By Helen Le Caplain

A Highland bull was ‘scared to life’ by a kind-hearted gran who startled him into dropping the plastic carrier bag he was munching on – despite being surrounded by plentiful lush green grass.

Elaine Armstrong was on holiday on the Isle of Mull with pal Elspeth Guthrie, 50, last Thursday [July 26] when she jumped out of her VW camper van to snap the majestic beast in a nearby field.


However when she got closer horrified Elaine spotted the iconic Scottish mammal chomping down on a plastic shopping bag.

Terrified that he would choke or need emergency care if he swallowed it, the quick-thinking carer banged hard on the side of the van to startle him into dropping it.

Elaine from Bathgate, West Lothian, said: “I was driving on holiday with my friend and I spotted this beautiful cow at the side of the road.

“We pulled over as I wanted to grab some photos, but as soon as I got out and saw it I shouted ‘oh my God that cow is eating a plastic bag’.

“We were so concerned about him. The field was surrounded by barbed wire fencing so we weren’t in a position to climb over.

“We had no idea how to get the bag off the poor cow so decided we’d have to shout and try and shock him into dropping it.

“I shouted out ‘please don’t eat that’ while banging the side of the van.

“A few loud bangs startled him enough to spit it out and then walk away – I scared him to life.”


Gran-of-two Elaine, 53, took the disturbing pictures of the bull chewing the bag to highlight just how damaging dumping rubbish, especially plastic, can be to the environment and wildlife.

Elaine said: “It was ridiculous. There were juice cans and screw-top cartons in the field.

“It’s a very remote wee single-track road towards the port which gets you to the Isle of Iona. Obviously someone had a bag of rubbish, pulled over and hurled it over the fence.

“If he’d swallowed it he would have died. At the very least it can cause horrendous problems in their stomachs. The thought of the poor thing being in agony was horrible.

“We live in a beautiful country and that part of the country relies heavily on tourism and agriculture.

“By dumping rubbish like this they are ruining the scenery and endangering wildlife.

“Highland cattle are iconic animals in the area. People come to the area to see the scenery and the cows – not piles of dumped rubbish.

“It makes me so angry. Whoever’s done this has had no thought at all about the consequences of their actions – these beautiful, huge cows dying in agony from swallowing a plastic bag.

“If there’s no bin about take rubbish home with you.”