Published:  11:37 AM, 17 May 2017 Last Update: 11:53 AM, 17 May 2017

UK envoy's 'bruising' encounter with Austrian boar


Diplomats are used to finding themselves in tricky situations.

However, those tricky situations are usually confined to the treacherous waters of foreign relations, and tend not to involve an aggrieved wild boar.


Which is possibly why when Leigh Turner, UK ambassador to Austria, heard the sounds of just such an animal heading towards him at high speed, it took a moment to decide exactly what to do next.

But then, rampaging wild boar really only give a person one option.

"Not having prior experience of boar attacks, I ran," Mr Turner recounted in a blogreliving his experience in a Viennese park on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.

According to the blog, Mr Turner had been enjoying a relatively routine day up until the point he decided to go for a walk - braving the rain which had all but emptied the park of its usual visitors.

Things took a turn for the exciting early on, when Mr Turner, who took over his posting in Austria last year, spotted a group of wild boar crossing a path "about 100 metres ahead" as they headed into the forest.

"In nine years in Germany and nearly four in Austria I had never seen wild boar so close up," Mr Turner enthused.

Unfortunately for the diplomat, this was not to be his last encounter with wild boar on this particular day.

Now he decided to go into the woods - and stumbled across a second group. Conscious of not frightening them, he turned and walked away slowly.

One boar, however, had other ideas.

"Moments later I hear a noise behind me like galloping horse, and turn to see a massive wild boar, head down, charging straight at me," he wrote.

"Clearly, it can run faster than I can. What to do?"

The answer came in the form of fallen tree trunks. After all, humans are surely better climbers than pigs?

"I attempted to scale it and slipped on the wet wood, scratching and bruising myself in multiple locations as I scrambled to a place of safety," Mr Turner recalled. "By the time I turned round, the boar (no doubt thinking 'that's got rid of that swine') had trotted back to join the rest of the group, which was melting back into the forest."
Luckily, Mr Turner did not make contact with the boar and only had a few "self-inflicted" injuries (wrapped, for good measure, in a "pity-inducing splint" by a kindly Austrian doctor).

What's more, after a fair amount of research, he can now offer other walkers some excellent tips on how to avoid being gored by a boar, and has even managed to keep a sense of humour over the entire, bruising encounter.


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