A woolly encounter

There I was, minding my own business, out for my walk and enjoying the scenery when suddenly, I saw it standing at the bottom of the field.

As you all know by now, we live on the Sheep’s Head Way, a track that allows walkers to travel along the Peninsula through landscape, which can only be described as stunning. Winding its way over ancient bogs, across mountain paths and skirting old coastal roads, the Sheep’s Head Way attracts thousands of tourists every year who come for the unspoilt scenery, the hospitality and the wildlife. From it, you can sometimes see whales and dolphins off in the Bay.

One of the markers for the Sheep's Head Way

Making my way along the section known as the ‘Funeral Path’, I too was enjoying the scenery. With the waves crashing on Carbery Island in Dunmanus Bay and the birds singing in the hedgerows, the sun was shining and all was right with the world. It was then I saw it, in the field running parallel with the walking path. At first I thought: ‘It’s a sheep, they’re everywhere, it’s the Sheep’s Head Peninsula after all’. The ‘sheep’ was now looking directly at me; I noticed that it was in the field all on its own. I also noticed that it was now moving towards me and picking up speed.Close encounters of the woolly kind

I stopped. It stopped. I took a few steps; it began to charge towards me like a woolly cruise missile. Now, you might think it strange but even at this point I still thought it was a sheep. You see, where I grew up, the only sheep we saw were roasted in the oven and served with mint sauce.

I stopped, frozen, as the sheep, which I could now see was clearly a ram, barrelled towards me at high speed. He stopped suddenly about a metre from the fence. [Sorry, didn’t I mention there was a wire fence between the rampaging ram and me? Well, there was.]

Here's looking at you, kid

Anyway, when I took a few steps, the ram galloped into the middle of the field, turned and made another run at me. I walked on, the ram came with me. Every few steps he would run out into the middle of the field and then come charging back stopping only a few metres from me. As I continued on the path, I noticed that in the adjacent field silently watching the ram and myself was a group of about twenty sheep. This was the reason the ram was determined to show me who the boss was; these lovelies were his ‘ladies’. Oh yeah, there would be some major lovin’ going on when the farmer let this big boy out of solitary confinement.

As I left I thought I heard ‘Yeah, keep walking and don’t come back this way either’.

I’m lucky I made it out alive.

A few rays of sun over the Mizen Peninsula


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