Two very excited walkers stumbled into our yard yesterday, they were the friendly type who like to talk, the type we like. They were dressed for the arctic weather and I had seen them a few days before walking through. Anyway they were very keen to talk to Tracey and were enthusing about what a lovely House Rock HQ was. I on the other hand was preoccupied with the lack of water supply and might have taken an alternative point of view to theirs as I pulled yet another bucket of ice cold water from the well.
After extolling the virtues of self sufficiency they moved the conversation on to our sheep, what type were they they enquired, South Downs?
No, Tracey explained they were Ryelands, the old Hereford breed, the hikers nodded in approval and then told her what had happened when they had walked by a few days ago. They had wandered into the Cauldron and had a bit of trouble like so many do finding the path. Away in the distance they spotted a black shape creeping through the undergrowth. Unable to gain a proper perspective due to distance and the winter mists they thought they were looking at a large black cat.
Their hearts started to beat a little faster as they remembered the legend of the hill, that of a large black dog stalking for eternity, the one Conan Doyle based his book on. All the time the beast was getting closer and picking up speed, obviously making its way towards them. Feeling somewhat threatened they huddled together and backed away intent on returning to Rock HQ to seek sanctuary as they were now convinced they were being confronted by a Black Panther.
Until it bleated.
Ebony our coloured Ryeland had seen them and perhaps sensing a free biscuit or even a sandwich she was keen to engage the walkers. Panic over they dutifully fussed over the less than vicious sheep and carried on with their walk.
It would be hard to imagine any creature less Panther like, but its good to hear that one of our flock has added to the legend of the Beast of the Hill.