A friend of mine has recently returned from Japan and agreed to come with me on a walk in the Lake district. It turned out to be a very interesting day.
As usual, before the walk, I downloaded the route to my Garmin GPS. I did this despite the route being described as “a fell walk in miniature, attainable almost without effort” by Wainwright. It turned out to be a good job.
When we arrived at the car park I remembered that statement and we started to head up the obvious path…at the back of the car park..in the opposite direction that we needed to go. The scenery was not what I was expecting – lots of spruce, few rocks. I checked the GPS, looked behind and up, saw the cairn on top of the opposite hill and did an about-turn.
The weather was drizzly, cloudy, windy, or rainy take your pick. But we could see the cairn in the distance.
Eventually, we found the right path a little up from the carpark. We had only walked a few minutes along the path when we were faced with one of the biggest bulls I have ever seen. It was huge, it was off to the side of the path. It looked at us but didn’t move or make any signs that it was bothered by our presence. So we calmly carried on with just a slight nagging feeling the bull was following, but it was not.
Just up the path, in the bracken were two cows and a calf too. They were happily eating and ignored us completely. So we carried on and enjoyed the views despite the weather.
See, rocky not sprucy. What a lovely day…and then we saw it…
Another bull. This time it was younger, and it immediately looked aggressive. It mooed and stamped its foot. We stood still, not quite knowing what to do. Should we go down to the other bull? Should we calmly walk passed this one? Should we climb straight up the rocks out of the way and call for help? Maybe the farmer can come or something??
My friend moved behind me and made it very clear she was not happy. I decided the best course of action was to remain calm and carry on. The young bull had other ideas..it charged. My “friend” gave me a push to start her run, I scrambled up some rocks, figuring bovines aren’t known for their climbing skills. The bull went down the path at a fair rate. In hindsight, I think that was its intended route to get away from us. The cows must use the paths to avoid the rocky landscape and we startled it. Either way, it was really scary to see more than a few pounds of beef and horns speeding towards you. We determined to carry on with the walk as our return route was now blocked by undercooked hamburgers.
Getting to the top was indeed fairly easy and we were still happy, due to not being trampled. We were slightly ticked off that there had been no warning about their presence. There is a sign about the walk at the beginning. Why not put a warning sign on that, especially when there is a calf involved?
Anyway, my friend said she did not want to return the way we came and I agreed. I hate cows.
Here is where all the money I paid for the GPS device and not just rely on my phone turned out to be very worth it. I checked it and there was another route, but we had to go off the main route a bit to get to it. The alternate route was a little steeper and a bit boggier. But with my handy walking stick, no worries. My friend didn’t have a stick, but she did push me in front of a charging bull, so sucked for her 😉
But eventually, we got down to a nice little lake. My friend made a walking stick out of a broken branch.
..and then she just got carried away making better walking sticks…
Oh look a road! Yes!! and best of all we had to climb a fence to get to this point. Fences and stiles = no cows. I love my gps. We got back to the car with no more issues. There was another car there by this point, a couple was there with their elderly mother. I asked if they were going up Gummer’s How and they said yes. I told them about the calf and bulls. They were already in two minds due to the weather, now they took their boots off and decided to go somewhere else.
And walk done, but not the drama. There were massive amounts of traffic on the way back. I noticed our reflection of headlights on the car in front and one of my headlights was broken. Goddamn it. So when we finally parked up in Manchester and I called the RAC. I know it was probably just a bulb, but both lights on that side were out and I would be driving on the motorway at night to get home. The RAC was great, but just as I was saying my reg number my phone cut out and said no more credit. Holy Moly could this day get better. I know I had just topped it up, I check the balance and it said 2000minutes!!! I was miffed but still happy. I put more credit on but in the meantime, the RAC dispatcher called back to check I was ok. Thank goodness. The RAC mechanic arrived in 20 mins and in 10 he had fixed it.
I am not sure my friend will be up for another walk, but it was an interesting day.