Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Day 12 -- Orton to Kirkby Stephen, 13 miles

At breakfast this morning, Sara mentioned that she had seen a hedgehog yesterday. That, in itself, was not startling because virtually every walker sees hedgehogs. But they are always flat, two-dimensional things that have become one with the road. Nobody has ever actually seen a three-dimensional hedgehog, until yesterday.

Universal practice in scientific communities requires that new discoveries be named after the discoverer.  So it’s only right that Sara’s discovery be named after her. Of course, it would be confusing to name the hedgehog Sara – poor Dave wouldn’t know who to accompany if, for example, he and Sara were invited to dinner. So to avoid confusion, Sara’s hedgehog will henceforth be known as Sarah, the “h” signifying “hedgehog.”

Sarah  (Image by Sara Watkins)

It is commonly known that walkers can be a jealous lot, and as soon as the others at breakfast learned about Sarah, they wanted their own hedgehogs. And so off they went, all pretending to be walking to Kirkby Stephen, but each secretly searching for his or her own hedgehog. So engrossed were they, that they lost track of where they were. That’s when things got interesting.

The search begins

Dave and Sara


Dave, Sara, Lynne, Dennis and Lynn
With a lot of pointing and misdirection, Dennis tried to get the others to go where no hedgehogs could be found, hoping to save the prime territory for himself. Harry and Leo took off on their own to find more lucrative hunting grounds. I wasn’t so much interested in finding hedgehogs, as finding the fastest way to Kirkby Stephen for a beer. Meanwhile, Lynn and Leo were surreptitiously texting each other directions to good hunting territories. Dave stayed at the back hoping that the commotion of the other walkers would chase a hedgehog his way, while Lynne wondered whether hedgehogs could read maps better than we could. And through it all, Sara just strolled on smugly, comfortable in the knowledge that Sarah will go down in history as a highlight of this group’s Coast to Coast walk.