The herd isn’t always right

Continuing our explorations around Ely, yesterday we spent the morning at Wicken Fen, Britain’s oldest nature reserve. We took a boat ride through the narrow, shallow channel of water (‘If you fall in,’ said our guide, in the world’s most low-key safety briefing, ‘just stand up.’) It was tranquil and magical – dragonflies and damselflies darting around us, sedge and reeds brushing the boat as we passed, the calls of cuckoos and chiffchaffs above. The heat was intense, the sun blazing as we approached noon.

On the way back the guide pointed out the distant herd of wild Konik ponies that graze the fenland, huddled together under a dead tree. (They’re in the picture, honestly, but they were a LONG way off.)

‘We don’t really know why they do that,’ said the guide. ‘There’s no shade from that tree any more. We think it’s a case of, “Bert used to stand here, let’s stand here.”‘

But in Bert’s day – presumably – it was a healthy green tree that would have shaded and protected them. Bert is long gone, and so is the reason to stand there, but still they stand. 

And I thought, there’s a blog in here about innovation and habits and looking up and daring to leave the herd….

Wicken Fen