Pentland Hills path may be rerouted after fourth attack by cows

By Angie Brown
BBC Scotland, Edinburgh and East reporter

Image source, Gentles Ltd
Image caption,
James Gentles is an experienced walker who has climbed all 282 Munros

A path in the Pentland Hills Regional Park on the outskirts of Edinburgh may be rerouted after a fourth person was attacked by cows in the area.

James Gentles, 60, needed stitches after being charged by one of the animals on Turnhouse Hill on Friday.

Mark Hartree, who was crushed by a cow at the same spot in September, has called for action to prevent any further attacks.

The herd's owners said they were taking the incidents "very seriously".

They said extra signs had been installed and that they were looking at options for redirecting the path.

Mr Gentles, from Blackhall in Edinburgh, said he had just started a day's walking with his wife when the attack took place.

He said he saw the cows on the path, which is near the Flotterstone car park, so made sure not to go in between the mothers and their calves.

"All of a sudden one of the cows started to snort. I stood still as I knew if I ran it would chase me," he said.

"It put its head down, its hooves went forward quickly and it charged.

Image caption,
The attacks happened on a public footpath near the Flotterstone car park

"I thought at first it was a mock charge and that it would stop before it reached me, but it kept coming at me and hit me, knocking me off my feet.

"I remember it being over me and my wife screaming and the rest was a blur. Everything went blank - not because I was unconscious, but because there was so much going on."

His wife and two other women managed to drag him to safety before helping him to his car.

Mr Gentles was taken to hospital, where he received stitches for a deep cut on his elbow. He was also left with bruised ribs and sore legs.

Image source, James Gentles
Image caption,
James Gentles said blood would not stop pouring from a deep cut on his elbow after the attack

The experienced hillwalker said he would avoid the path in future.

He said: "The most upsetting thing is finding out that this has happened in the same spot multiple times but nothing has been done about it."

Two other incidents were reported on the same path earlier this month, and Mark Hartree, the president of Carnethy Hill Running Club, was also injured after being knocked to the ground by a cow in September.

During that incident the cow lay on top of him and thrashed its head, then charged at him a second time and pinned him to the ground.

Mr Hartree, 53, who lives in Edinburgh but is originally from Kent, said he was "extremely concerned" about public safety in the area.

Image source, Mark Hartree
Image caption,
Mark Hartree had a bleeding head after the attack

"Mixing cows and the general public in this field with a public footpath is clearly not working," he said.

"There must be action taken to separate walkers from the cows in this area. This is a public safety issue now."

A spokesperson for Scotland's Rural College, which owns the herd, said: "We take all incidents on our farms very seriously.

"To support safer public access, additional signage was in place and we are working with the regional park's natural heritage officers to look at options to redirect this path.

"The cattle are being moved off the land for the winter."

He added there had been reports of other people harming and chasing the cows.

Neil Gardiner, convener of the Pentland Hills Regional Park joint committee, said: "We have erected signage in the area to remind the public to take caution when walking near cows and their calves, and I would urge people to pay extra attention."

More on this story

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.