Faster than you can say You haven’t posted anything in ten days, Kathy went up and over the first fence stile we’d meet on the Cumbria Way. This one had generously-sized steps (some are downright stingy with those), and she also benefited from the counter-balance seen in her left hand, Peter Jackson’s excellent walking guide to the Cumbria Way.
Every year one reads accounts in English tabloids of People v. Bovine, wherein cows roust hikers walking an English footpath. While humorous images come to mind, the reality is they outweigh us and are more apt to act unpredictable, resulting in injuries (and rare fatalities) to walkers and their dogs. We’d crossed another field when this stile appeared, guarded by a bevy of bovines who, for that moment, found plentiful green grass more appealing than two Americans who didn’t dawdle in passing.
Besides fence stiles and cows, another feature of the Cumbria Way is the working farms it crosses. I remain amazed that English landowners and recreationists (hikers) are able (with strong disagreements sprinkled in) to coexist and make walking the national treasure it is. As we threaded through the barnyard buildings in this one the owner gave us a nod and a “Hiya.” WARNING: Don’t try this in Texas.