Bolting cows plunge into Lake Constance

Saint Gallen cantonal police were forced to put on their cowboy hats after two Highland cows went astray and jumped into Lake Constance for a swim before being captured on Sunday.

Bolting cows plunge into Lake Constance

The shaggy, long-horned cows were first reported missing, along with another one, on Saturday night from a farm about 10 kilometres from Rorschach, a town on the lake.

Police said they received several calls about the cows being seen in various areas east of the town on Sunday morning.

By that time the owner of the cattle was out in pursuit trying to track them down.

A resident phoned police at noon to say the burly animals were trotting along a railway embankment toward a station at Goldach.

Officers then managed to capture one of the animals, while the other two ran off in the direction of Rorschach, police said.

Two cantonal police patrol cars gave chase until reaching the Kabisplatz, a square in Rorschach, when the cows turned abruptly and plunged into the lake.

“We were in the process of walking among friends along a path that runs alongside the port of Rorscharch when we heard a warning resonating from police loud speakers,” a woman told the 20 Minuten newspaper.

“Before we could understand what was going on, the animals arrived at a gallop and threw themselves in the lake.”    

Police and rescue officials in two boats managed to lasso the cows as they were swimming in the direction of a lakeside restaurant.

The animals were more than 200 metres from shore, police said.

They were towed to land and tied to a tree until their owner could reclaim them with a cattle truck.

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Swiss cows miss out again on crown of ‘Queen of Mont Blanc’ in annual duel

An Italian cow beat off competition from 47 other competing animals from Switzerland, Italy and France to claim this year's crown at the 6th edition of the tournament, which means the wait continues for a Valais-born winner.

Swiss cows miss out again on crown of 'Queen of Mont Blanc' in annual duel
Two Herens breed cows fight during the 2015 edition in Aproz, Western Switzerland. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP.

The International Games of Queens of Mont Blanc takes place every year in either France, Italy or Switzerland at the feet of Europe's highest mountain, Mont Blanc. This year's edition, the 6th, was held in the French border town of Chamonix.

The unique event dates back thousands of years and celebrates the mountain heritage of the local population. The cows fight fierce battles with their horns, but according to the organizers, there are rarely casualties.

Forty eight belligerent Herens breed cows, named after the Val d'Hérens region of Switzerland, did battle on September 23rd and 24th before packed crowds to contest for the title of 'queen of Mont Blanc.' 

The Herens are endowed with “a unique combativeness,” according to Espace Mont Blanc, a regional website co-administered by Swiss, French and Italian regional governments. 

Each year the animals are led to alpine pastures, where the cows then test their strength and fight for the herd's leadership. The competition ends when a new queen has forced all the other cows to retreat.

Cows from the Swiss canton of Valais were left disappointed again this year in their duels against their counterparts from the Aosta Valley in Italy and cows from France.

Three Valaisian cows made it to the final, reports local daily Le Nouvelliste, although it was Gildo Bonin's Italian Valdostan cow that prevailed in the end. 

The three-nations tournament takes place each year, with each country taking it in turns to host. Last year the tournament was held in Italy; next year it will return to the Swiss canton of Valais. A Valaisian cow is yet to win. 

READ MORE: All you need to know about Switzerland's strangest sports