Trip Start Jul 05, 2005
Trip End Jul 20, 2005

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Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Monday, April 3, 2006

You get to interact with a lot of animals whilst walking the Pennine Way. No.. I don't mean it like that... Not in a... No, that's just unpleasant.

What I mean is, there are a lot of animals kicking about. From solitary sheep defying gravity by clinging to mountainsides in high winds, working out whatever lush greens that their mates just didn't dare eat, to fields clearly marked 'beware of the bull', and ramblers inside running for their lives...

The animal you see most of is the Sheep. I've never really got on with sheep, as an animal. They are pretty pointless creatures, all told. From their herd mentality to their vacant, milky eyes, they just seem to be walking lamb chops. But what really gets me is the amount of shitting they do. Everywhere. You can't walk ten paces without stepping in it. And what we soon noticed is that they shit on the paths on purpose That's right - there's proportionally more shit on the paths than in any other part of the field. Some would argue that this is because animals themselves use paths, and often create them. But not me. I think they do it for a laugh. So maybe there's some kind of malevolent cunning at work there. But I doubt it.

Karim was scared of horses. Seriously. Horses. I don't mean wild herds of stallions, charging through the countryside on kill crazy rampages, I mean single, solitary horses stood in fields by stables, with saddles on them and people near them and everything, looking disinterested as they chew messily on some straw, wondering which fat little human was going to sit on them next and how to get the bit of metal out of their mouth.

He was convinced they were out to get him. So much so, that when we had to walk through a field with a horse in it, he would hold me in front of him like a shield, and march me across, using me as cover against the satanic equines. It got to the stage where I found myself apologising to the horses.

Personally, I was no big fan of cows. It all harked back to a midnight encounter with a girl, a field, a feeding shed and thirty cows stood around us in a circle. And bulls just scared me shitless. But that's a rational fear - they're mad. I grew up with comics and cartoons guaranteeing me that if I went into a field with a bull in it, I would soon be vaulting over the fence as the horn rammed me in the arse, whilst screaming "Oooyah!" in big, bold letters.

All Karim had was Black Beauty, which if memory serves was about a horse that went around pulling people out of wells and probably solving crimes and stuff.

So I felt I won on the 'who's the most scared of animals' front.
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