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 two books covering natural navigation:

The Natural Navigator

The Walker's Guide to Outdoor Clues & Signs

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

BBC World Service Forum

There was a natural navigation discussion on the BBC's World Service programme, Forum, on the weekend. In the programme, Bridget Kendall hosts Tim Birkhead (behaviour ecologist), Jennifer Groh (neuroscientist) and me as we discuss different perspectives on natural navigation. You can listen to the full…

Windswept Tree in Dorset

A beautiful example of a windswept tree from the slopes above Chesil Beach, near Abbotsbury, in Dorset. Thanks to Peter Gibbs for image (@PeterG_Weather).

Gauging Distance from Point of Ayr Lighthouse

After a brief visit to North Wales, I took the opportunity to go for a walk along the beautiful Talacre Beach, towards the Point of Ayr Lighthouse. As you will see in the following pictures, the lighthouse has weathered some elements, but some sides have…

Nobel Prize to 'Human GPS' Scientists

This week three scientists were recognised for their work on understanding the human brain's 'internal GPS system', when they were awarded a Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine. You don't get Nobel Prizes for work that is too simple, but in the simplest terms, these…

Weld Heliotropism

The Sunflower (helianthus annuus) is famous for its ability to track the sun over the course of a day. A less well known, but quite abundant plant, called, 'Weld' (Reseda Luteola) also displays this ability. It is an effect known as 'heliotropism'. Weld thrives in…

Himalayan Balsam in Sidney Wood

A wonderful short walk in an area of Sidney Wood called Fir Tree Copse yesterday revealed many things, not least that I can still walk in a circle if I lose my concentration, which is something I like to do from time to time. I…