There are two kinds of sheep: those that wet themselves in fear at the sight of a walker, and those that think you are a farmer and have food to offer. The first lot empty their bladders then run away. The second lot come running up and start nosing in your pockets for anything edible. Handkerchiefs, compasses, car keys and wallets are all edible to a sheep. Don’t try to be funny by shouting ‘Mint sauce!’ It doesn’t work; sheep have no sense of humour.
Horses only get aggressive when their foals are nearby. Don’t even bother running in the opposite direction to jump the fence or hedge if you find yourself being chased. If you can clear the hedge, you can be sure that the horse can too.
Mt Washington Hiking Trails Map Photo Gallery
LLAMAS AND ALPACAS
These are becoming an increasingly common sight, and are often used by farmers and smallholders to protect other animals, particularly sheep and chickens. They can spit, but only if provoked, so bluffers are advised not to spit at them first.
Farm gates have never seen a can of oil in their life, and do not need one. As soon as you think about sliding the latch, the noise of metal against metal is enough to alert all farm dogs within an 80km (50-mile) radius. Dogs are highly trained and know exactly which gate the hiker is using, and they will hurl themselves towards it. All 220 of them. (Farmers never have one dog. That would be a pet, and these are not pets, but working animals.)
Whether you make it to the other side of the farm depends on the age and speed of the dogs. And your own.
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