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simon3
2014-08-12 08:28:19
Initial Entitlement, Eventual Enlightenment
From Charles Everett, writing in the Relative Hills of Britain Yahoo Group. 9 Aug 2014.

Dungehill..ST700409 ...appropriately named little tump and first log in hill-bagging. My third and final hill of a quick hour and a half window Sunday3Aug afternoon in Somerset. I had a very dungy experience, in that my hill presence seriously upset two women.
Parked at 692413. Walked through farmyard looking for someone to ask permission from if necessary, continued on through gate where track turns SE and over a gate into grassy empty meadow field up to the highest knoll in the far SE of the field. Had just turned round to head back when noticed a woman close to the summit striding up towards me. Shouted a friendly 'Hello' as she got within earshot and she said in a purposeful voice, 'Can I help you?' I said, 'Help me?' in a questioning tone and added light heartedly, 'I'm not lost' though I realised there was clearly more agenda to her question.

She immediately added, but you're on private ground and not anywhere near a footpath and we've just recently had TB on the farm and are on lockdown so I'm very unhappy to see someone walking up this field that is being deliberately left grazing free because of it. She was calm but clearly very upset with me and asked me to return round the very edge of the field to get back to the track out to the car, while she started to stride straight down the middle of the field. Made me wonder on what basis I was considered of more risk to her field that necessitated me going round the outside while she strode down the centre of the field so I just re-checked with her, 'So you'd prefer me to go round the outside. 'Yes,' she said, firmly.

Irrespective of the irrationality of this I complied without further comment just to keep the diplomatic peace. Once on the track and through the farmyard and almost back at the car, I then noticed the final gate was being opened for me by another older woman, who in the same calm controlled anger tore me off a strip for going through a farmyard that was not a footpath without asking permission and reinforcing twice that it was a very good thing her son wasn't here as he would've been absolutely livid. Five farms around had all come down with TB and it was only a matter of time that they were struck and it happened in June and they'd never had TB before and had had to have 6 cows slaughtered. I felt for them in their anger and fear and distress but as a veggie kept quiet counsel about my thoughts re the industry as a whole.
It would be very wise, diplomatic and kind, for any other tump collectors to give this little hill a miss and head elsewhere.
With hindsight I wish I'd tried to engage in a little more debate about many walkers all over UK walking in farmland off footpaths quite benignly, but didn't have time or inclination.
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