Ovine obstacles, and other orations

Posted on July 11, 2012 by admin

In Dumfries and Galloway, Dalry, Moffat on 11 July, 2012

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”[1]. Similarly idiomatically, “Having people cook you an enormous breakfast is definitely not to be sniffed at, but if they give you access to a kitchen you can cook yourself chorizo and cheddar omelette sandwiches (and a piece of toast in the evening if you get peckish)”. Sufficiently stocked up with my gourmet lunchbox, I was off. And continued to be off for a whole 20 minutes before Trouble crossed by dramatic path. Trouble, the it-girl daughter of this sleuth’s ex-military employer. She was beautiful, and she knew it It was a mob of sheep.  I stumbled upon them at exactly the wrong time. As they were in the road. In front of me. Which is not where they usually belong. The gate to their field was open, the gate to a field a couple of metres down and across the road was open, and a shepherd was yelling some shit in the distance, but remained unsighted. It looked like the sheep had done this sort of complex road traverse before, and he’d just left them to it[2]. This may have been a bit hopeful, as they’d been trusted to cross the A702, and my arrival had startled the little blighters, and instead of walking down the road towards me and happily entering the desired field, they trotted away in the other direction in a scared manner, whilst simultaneously trying to eat as much of the grassy verge along the road as possible. This was amusing and cute, until I realised I couldn’t get past them, as they were all scaredy and in the way, and crucially the road was narrow and had stone walls on both sides so they couldn’t get out of the way. Even when they got spooked and leapt straight up in the air in panic, they didn’t really get out of the way. I carried on cycling slowly behind them, as they continued like this, occasionally bleating at me and posturing as you may imagine angry scared sheep might.

[repeat for 20 mins]

Like the clever sheep that they were, they did know what a gate in a fence looked like, and every time they trotted past one in their attempts to escape the demon cyclist chasing them, they’d swarm in and try and get through it, until they realised it was closed. They’d then pile backwards back into the road in an even more intense panic. I eventually managed to get past when they found a closed gate with enough space in front of it for all of them to pile into in an attempt to escape, and which left a semi-clear roadway behind. So I triumphantly snuck past. They stayed there in front of the gate, petrified and confused, until I cycled off over the horizon. I have no idea what happened to them when a car wanted to get passed.

That was undoubtedly the most exciting thing that happened, aside from asking for directions when trying to get to Ae.

Confused Englishman: “Excuse me, which way is it to Ae?”

Local Scotsman: “Eh?”

CE: “Yes”

LS: “I don’t read ya lad”

CE: “Oh. How do I get to Ae, as in in Ae forest?

LS: “Oh AE. Aye, it’s that a way”

CE: “To Ae?”

LS: “Aye”

On all accounts, a successful day: my bike is now/still in fine fettle; as are my knees; and I learnt that loggers can be good (like these forestry commission ones) and aren’t all bad (like the ones in Disney and films).

Tomorrow I continue along the scenic route to Edinburgh, with a stop off tomorrow at Bowhill to see the heads in the Tweed valley.

[1] Not applicable in deserts.
[2] Either this, or some idiot left a bunch of fields open, and the sheep got curious/one sheep accidentally wandered into the road, and the rest followed it.

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