Spring is just around the corner (though we might need our GPS to confidently locate it) so we’ve been managing to get out into the hills a bit more regularly again. One good thing to come out of the long, dreary, wet winter though is reading Tristan Gooley’s fantastic book ‘The Natural Navigator’.
Tristan has spent much of his life climbing, sailing, piloting and leading expeditions across the globe and is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation and the Royal Geographical Society. With the modern day reliance on the use of technology in the outdoors, he has seen a need for us to reacquaint ourselves with the lost art of Natural Navigation.
Here at Biblichor, we’re well-versed in the use of map-and-compass, smartphone navigation apps and GPS but what do we do if these malfunction, run out of power or just aren’t on our person?
Most people know that it’s possible to find your way using the sun or the stars (even if we’ve lost the knowledge to practically do so). Did you know though that you can also find your direction using puddles, erosion, tree growth, snow and sand formations?
Many books on navigation can be a long, hard slog and can induce in the reader a sense of information overload. Tristan though, has written not only an incredibly informative guide to Natural Navigation, but one that is also an immensely entertaining read.
While reading the book, in front of the stove and in the comfort of my armchair, I found myself re-examining memories of past walks, trying to piece together navigational signs I would normally have missed while relying on GPS or a map and compass.
Of course though, it’s in the outdoors that the knowledge learnt from the book really fulfills its purpose. My son and I have been enjoying examining the trails and landscape for natural navigational clues. As well as its practical use, it’s also incredibly good fun.
Buy a copy for your next stormy weekend in front of the fire. When the weather clears, you’ll find that the great outdoors now has an extra dimension of wonder and you yourself will have another important skill to keep you confident and safe while exploring the landscape around you.