Colin and his dog

It was May 2017, and we were walking near Morwenstow (on the Devon/Cornwall border). There were four of us, and we had our large Estrela Mountain Dog on a lead. We had left the South West Coast Path and were heading inland to Morwenstow village, following along a public right of way as marked on the Ordnance Survey map for the area.

Suddenly, over the horizon appeared about 15 head of young Friesians running at speed. Within seconds they had our dog (now slipped from the lead) at bay against a sheer cliff.

Thank goodness there were four of us, and by shouting and judicious use of walking poles we were able to clear a way to run the 800 metres or so along the field edge to the next stile. Unluckily the field tapered, and we were almost headed off at the very end by these very aggressive animals who could easily outrun us and our dog. They showed absolutely no fear.

We made it by seconds and narrowly avoided a very ugly incident as these animals were way more than ‘just curious’.

Even a year later we are super aware of any cattle on our side of the fence… and this has in all honesty greatly affected both our enjoyment of the countryside in general and of Cornwall in particular.

A note to the ‘authorities’ … quite apart from issues of justice and compensation, unless the threat from livestock can properly be brought under control you risk losing considerable tourist ££s as well.

I had always thought that dairy cattle were milder mannered than beef cattle but apparently every rule has its exceptions, and the ‘rules’ for dealing with these incidents are worse than useless.


Photo credit: the featured photo of an Estrela Mountain Dog was modified by COWS from an original by Pleple2000 on Wikimedia, and is shared under Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 3.0

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