So it’s lovely here in Littleborough, where I live. Right on the cusp of Greater Manchester, bordering West Yorkshire, it’s a beautiful part of the world. Twenty minutes after walking out of my front door, I can be atop a hill in the Pennines, surveying Rochdale, Manchester and Beetham Tower in the distance. On a clear day, you can even see all the way to Wales!
Please forgive my dreadful phone and it’s dreadful camera
The Pennines are magnificent! Desolate, curvaceous and unbridled, they crash like waves in a stormy sea, rolling continuously from the Peak District in the North Midlands through Lancashire and Yorkshire and past the Cumbrian Fells. I feel honoured to have them on my doorstop and would f8 anyone who claimed that there was a trail in the UK (perhaps the world but there I go again, spouting my bias opinions!) more beautiful than the Pennine Way.
Today, it is Wednesday the 8th of March, and at around 13:00 hours I thought I’d go for a walk up to one of the Wind-farms, to see if, up close, they appeared as a blot on the landscape; I have never been sceptical because I like renewable energy sources, but my father hates them. As a matter of fact I find the low drone of the turbines quite relaxing, and it isn’t as loud as you’d think. Anyway, the sun was shining and it was a glorious day for a walk!
Now, with much of our countryside being farmland, I’m used to passing sheep, and I always take care not to startle them. It’s certainly not lambing season this far north, and anyway, I’ve walked loooaaaads of times with the little lambs frolicking about and being curious- never had a problem! I suppose the ewes are preggers right now, but still… I didn’t expect to run into any trouble.
So, I’m at the wind-turbines, and I don’t suppose many people walk right up to them. I spot a gate in the distance, and I’m in high spirits, as I plan on walking all the way to Hebden Bridge and perhaps I might even ascend the steep hill up to Heptonstall to visit Sylvia Plath’s grave (It is International Women’s Day, after all)
I’m walking, have a nice old time, in awe of the humongous, incongruently quiet turbines, maintaining a non-threatening distance from the sheep… But there’s this ram, see, and he’s not happy. Proper macho little bastard, he starts calling out to his flock, I assumed, as they scarpered out of sight even though they were at least a few hundred metres ahead of me to start with! I’m feeling a bit edgy at this point, because I’ve heard about rams behaving much like human males; aggressive, offensive and totally unreasonable (loljks!). I’m thinking, ‘shit better slope off’. But the prick has only gone and called over two of his bulky, horned mates! Proper thick-set bastards they are, and they’re cutting off my escape route! They start following me as I try to escape; I’m really not keen on running downhill through this lumpy looking field but they cutting off the path. They stop just a few metres ahead of me as I try to assess whether or not they want to gore me to death. They’re staring me down and I can tell they’re agitated so i start giving them the ol’ submissive act, you know getting down low so as to make myself seem smaller, avoiding eye-contact, that sort of thing.
Anyway these rams are having none of it. At this point I’m quite terrified and I realise with horror that, yes, actually these guys do want to gore you to death, Africa. It was fight or flight, and there was no way I was taking three of them on, so I walked as quick as I could in a seemingly aloof manner towards the slope into the field. They’re following me! Shit they are coming at me bro! ‘Holy shit girl,’ I say to myself, ‘You better run!’, and I went like the fucking clappers I can tell you. It was hands down the worst type of field to have to run for your life through; I kept falling into the bogs and I’m really panicking, I’m shaking like a shitting dog. It’s the second time in my life where I have quite honestly thought I might die (third if you count this one time where I had a pain in my bowels so bad that I took my phone to the toilet in case I had to say goodbye to my loved ones)
My Adidas leggings are covered in bog-water that smells like egg and poo. I glance back quickly; oh FFS, it looks like they’ve nominated one to chase me down. the fluffy bastard is trotting after me with ease as I flail desperately in the fucking quagmire…
So I run and run, and fall, and run, then chant, ‘shitshitshit’ whilst running and falling, and the thought that maybe I need to ring 999 crosses my mind but no, no no the use of both hands is vital in getting the fuck out of here… I struggle on, until, after what feels like 5 minutes has passed but was definitely more like 40 seconds, I glance behind; they’re retreating! Cannot stop though, must keep running until I reach the other side of this bastard swamp, wayyyyyyy out of sight of those rectanglular-pupilled demons.
I no longer like these creatures.
Once I’m pretty certain that they haven’t arranged to flank me from the sides and gore, butt and trample me to death, I still carry on running because adrenaline. They are way back in the distance, however, so I start to think that maybe I’m not going to die alone in a fucking bog (not that type of bog- I ain’t Elvis). They’re well out of sight and I jump down a small drop into a slightly more reasonable field, a field devoid of sheep, thank goodness. I phone my grandma, partly to relieve my nerves and rationalise the whole ordeal, but mostly so that somebody knows roughly where I am in case they’re plotting a sneak attack or, heaven forbid, I piss off another horned land-torpedo.
Once i’m back on a public bridleway and securely through a big gate, I just laugh; what a fucking ordeal! I mean this is typical me; can’t even go for a relaxing walk without mad shit going down! During my walk I must have stumbled upon some sort of sheep-graveyard, and being an animal-loving vegetarian, I had hoped that the sheep R.I.P’d and wondered whether it was morbid to be so intrigued. As it happens, I now don’t give a flying fuck, and am even planning on adopting the alias ‘Rambo’ when I go and stab every fucking ram in the South Pennines.