Turns out I Am Just As Daft As Everyone Else.


Like ninety nine percent of people I like to think of myself as of above average intelligence. Obviously forty nine percent of those are wrong but that can’t possibly include me. For instance, I am far brighter than the people who have taken part in the Asch Conformity Experiment.

So anyway, changing the subject entirely, I was doing the Two Breweries fell race a few weeks ago. This an 18 mile hill run from Traquair to Broughton, starting and finishing at breweries. The weather this year was terrible, strong winds and a lot of rain, but it was still oddly enjoyable, especially charging down Trahenna unable to run in a straight line due to the gale force winds sending me three feet to my left every time both feet came off the ground (Beware Trahenna...)


As the route approached Stobo Castle I found myself following a man in a white top, I have no idea who he was so I shall call him A. He was about 30 yards ahead. A similar distance behind me were two other runners, whom I shall call B and C. Please don’t laugh at my naming, I once spent seven months living with a cat called Cat and three horses called Horse, Horse and Horse. The owl is still called Owl.

Anyway, there I was running along a farm track following A when B (or maybe C, I forget which) shouted to ask me if I knew where I was going. I shouted back that I didn’t but that I was just following him, pointing at A. A obviously heard us as he stopped and looked back at us and made the shrugging gesture which indicates that someone is completely clueless as to where they are and that they had simply assumed that they were going the right way because everyone else was following them.

I stopped, just by a junction in the tracks. The one we were on was at my six o’clock position where B and C were and carried straight on at my twelve o’clock, where A was. There were two tracks off to my left, at my eight o’clock and, over a gate, to my nine o’clock.

B and C ran up and joined me as I was getting my map out but B, or maybe C, already had his to hand. We were all stood there looking at it as A ran back down the hill and joined us.

I decided that the correct route was the track at our nine o’clock, over the gate and then along the left hand side of the woods we could see in the distance. B, or maybe C, decided that the correct route was the track at our eight o’clock, down towards the other woods. I insisted that I was right but C, or maybe B, and A both agreed with B (or was it C? B and C were both wearing black and looked pretty similar).

The three of them set off down their chosen route. I looked at my map again, sure that I was right, but not wanting to lose valuable time proving it with a compass bearing. I set off following A, B and C down what I had just convinced myself was the wrong route.

I have absolutely no idea why I did that. I again refer you to the Asch Conformity Experiment, google it if you haven’t heard of it, it’s quite interesting. .


After about five minutes we came to a small loch. B stopped and looked quizzically at his map. There shouldn’t be a loch. He pointed at some trees up the hill to our right. “We should be over there” and then to me “You were right mate.”

They set off towards the forest. He had sounded confident so I just followed…

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