A COAST to coast walker has spoken of his horror after nearly dying during a cow attack in Eden.

Paul Gregory, of Bedford, was saved thanks to the quick-thinking of two passers-by who managed to give the diabetic a Mars bar after his blood sugar levels dropped.

He was knocked over by four cows in a field at the edge of Shap.

The 48-year-old said if it was not for the help of the Australian walkers and the emergency services he could have died.

He was on the third day of his 191-mile walk when the ‘ambush’ happened.

“They were looking at me and I was looking at them but I am always wary of the animals and try to keep my distance," said Mr Gregory.

“I saw them coming at me at quite some speed. I let go of my dog's lead – he was panicking. They knocked me down, I lay on my side in a little ball. One cow then stamped on my head; it then stamped on my back.”

The animals went on to kick the experienced walker several times. He was only saved when the cows redirected their attack to Mr Gregory's border collie, Max.

This allowed Mr Gregory time to hobble to safety, crossing a wall into a nearby field where there were no cattle. He said he nearly passed-out due to the pain and the sudden drop in his blood levels.

“I was too weak to get anything out of my bag,” said Mr Gregory, “Luckily a couple from Australia came by: Lydia and Paul. He ran back to get help while Lydia got a Mars bars out of my backpack for me.

“It was the most scared I have ever been,” said Mr Gregory. “If I didn't have my backpack on, doctors said I could have died.”

The Great North Air Ambulance flew him to Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle. He had to have eight staples to his head and had multiple bruises to his legs, back, and a fractured rib.

Mr Gregory has done a number of long distance walks including the Dales Way, Pennine Way and many more in the south.

"I have walked on public footpaths with cows with their young in the past and never experienced any problems. It is very frustrating because I have been planning this walk for nearly year. I am in a lot of pain now.

"I am slowly recovering. I will return to complete my walk in the New Year from Shap to Robin Hood’s Bay. I am very grateful to paramedics and air ambulance crew. "