The Bravest Cow in t'Whole of Lancashire

by Buz Collins

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I was sitting in my local pub, the 'Hole in the Wall'
Near the Foulridge Tunnel on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal
I was supping on my pint I had a tale or two to tell
When looking out the window I spy Harry
Now Harry he is breathless as he comes in through the door
And he's straight up to the bar and downing half a pint or more
When we say to him 'Harry, what's all this commotion for?'
Well he comes up with quite a story

'There's a cow in the tunnel', that's what Harry says to me
'A cow in the tunnel if you'll only come and see
She fell in half an hour ago up at Barrowford end
And I swear I could still hear mooing as I came round the bend'

Well, we all have a right good laugh and I buy him a drink
But Harry he stands up again without stopping to think
He says 'Now, cows in general, do they float or do they sink?
I'd better go and see how she is doing'
Jack says he's gone mad, I say he's one over the eight
But Harry's out the door again and not going to wait
He's back in just a minute and he's standing at the gate
And he says, 'Won't you come and hear the mooing?'

'There's a cow in the tunnel', that's what Harry says to me
'A cow in the tunnel if you'll only come and see
She's swum half way already and she's heading for the end
She'll be through in twenty minutes and on that you can depend'

We tease him for a while about the cow he thinks he heard
But Harry he is adamant and doesn't hear a word
He's back to the canal again his spirit undeterred
And we're left with our heads a-shaking
It's about ten minutes before Harry comes back in
He sits down upon his bar stool and he gives us all a grin
We say 'Harry, don't you start in on that silly stuff again
We all know that you was faking'

'There's a cow in the tunnel', that's what Harry says to me
'A cow in the tunnel if you'll only come and see
Well me and tunnel keeper just helped pull her out the cut
And she's standing there, exhausted outside tunnel keeper's hut

Says Landlord, 'Maybe she needs a reviving pint of beer'
And Harry says 'If that's the case then I shall bring her here
Prepare to meet the bravest cow in t'whole of Lancashire'
And ignores the faces disbelieving
There was silence in the pub then as the cow came through the door
Head to hoof in weed and mud and dripping on the floor
She liked the first two pints so much she had another four
And in another minute she was sleeping

'There's a cow in the tunnel', that's what Harry says to me
'A cow in the tunnel if you'll only come and see'
So raise your glasses high and let us all be of good cheer
And here is to the bravest cow in t'whole of Lancashire
Buttercup, the bravest cow in t'whole of Lancashire

The Foulridge Tunnel, which is 1,640 yards (1,500 m) long, can be found on the trans Pennine Leeds-Liverpool Canal. Completed in 1790 it was a major construction achievement, but is today best known for the story of a cow who once swam the whole length of the tunnel. It happened in 1912 when a cow named Buttercup fell into the canal by the southern portal. Rather than wade out, she chose to swim the whole length to the northern end, where she was revived with brandy by drinkers in the nearby Hole in the Wall pub.


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