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 several books covering natural navigation:

The Natural Navigator

The Walker's Guide to Outdoor Clues & Signs

How to Read Water

Wild Signs and Star Paths

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

Shadows on Water

I'm just back from a brief visit to Prague, where I witnessed many wonderful things. Included among the small delights were these views from the Karlův most or Charles Bridge. Most sightseers' eyes will be drawn to the beautiful architecture cloaked in sunshine. But water-readers…

A Shadow Stick in the Bahamas

This just in from Dick Forte in the Bahamas... Tristan, Here is a Gooley-inspired sun dial in the southern Bahamas, just inside the tropics, 74 56.9 w, 23 06.5 n. (I call it a Gooliation, an elision of Gooley with inspiration or celebration.) The conch…

Beach Stripes

Can you work out the cause of the beach stripes in the picture above? There are 6 stages. ------------ Answer: 1. As waves break, water rushes up the beach as 'swash'. 2. This fast swash carries some flotsam of all kinds up the beach, including…

Eric Ravilious and the Duck's Bottom Effect

The English artist, Eric Ravilious (1903 -1942), is loved of many of us who tramp the same chalky hills of the South Downs that he worked amongst. One of his pictures, Newt Pond, brings a familiar sense of rural life. But it does more, it…

How to Spot a Dangerous Sandbank or Reef

How to spot a dangerous sandbank or reef: Note the change in colour and the breaking waves. At night only the sound of the breakers can save you. Oh, and the helpful navigation buoy - see top right. :)

Camel Camouflage

During a recent brief visit to the deserts of the United Arab Emirates, I was fortunate enough to witness a rare phenomenon. At this time of year the wild camels become especially vulnerable to the Arabian leopard (Pantherus pardus nimr), as it extends its hunting…