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

Common Reed, Phragmites Australis

Every plant we see is an indication of how close we are to water. Some clues are weak, some are strong. A wall of common reed ahead screams that you are approaching plenty of water. So, the sight of this: Means you are about to…

The Difference Between Waves and Swell

One of the commonest questions ocean watchers ask is: What is the difference between waves and swell? The concise answer is: "Swell is best thought of as waves that have enough energy to travel well beyond the place of their origin. It marches in broader…

Slick Lines

I noticed a good example of 'slick lines' in the sea from an aircraft the other day. These calmer lines are formed when a thin layer of oil dampens local ripples and waves. They are often formed when small quantities of oil leak from boat…

Navigating by Windswept Grasses

It was great to be out there on Harting Downs again, in the mist, navigating by the feel of the wind and angles of the windswept grasses. One of the joys of autumn. In this picture, what direction are we looking? ------- SPOILER ALERT -…