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I think the large .. by slemish   (Show all posts)
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wicklore
2012-10-04 15:24:59
"Friend or foe?" from wicklore Expand pics
Friend or foe? (Expand pics)
Mountain Goat Kills Hiker
This title is not what I wanted to find when I searched the term ‘are goats dangerous?’ after an experience I had last weekend.

I had decided to embark on an exploration to find a walking route that would take in both Saggart Hill and Cupidstown Hill on the northern fringes of the Dublin/Wicklow Mountains. I found a forest entrance to the east of Saggart Hill and easily followed tracks to near the summit high point. This was an good discovery in itself as Saggart Hill is one of those forlorn summits with a forest of telecommunications antennae at the summit. It was good to discover that forest tracks can be used to make a longer walk from the east, rather than just the brief summit dash commonly done from the forestry entrance to the west.

From Saggart Hill I continued on my way west using quiet country roads towards Cupidstown Hill. Similar to Saggart Hill, Cupidstown Hill is traditionally approached from a forestry entrance to the west, with a brief walk to the summit. I was hoping to discover a longer route through the farmland and forestry to the east. I did find a route, and I will write it up separately soon. It was the mini-herd of goats I encountered on the way that gives rise to this post.

As my photo shows, I met three goats on the eastern side of Cupidstown Hill. They followed me for quite a distance. They insisted on coming very close and nudging me. I didn’t know their intentions – was I dinner, a novelty, a bit of company or all three? Gentle shooing and ‘go back’ didn’t work. I walked backwards for quite a while to ensure there was no sudden surprise lunge at me. I eventually escaped over a gate into some fields and continued my walk west. However the goats continued on a track parallel to the fields and constantly tried to join me over the hedges and fencing. The goats were eventually stopped at a farm yard, where they climbed into a field with two horses. They were still there when I came back down from Cupidstown Hill. But once (nearly) bitten, twice shy, so I was able to give them a wide berth and made it safely past them.

I can’t say they were aggressive at all – they mostly appeared curious. However in the situation, with no walking sticks or other way to defend myself, I found myself somewhat anxious. When I got home I decided to allay my fears to prove that there was no danger. So when I Googled ‘are goats dangerous’ and found ‘Mountain Goat kills Hiker’ at http://blogs.discovery.com/animal_oddities/2010/10/mountain-goat-kills-hiker.html I was somewhat taken aback. Who would have thought such potential peril lurks on prettily named Cupidstown Hill?

For the record, ‘Goats are curious and intelligent creatures, who will be very interested in you. They may follow you, perhaps to seek food or perhaps just out of curiosity. Goats are generally not dangerous, however older goats head butt to play, but more often to fight.’ Wonderful. I feel safe now.
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