Along with other tales from the LDWA 100, this encounter came in from Andrew Gordon who along with two friends was walking multiple loops of the Canterbury Outer Ring as part of his 100 effort.
I would add here that I hate cows in fields. Well, I don’t mind them in fields so much, just not ideally in the same fields as me. I will walk miles around a field full of cows rather than have to confront the damn things, I’ve heard too many stories of how they’ve hassled and scared walkers. And, let’s be honest, I’m not the bravest walker….
However, enough about me, I will let Andrew tell the story in his words 🙂 (and I love the Jurassic Park parallel!)
Imagine the scene, it’s dark, the three of us (Barbara, Andy and Dawn) are pretty tired at about the 90-mile mark on the final of four loops of the Canterbury Outer Ring on our 100 mile epic walk. We are hoping to meet family (including grandchildren) for a motivational boost at St Cosmus & St Damian Church on the Crab and Winkle Way. Just three small fields to cross on a public footpath to get to the church, the first with cattle in it. We’d been through there three times already with absolutely no problems…
Our support party had decided to walk towards us and had in fact entered the field with the cattle in it before us. We could see their head torches in the distance as we entered the field. Suddenly there was commotion as a 30-40 strong herd of calves, cows and two bulls started stampeding at great speed up and down the field at 90 degrees to our path across it! Our head torches caught the bright eyes, flaring noses, and flicking tails in all their terrifying glory.
If you’ve seen the stampede scene in Jurassic Park, you’ll be on the same page as us with what was happening. Our loved ones had the common sense to retreat thankfully to safety. Bravely, Andy refused to give in and continued forward in the hope of a parting of the waves, so to speak. However, the herd had a different idea and continued to stampede up and down. At the point they looked like turning and running at us, Barbara and Dawn did a complete U turn and started running back to the safety of the fence line (hearing Andy’s voice fading in the background saying ‘it’s not a good idea to run’). Andy retreated with more dignity than the girls that’s for sure.
We don’t know what had caused the cattle’s distress; maybe it was our head torches or perhaps we looked and smelt like cattle rustlers!
Much studying of OS Maps on a phone and we found a work around via a permissive way and footpath back onto the Crab and Winkle Way, eventually to meet up with our relieved supporters.
It was very scary at the time and, whilst none of us would describe it as a highlight, it will be a lasting memory for all of us. Perhaps our risk assessment skills need a bit of brushing up?