out every principal that he might once have had. Houses bring happiness, HS2 brings houses, two mantras from the inimitable Mr Boles. What can you say other than does the man have shares in a development company (after all, some of the leading lights in Government with concern for climate related portfolios have great incomes from AGW related businesses).

What constitutes a field? I ask because there is many a field about Britain being left deliberately un-developed, perhaps the visual expressions of developers' land banks; fields that are not houses, not nature and not farming, just neglected waiting for the golden bonus,

Anonymous said...,%20UK&date=2013-03#chart_crime_trend
Category Total Percentage
Under investigation
Under investigation 69 3.7%
No further action
No further action at this time 1273 68.1%
Unable to prosecute suspect 0 0.0%
Offender dealt with by police
Offender given a caution 100 5.4%
Local resolution 117 6.3%
Offender given penalty notice 18 1.0%
Offender sent to court
Suspect charged 206 11.0%
Suspect charged as part of another case 22 1.2%
Offender dealt with at court
Offender given absolute discharge 0 0.0%
Offender given community sentence 22 1.2%
Offender ordered to pay compensation 1 0.1%
Offender given conditional discharge 6 0.3%
Offender deprived of property 1 0.1%
Offender fined 1 0.1%
Offender sent to prison 12 0.6%
Defendant found not guilty 7 0.4%
Offender otherwise dealt with 1 0.1%
Defendant sent to Crown Court 1 0.1%
Offender given suspended prison sentence 8 0.4%
Court case unable to proceed 3 0.2%

Soft on Penalties without a doubt even when someone is actually caught.

Tameside Citizen said...

Thanks for all the feedback. Next time I enter a field of cows I will be wiser.

Bill, I had an aggressive and extremely large horse try it on with me on the fields near Reddish Vale, It approached me and started pushing me with its head. It was far stronger than I but I wasn’t particularly worried as the other horses nearby did not join in. The cows on the other hand do genuinely seem to operate as a team, even blocking my exit in a bid to prevent me passing.

By the way Bill, I often read your website and you have lots of features on fantastic walks. I love the walk on Rob Roy Way and would one day love to try it. Out of all the walks you have done both at home and abroad, if you had to choose on as your absolute favourite, which one would it be?

Bill said...

TC, that is a very difficult question to answer. I would probably list 7 walks for entirely different reasons.

1. For wilderness walking - The Southern Upland Way.

2. For scenic countryside walking - Offa's Dyke.

3. For a variety of scenery - The Coast To Coast Walk.

4. For walking in Scotland - The West Highland Way.

5. Mountain walking - Pico Grande in Madeira.

6. Coastal walking - The North Coast Path in Madeira.

7. Local walking - Matley>Wild Bank Hill>Hollingworthall Moor>The Swineshaw Reservoirs>Harridge Pike Circular>Walkerwood>Ashtonhill Cross>Matley.

OK TC, if you are really putting me on the spot I would have to say Pico Grande in Madeira.

Here's a link to a photograph of it Hover your mouse over the picture for more detail.

It's a walk with stunning scenery all around. I did it for the 4th time just over a week ago.

PS If you are looking to do a long distance walk in Scotland, the West Highland Way is a far better walk than The Rob Roy way.


And it's free said...

I remember doing a circular walk about fifteen years ago along Offa's Dyke, near Longtown. Climbing first to Red Daren then along the high up moorland path, with the borderland moors on one side and the the glorious, unspoiled Herefordshire countryside below on the other. It was a perfect summer's day. Walks like that stay with you.

Tameside Citizen said...

Thanks for such an informative response Bill.

I have to say, I had no idea where Madeira was - and my world geography is usually pretty good, for some reason all that kept popping into my mind when I was thinking of Madeira was a sponge cake, but now I know and I must agree after seeing that photograph; it is absolutely stunning. It has a look of the Norwegian Fiords, have you ever been to the Fjords Bill? If not and looking at your absolute favourite place, I think you would love a trip there.

Bill said...

Hi TC, no I have never visited the Norwegian Fjords - far too cold for me, I like the sun.

Incidentally, the Madeira cake you can buy here is nothing like the cake actually produced in Madeira.


Anonymous said...

There are calves in the field. This is probably why they turned a bit aggressive, to protect them. Incidentally, buzzards have be known to attack people who get to close to their nests as well as swans, Canada geese and a lot of other birds.