Hill walker endured a two-hour attack by a reindeer
Pat Cook, 57, was walking in the Highlands when the animal repeatedly knocked her over as she tried to escape.
By Auslan Cramb, Scottish Correspondent 10:17PM GMT 05 Dec 2010
She was in the Cromdale hills near Grantown-on-Spey, Scotland, when she spotted the young bull, part of Britain’s only reindeer herd, in the distance.
She said she thought no more of it until it appeared on the summit she had just reached and knocked her on to her back.
Mrs Cook, from Renfrew, added: "One of my walking poles was thrown into the air. The reindeer kept trying to stick its antlers into me but I managed to brace my feet on them.
"I began bashing it over the head with my other walking pole. Its antlers were pretty big and it had one sticking straight out in front.
"I couldn't believe what was happening, and I was aware that I was running out of strength. I was shouting for help but there was no-one there.
"I couldn't keep it at bay any longer and collapsed in a heap with my rucksack protecting my back. I tried to get up with my back to the reindeer but it got an antler under the strap of my rucksack and pulled me over backwards.
"It was behind me and its antlers were sticking forward either side of me. I grabbed them to try and avoid getting stabbed and it started to bump me along the ground. Eventually, I fell and landed in a heap."
She said she realised that if she lay still it stopped attacking but she was knocked over again as she tried to make her way downhill and only reached safety when she managed to climb over a fence.
By then she had walked more than two miles and descended 1,200ft while throwing parts of her packed lunch to distract the reindeer.
She was left with bruises on her arms, legs and head after the incident two weeks ago, while the animal, a two-year-old bull which is part of the 130-strong Cairngorm Reindeer Herd, was taken off the open hill and put in a fenced area.
A spokesman for the herd, which was started in 1952 and is a major tourist attraction in the area, said: "He won't go back to the free range until he casts his antlers, which will be before the end of the year.
"We are very careful not to have bulls out on the free range during the rutting season in October.
"This happened well outside the rut so I'm mystified why the reindeer behaved like this. The reindeer in question is normally very friendly and quiet and his behaviour was totally out of character.
"Reindeer can be unpredictable. It was unfortunate this poor lady happened to be there when he behaved like this." http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/8182431/Hill-walker-endured-a-two-hour-attack-by-a-reindeer.html