The outdoors can feel less exotic in winter and to counter this I thought I would run a competition to get us looking a little harder for intrigue at this time of year.
The winner of the competition will be the person who emails me the most interesting winter natural navigation clue, but to qualify it has to be one that I have not come across before.
The prize is a private nighttime natural navigation course in the South Downs in West Sussex, for up to 4 people. The winner will also receive signed/dedicated copies of the The Natural Navigator and The Natural Explorer books. With the winner's permission, their clue will also appear in a future book and be credited to them in the sources section.
As you would imagine, I have probably come across nearly all the obvious clues and many of the less obvious ones, but there will be hundreds that I have not. Just sending in one that you think may be new to me will put you in with a shot of winning. If in doubt, send it in, because you definitely can't win without sending something in.
To enter, all you need do is send your clue to me by email before 31st January 2013. Apologies if I do not reply to all emails individually, I will try to in time, but I will announce the winner by updating this page shortly after 31/01/13 and Tweeting.
Please put 'Winter Competition' as the subject line on any email entries. Multiple entries are fine.
To give you a little taste of the sort of thing you might uncover, here is a rare clue that I hope inspires you.
Cornus sanguinea, or 'Midwinter Fire', is garden shrub. The shub's stems have a rich orange-yellow colour from autumn to spring, making them popular with many gardeners looking to add colour at this time of year.
The young stems have bark that is sensitive to sunlight, and the sunnier, southern side of these stems will show a red tint. A Midwinter Fire compass! There you go, the bar has been set. Good luck!
(Don't forget though, there are clues in the stars, sun, moon, planets, weather, animals, buildings, not just the plants. Your answer could be botanical, zoological, astronomical, meteorological, urban or cultural, to name a few. It must be applicable at wintertime to qualify, but it does not need to be exclusive to winter. So if it works in winter and summer that is fine.
Think and search originally, don't think and search for what you think I'm looking for, because I have no idea, yet! But I'll know it when I see it.)
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For a complete guide to Natural Navigation read Tristan’s books.