|A swaledale ewe on the rolling fells of the Lake District near Keswick, in Cumbria, England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
I was driving to work over the moor road when the car ahead of me braked for no apparent reason, and came to a halt. Then the cars' indicators started flashing.
Thinking that the driver had broken down I got out and went to see if there was any help I could offer. I am least mechanically minded person around so this was more a gesture of human solidarity that an actual offer of anything more practical.
Are you alright ? I asked the driver.
"There's a sheep" replied the young lady, and pointed. She was right, and not only was there a single ewe half concealed in the bracken, but the ewe had this year's twins close by. I must admit to being a bit confused at the lady's reaction.
"But why have you stopped ?"
"Because it might run out and get hurt."
What I wanted to say at this point was something along the lines of "Oh get a grip woman." What I actually did was to laugh a little, and then I pointed out that perhaps she could drive quite slowly past the sheep, and that in that way the beasts wouldn't get hurt and nor would angry road users (of which a fair queue was already building up) cause any sort of unpleasant confrontation.
In some trepidation the young lady put the car in gear and proceeded to pass the sheep so widely that she almost ran her own car into a ditch. I made the international hand symbol for 'that person is a nutter' to the driver behind me and we all proceeded on our way, just very slowly in case of unexpected ruminants.
Never before have I considered sheep to be a terror of the wilds. But before setting out for a drive along the moor and fell roads in Yorkshire perhaps you should consider whether the countryside is really for you, or whether you'd just be better off with a nice cup of tea and some re-runs of Eastenders.