An attempt to rescue a cow from a canal led to a swarm of problems.

Journalist and former Observer reporter Jon Danzig was cycling along the Grand Union Canal in Kings Langley yesterday (Wednesday) when he came across a couple trying to pull the animal from the water with a length of rope at around 12pm.

Liam and Joanna Williams, a young couple from Cornwall who had just moved to Bushey, had been cycling in the area and called the fire brigade an hour and a half earlier.

Mr Danzig, of Hemel Hempstead, said: “The married couple had been cycling along the canal, just as I had, but fortunately chanced upon the cow.

“This was their ‘good deed for the day’ – and they even took the initiative to find a length of rope to tie around the cow’s neck to keep her from running away.”

Nobody knew how the cow got there or where it was from, and it would not move from the water.

Then a mother with three young children turned up.

Her two boys posed for a photo with the cow, but then her six-year-old daughter inadvertently stood in a wasps nest next to it.

The wasps swarmed and began stinging the mother and her children, Liam and Joanna, Mr Danziger and even the cow.

The cow then went berserk and finally leapt from the canal.

Mr Danzig was stung six times in the chaos, but while struggling with the wasps he saw Liam, who was still holding onto the rope, being pulled away at speed.

Desperate to help, he rode off in hot pursuit.

Mr Danzig said: “I had to get back on my bike to keep up.

“It was scary. The cow could have turned around at any time and come straight back towards me.

“At one point, the cow stopped and started mooing very loudly. Liam, bravely, didn’t let go of the rope.”

After some time the cow finally stopped to graze, allowing Liam to greet two firefighters who had finally arrived.

Although Liam and Mr Danzig was relieved to see them, the same could not be said of the cow.

She again scrambled away, this time up a steep path with Liam still holding onto the rope.

When the situation became dire, and Liam spotted a road he managed to stop the cow by bounding around a post and tying it off.

A bystander saw Liam with the cow and called a vet, who knew a farmer in the area that was missing a cow.

After some time waiting with the subdued cow, the farmer arrived with a cattle trailer and pushed the cow into it.

Liam exhausted, wasp-stung and bedraggled, said: “I’ve never been to this area before.

“I don’t think I will want to come back.”

To read more about the incident read Mr Danzig's blog.