Last month I attended a course on natural navigation – learning to find your orientation without map, compass GPS or any other instructions, relying instead on cues from nature.
Tristan Gooley wrote a book called The Natural Navigator – which I’d highly recommend – and he also runs courses.
Here, in brief, are some simplified things I learned (and I hope Tristan’s not reading because I’ve probably bastardised them horribly. Buy his book if you want to find out properly!)…
- On an east-west running path in the northern hemisphere, you’ll find more puddles and dips on the southern side as it invariably gets less sunlight.
- You can sometimes get a gauge of north and south by putting a hand on different sides of a rock to see which has been warmed more by the sun.
- In winter, the sun goes from south east to south west. In the summer it goes from north east to north west in a much bigger arc. Pretty basic but my sunrise/sunset navigation would have been a long way off before I knew that.
- If you look at a tree and imagine cutting it down the middle and weighing each half, the heavier half will be on the side with more sun.
- If you rely on little tips and tricks like this then A) You miss the beauty of the art and B) You’ll probably oversimplify and make mistakes