Navigation by nature?

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Bushwhacker

Banned
Jun 26, 2008
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Dorset
Can't think why I've never noticed this before.

Out in the front garden last night I noticed that all the daisies on the lawn were all facing west, I even put my compass next to them to check.

Naturally, they open up and follow the sun during the day and close up at night and remain in the position that they last saw(?) the sun.

I suppose this could give you a general direction at night if you couldn't see the stars, just wondering if there is anyone who has more knowledge on this type of thing and whether it's a viable method.
 

Tadpole

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Nov 12, 2005
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I think that would only work if you know where the sun actually sets (as it changes from day to day and week to week and so on) currently the sun is setting at 310 degrees (which is a few degrees short of north by west) But knowing that you could certainly use it as a rough guide.


This is a sun compass I made last year, with this, so long as I can see where the sun sets/ rises, I can work out where North is, or any other direction for that matter
 
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Neumo

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Jul 16, 2009
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West Sussex
I like that sun compas. Was that made by hand (plotting the angles with a compass ove r a year) or is there some website that works it all out for you?

I have seen several videos where people say you can get a rough idea of North & South by looking at Trees, which grow more towards the South in the northern hemisphere. I saw a Ray video where he said that termite mounds align themselves East-West to get the most sunlight; good news in Africa or Austrailia but they are a bit thin on the ground in Sussex....
 

gregorach

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 15, 2005
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I saw a Ray video where he said that termite mounds align themselves East-West to get the most sunlight; good news in Africa or Austrailia but they are a bit thin on the ground in Sussex....
That's only actually true for one specific species of termites (known as "magnetic termites"). Most termite mounds are just big mounds.
 

Retired Member southey

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Jun 4, 2006
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your house!
Also knowing rougly how far north or south you are, the sun sets get later the further north you go(depending on the season) obviousley becoming non existant up in the polar regions, but then i dont know if you get daisys up there to follow :)
 

Tadpole

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Nov 12, 2005
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I like that sun compas. Was that made by hand (plotting the angles with a compass ove r a year) or is there some website that works it all out for you?

I have seen several videos where people say you can get a rough idea of North & South by looking at Trees, which grow more towards the South in the northern hemisphere. I saw a Ray video where he said that termite mounds align themselves East-West to get the most sunlight; good news in Africa or Austrailia but they are a bit thin on the ground in Sussex....
There is a website that will for a given location gives you sunrise sunset times Azimuth, solar noon, solar Altitude, lenght of day difference in day lenght. All I had to do was make collate the information I wanted, and transfer it on to an image of the compass, for a given day in each month.
 

Matt Weir

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Jun 22, 2006
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Tyldesley, Lancashire.
Also knowing rougly how far north or south you are, the sun sets get later the further north you go(depending on the season) obviousley becoming non existant up in the polar regions, but then i dont know if you get daisys up there to follow :)
But then the daisy's would twist their own heads off in summer - maybe that's why there aren't any! :D
 

Retired Member southey

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jun 4, 2006
11,098
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your house!
Ahh, that makes sense. mabey thats why it white all the time its the windblown petals of the headless daisy's, WHAT! i'm off to hit an engine with a hammer.PEACE!
 

Neumo

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Jul 16, 2009
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West Sussex
There is a website that will for a given location gives you sunrise sunset times Azimuth, solar noon, solar Altitude, lenght of day difference in day lenght. All I had to do was make collate the information I wanted, and transfer it on to an image of the compass, for a given day in each month.
Thanks for that. I may give that a go if I get bored one afternoon....
 

Shewie

Mod
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Dec 15, 2005
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Finding Your Way Without Map or Compass by Harold Gatty is a good read if you're into this sort of thing
 
Check out Tristan Gooley, the Natural Navigator: http://www.naturalnavigator.com/

and his excellent book, which is all about this sort of thing and which I've very nearly finished!

http://www.naturalnavigator.com/natural-navigation-book/


No connection etc - just an interested reader!
Just wanted to say thanks to Dark Horse Dave for buying the book and letting others know about it. Found this discussion thanks to loads of people clicking through to my website.
Happy navigating to all at Bushcraft UK,
Tristan
 

Neumo

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Jul 16, 2009
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West Sussex
Thinking about it, I would have thought the best way to use nature to navigate would be to use the sun sticks method, where you can work out due south by putting a stick in the ground and marking the top of the shadow of the sticks is, then you draw a line though those points & that gives you a pretty accurate east-west line (within a few degrees aparently), which can then give you a north-south line at 90 degrees to that. I think that is how it works, as it is on a Ron Hood DVD I have called 'The Woodsmaster - 04 Travel and Navigation'. I will have a look later today to confirm that. There is also the Ottoman Sun Compas come to think of it & while we are at it the magnetised needle on a floating leaf in a bowel of water

Or you can wait till night fall & find the North star....
 

Chris the Cat

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Jan 29, 2008
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Just wanted to say thanks to Dark Horse Dave for buying the book and letting others know about it. Found this discussion thanks to loads of people clicking through to my website.
Happy navigating to all at Bushcraft UK,
Tristan
Good to have you with us sir!
And a damn fine book!! It is my bedtime reading, great stuff!
My best.
Chris
 

Bushwhacker

Banned
Jun 26, 2008
3,881
4
Dorset
Thinking about it, I would have thought the best way to use nature to navigate would be to use the sun sticks method, where you can work out due south by putting a stick in the ground and marking the top of the shadow of the sticks is, then you draw a line though those points & that gives you a pretty accurate east-west line (within a few degrees aparently), which can then give you a north-south line at 90 degrees to that. I think that is how it works, as it is on a Ron Hood DVD I have called 'The Woodsmaster - 04 Travel and Navigation'. I will have a look later today to confirm that. There is also the Ottoman Sun Compas come to think of it & while we are at it the magnetised needle on a floating leaf in a bowel of water

Or you can wait till night fall & find the North star....
I was thinking on navigation at night with no visible stars.
 

Jakata

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Dec 16, 2009
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I read somewhere, though I can't remember where, that you can get a general idea with tree rings as they are thicker on the side that faces the sun for most of the day. Obviously this would only be of use if you had plenty of stumps all over the place though...
 

Neumo

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Jul 16, 2009
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West Sussex
I was thinking on navigation at night with no visible stars.
Well that cuts down your options a bit.... unless you have some gen 3+ NV goggles then I would imagine you would be best off with a compass & save the natural direction finding for the day time.
 

thecalbanner

Member
May 24, 2010
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hereford
I recentlly started reading this book calle ' the natural navigator" by tristan gooley an its really opened my eyes to so many different techniques. If you have a spare 15 quid its definatly worth a read. i'm only on like the second chapter an already it explains about using tres, puddles,sand and ice formations etc
Amazing honestly.