I meet Helen running home and she confirms the further footpath is clear of cattle, so I head over the milestone stile for Scout Scar. For eighteen years I've walked here carefree, in September enjoying the flocks of goldfinch that feed on thistles. Suddenly, I am wary and ill at ease.
I was fantasising on cattle-evasion when two young girls showed me a strategy. Climb a tree. But there are no trees on the Race Course, no escape route.
The Petition grows apace. I have long felt a deep bond with Scout Scar. The two books I've written give an idea of how much time I spend out here. And Kendal Race Course is the first glimpse of the fells. The air is fresher here. And this petition enriches my sense of community in this place. It's a conversation. I'm chatting with walkers, explaining what this is all about, seeking views as well as signatures. Caroline is a farmer's daughter with a respect for cattle. She gets it, and is happy to sign the petition. The three of us talk through the issue, about how cattle on Scout Scar is a management tool for conservation grazing- how it works well here with docile breeds. How the Race Course is different: the walkers' approach to Scout Scar on leaving Kendal with four access points that walkers and runners must use. And cattle gather by stiles and footpaths, as my images show.
Out on Scout Scar taking flower photographs, people often ask what I've found and I'm happy to share what I've learnt. It's a privilege to live here, and we locals know how lucky we are. Free to wander Scout Scar, access- that's what's at issue. Access and enjoyment, a sense of freedom. And on the Race Course this has been compromised.
39 bullocks! A solid and weighty mass of them. They're much bigger than the Welsh Blacks on Scout Scar. Our perception of the place has changed- there are so many more cattle.
Update 26 September. I'm reliably informed there are 50 cattle, a mix of bullocks and heifers on Kendal Race Course.