North of Wells rises up into the Mendip hills. Spring is later here, the wild garlic isn’t flowering yet. There is a big drop in temperature going up the hill then cold air hits me in full at the top. Lots of the trees haven’t got their leaves yet which surprises me. Thankfully there is a large tree with buttressing roots and a me-sized nook, so I shelter out of the wind to eat my oat bar. The cold wind can drain your energy really quickly without you realising and when you’ve got a long way to go it’s not a good idea to try and tough it out. I found that as soon as the cold wind picked up it was a good idea to put on my waterproof jacket to keep the wind out.
After I sat down, a couple of riders came past, training for the golden horseshoe rise across exmoor. It made me think of Surfers Against Sewage. Although surfers are not primarily environmentalists they had mobilised effectively to campaign against pollution. Horse Riders against Climate Change? I wondered what issues were immediate to compel people to act. Climate change affects everything, yet it is harder for most people to react to than simple pollution.
The large lakes and open hilly vistas in the Mendips filled me with joy. I was turned, enjoying one such magnificent view when a bullock came over the brow of the hill…Then another came over the top. I stopped admiring, and started walking firmly towards where I hoped the stile would be, over the hill. As I crested the rise I saw that it was a very large field indeed. I was halfway across it and the other fifteen to twenty bullocks quickly mobilized in front of me.
My heart beat banged as I put my arms out either side of me and began to walk in a dead straight line to the stile. Cows have poor eyesight and if you use your arms or a stick, they believe you are much bigger. Generally cows don’t seem to charge unless they are startled, you have a dog or you get between them and their young. But bullocks, well, they can be a tad frisky.
The young cattle came from across the field to form a loose block facing me, blocking my way.
“Cuuuuuming throooo. Cuuuuuming throooo.” I said loudly and calmly which made them stop and some of them retreated. After a minute, a couple of them seemed to regain their courage, egged on by the others and moved towards me with their heads down, legs jumping and stamping.
I was very relieved that Steph and Miranda were not there. “They would not be enjoying this at all.” I thought.
Two of the bullocks were stamping their feet.
Then one broke away and began to trot towards me, head down.