The man who mistook somebody else's dog for a hat

Irish MickIrish Mick caught the train to Hebden Bridge on Sunday, and we went for a seven-mile walk which took us up onto the moors, then down into the valley, then along Hebden Water to The White Lion in Hebden Bridge. I've put a few photos from the walk on Flickr.

At one point, we were overtaken by a woman with unnaturally red hair walking what I took to be a greyhound, but which I later learnt was a lurcher.

Isn't lurcher a great name for a breed of dog? It's the 'er' at the end that does it. The 'er' makes it sound like the dog actually does something: lurcher, terrier, pointer, retriever. You see?

Anyway, about 10 minutes later, we spotted the same woman (the hair was a dead giveaway) apparently trapped in a stile on top of 10-foot-high drystone wall. As we got nearer, we realised what the problem was: the stile was one where you have to climb up stone steps projecting out of the wall, pass through a narrow gap at the top, then climb down similar steps on the other side. The woman had tried to lead the lurcher over the stile, but it had got half-way up and lost its nerve. The woman was now leaning back through the gap on top of the wall, trying in vain to coax the frozen dog forward with chocolate drops and gentle tugs on her long lead.

Richard and Irish Mick to the rescue!

I tried to get behind the dog and ease her forward onto the next step, but she wasn't having any of that and jumped back down to the ground. So I suggested the woman come back down and I go over to the other side of the wall and pull on the lead.

The woman and Irish Mick somehow eventually managed to dog-handle the terrified creature into the gap on top of the wall. Then I had to climb up the steps on my side of the wall and somehow try to pick it up on my own. The problem was, one of the steps was missing from my side of the wall, so the dog's feet were at my eye-level.

After a bit of general faffing about, I thought what the hell and just lunged at the dog. I'm not quite sure what happened next, but somehow the dog ended up on top of my head. I have absolutely no idea how I managed to climb back down the steps with the dog on top of me, but I did it somehow. Then I realised I was supporting the dog with my hands above my head, and there was no way for me to adjust my grip so that I could put her down. So I did the only thing I could do and fell over.

The dog landed neatly on all-fours, and I ended up flat on my arse, looking like a total idiot.

I wonder how they managed to get back home.

See also: The man who mistook his hat for a telescope

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. did you not consider just chucking it over, much like dwarf throwing - or even slug slinging?

    or - stop me if this gets too technical - picking it up and carrying it over, which is what I usually end up doing with my terminally confused welsh springer?

  2. I'd like to have chucked it, but it was a lurcher - bred for speed and not strength - so it had very delicate, spindly legs. I don't think it would have survived being chucked. It would be like chucking a racehorse. Now there's something I'll never try again.

    Sounds to me as if Welsh Springers are badly named.

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