Cows, barbed wire and a life lesson

Something funny happened to me on my long run today. I’m taking it as a life lesson, so I’ll share it so you can learn from it as well.

I decided I’d better fit my long run in today, and planned a beautiful 10 mile route from Chippenham along the River Avon, then along the Wilts and Berks canal to the National Trust village of Lacock. As ever, I just can’t resist taking photographs as I go:-

A previously neglected corner of Chippenham
A previously neglected corner of Chippenham
Rebuilding the top lock
Rebuilding the top lock
A boat - never seen one on the canal before
A boat – never seen one on the canal before

Shortly after this section the path crosses several fields before eventually winding down to Lacock. As I entered the first field, I spotted this:-

Cows - my nemesis
Cows – my nemesis

Look closely –  yes, cows. I am scared of cows. Well, I’m reluctant to run through a field of the bovine monsters – have you seen how big they are, close up?! After a close encounter with a pair of amorous bulls on the Marshfield Mudlark in 2013 I reserve the right to stand on my moral high ground and refuse to run near them.

I stood on the edge of the field and dithered for quite a while. I didn’t want to abandon my run and turn back, but I really didn’t want to go past the cows. Inspiration struck, and I decided to leave the footpath and make a detour through some neighbouring fields. Unfortunately this meant crawling on my belly under a gate adorned with barbed wire, running along the rough edge of a field of maize, crashing through a scrubby hedge with another wriggle under barbed wire, then around another field. Success!
I made it to Lacock and ran though the village, no doubt spoiling several tourists’ photos, past the National Trust tearooms (showing great willpower) and then headed back the way I’d come. As I crossed a field on the edge of Lacock I had to overtake a couple of walkers, the sort of walkers where the man has a large floppy brimmed hat, and the woman has sensible walking shoes and a floral top.* I said “hello”, they said “good morning” in a slightly snooty way, and I ran on.

At the bottom edge of the cow-infested field I again set off on my detour through hedges, maize and barbed wire. I was just crawling on my belly under the final gate, when I looked up and guess who had caught me up? Yes, Mr and Mrs Slightly Snooty.

“I see you braved the cows!” I called out whilst casually brushing mud off my legs.
“They’re only heifers” I was grumpily informed. I sighed, and made a mental note that it’s hard to take the moral high ground when you’ve just been spotted face down in the mud under a gate. I think that’s a good life lesson to take away from that incident.

* I’m making no judgements, just setting the scene.

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