Natural Navigation

Natural navigation is the rare art of finding your way using nature, including the sun, moon, stars, weather, land, sea, plants and animals. It is possible to navigate naturally on land, sea or even in the air.

Tristan Gooley’s approach to the subject is unique in that he does not view it as a survival skill, but as a means to enrich journeys and connect with the world around us. Fortunately very few of us are likely to ever find ourselves in a survival situation, but we all spend some time outdoors. This time can become fascinating if we take our eyes off the GPS, map and compass for a few moments and ask the simple question, ‘Which way am I looking?’

Tristan Gooley has written three books covering natural navigation:

The Natural Navigator

The Walker's Guide to Outdoor Clues & Signs

How to Read Water

Steps in Learning Natural Navigation:

1. Have a browse of this website, explore navigating using the sun, moon, stars, water, plants and animals.

2. The website contains lots of good stuff, but if I come across something really good I don't always put it up here. I hold it back for my email newsletter or books. You can sign up to the free newsletter at the bottom of the page and unsubscribe instantly at any time.

3. If you're serious about learning how to navigate using nature then I'd recommend reading one of my books or coming to a talk or on a course.

Formal training in natural navigation is very rare and students of this art are guaranteed to learn things that almost nobody else they come across will know. The courses that Tristan runs and his books on the subject are therefore ideal for those who want to learn a unique skill, whether they are undertaking a journey or staying closer to home.

Explore the Wonderful World of Natural Navigation

Snowdrops - Galanthus nivalis

Galanthophiles will have spotted that the snowdrops are out. The ones near me are showing a strong preference for pointing south. The direction flowers point is influenced by many things, but a key consideration is whether the species is pollinated by insects. Flowers that depend…

BBC Winter Wonderland

I did a short piece for BBC Inside Out that was broadcast on Monday evening. It can be viewed via this link (within the UK, not sure about elsewhere). My bit is from about the 21st minute onwards. In the film there is some weather…

Cambridge University Expeditions Society

My thanks to everyone who came to my talk at the Cambridge University Expeditions Society last night. As might be expected, some great questions and discussion at the end. We ranged from Viking knowledge, via capitalism to the romanticising of indigenous skills.

Optical Illusions at Night

The human brain does a lot of things that we're not aware of. It takes shortcuts and most of the time that saves us time. However, occasionally the brain makes simple mistakes. One of the shortcuts it likes to take is to judge distances by…

Snow and Gorse

It is that time of year when we get to enjoy snow and ice natural navigation clues. In the south of England there hasn't been a lot of snow, but it doesn't take a lot. If you study the photos I took on Black Down…

Mackerel Sky

Following some bad weather recently, I saw the beautiful 'mackerel sky' above. A mackerel sky can be used to forecast weather, but it is at the more challenging end of the weather lore spectrum. The simple bit is this: a mackerel sky of any kind…