Near-miss Story – Ilse’s Tale

I live in Belgium and was in Wales with my husband on a four-day hiking holiday along the famous Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. On the 13th July, 2017, we set off from Milford Haven, heading for a B&B in Dale. 

We were near St Ishmaels. There was just the two of us, and we didn’t have a dog. We had just passed some old bunkers, and the path was narrow with lots of shrubs. To the left was the cliff and the sea. To our right was a barbed wire fence and a meadow.

Suddenly we saw a bull. Behind him were several cows. They were right on the path. The bull was making a lot of noise.

 We were so frightened. Shaking like leaves.

 Luckily, there was a nearby gate, and we could escape through the gate and into the meadow. Safely on the other side of the fence, we took a photograph of the bull (see above).

 Suddenly, he turned around and went away, just as if he wanted to return back to the farm. Thinking it was safe, we left the meadow and started back along the path. To our horror, the bull and the cows returned. We were so scared, in shock, and almost paralysed by fear, but we managed to escape through the fence again.

Eventually the animals left. We were too frightened to go forwards, so we turned back and tried to make our way from there to St Ishmaels. We walked for miles and miles. Got lost. Eventually we had to catch a bus in order to get to our B&B in Dale.

 We weren’t injured, but we were very badly scared.

The strange thing about is that the bull and the cows were actually on the very narrow coastal path, and we had to escape into the meadow. It should have been the opposite way round!

 Suppose we had encountered the bull at another point, where the coast path then was even narrower, and where there was no fence to get safely behind? On our left side were cliffs. What would have happened?

 I didn’t report the problem at the time, but later I sent some pictures of the beautiful coast in Wales to http://www.pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk/ and I also sent the bull picture and our story of the bull in the neighbourhood of St Ishmael’s. I got an answer from a lady called Rebecca Evans, and she told me she will be meeting the farmer next week.

 As walkers, we know there is advice on how to walk across a large field with livestock, such as cows, bulls, ponies, etc. But being confronted by a bull and cows on a narrow path with no way out… what is the advice for that specific situation?


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