Dealing with Cows

This is an extract from an article published by the Professional Association of Leaders of Outdoor Education about the dangers of crossing a field with cows in.  Each year there are reports of people who have been attacked, or even trampled to death, by cows whilst out walking or approaching crags. Earlier this month, BMC member Simon Coldrick was badly injured after a cow attacked him as he led a fell race on the edge of Sheffield.

Simon, an accomplished climber, runner and cyclist from Chinley, Derbyshire, was taking part in the fell race when he was attacked by a cow in a field near the top of the Limb Valley, near Ringinglow.  He was crossing the field, which had around 20 cows in it, when he was rushed by a herd of cattle, thrown in the air by a cow and trampled. Other runners and race marshalls helped at the scene until paramedics arrived. Simon, who had fractured eight ribs, his shoulder and a bone on his spine, was taken to hospital where he had surgery to strengthen his rib cage with metal plates.

Simon said: "I didn't know whether to go around the cows or go through the middle. There wasn't much space around the outside and I didn't want to get trapped between the cows and the wall so I carried on along the track in the middle of the field and hoped they would shift on a bit. As it was a race I had a slightly different head on than if I had been walking or running on my own.  

"I think that a combination of things freaked out the cows. It was thundery weather, there were calves in the field and it was evening when apparently cows can go a bit berserk. At the hospital they even remarked that it was cow trampling season. I was lucky really and hope something good can come out of this by making people more aware of the dangers."  [ . . . ]

So what should you do? Keep calm and carry on?

If you find yourself in a field of suddenly wary cattle, move away as carefully and quietly as possible [ . . . ]

Those without canine companions should follow similar advice: move away calmly, do not panic and make no sudden noises. Chances are the cows will leave you alone once they establish that you pose no threat.

If you walk through a field of cows and there happen to be calves, think twice; if you can, go another way and avoid crossing fields.

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