The Natural Navigator


In his book “the Natural Navigator”, Tristan Gooley states that in the northern hemisphere, isolated deciduous trees will often show heavier growth on their southern side. This directional growth of a tree influenced by light, is known as Phototropism. Armed with this knowledge, it should be possible to navigate ones way through the landscape, taking directional cues from the trees.

Finding trees that support this fact isn’t as straightforward as one might expect. Trees are also influenced by the prevailing wind and the proximity of other trees, buildings and the contours of the land they occupy. When testing this navigational aid, I found myself looking for trees that supported this idea, rather than using the trees to support my navigation. This particular tree does support Tristan Gooley’s statement, but once spring has worked its magic and the tree is in a more verdant state, the effect is less easy to recognise.

Far better for me to enjoy the tree for what it is, enjoy the clouds floating lazily by, but never leave home without a map and compass.