Thursday, October 06, 2011

All roads

Last night there was a program on the BBC called All Roads Lead Home in which three presenters used techniques of natural navigation to make their way around Cornwall.

The natural navigation bits were good.

There was a description of how to use trees as direction finders given their shape is often influenced by prevailing winds (SW in the UK), as in the pic above which was described as the Trump hairstyle.

Another influence on trees was the N/S variation in growth, the so-called tick effect as in the following graphic:

A high spot was the dung compass, in which the sun will dry the N/S sides at different rates as in the following helpful graphic:

There was more about lichens (complicated) and using the orientation of churches (simpler) but rather a lot of the three presenters just chatting. It felt a bit like 3 men doing something boaty without the boats, and while there was Sue Perkins, she didn't once mention soggy bottoms or tarts, let alone say "on your marks, get set, bake".

To be honest I'd recommend anyone interested in learning about natural navigation that the best way would be to buy and read the book.

If you want an update on unnatural natural navigation there's a list of top tips at the BBC. Number 1 tip, about satellite dishes, is a favourite of mine, though I say they are SSE rather than SE, but there you go.


O Docker said...

I had a dung compass on my boat for many years, until I finally got around to replacing it.

JP said...

Did you replace it or did the seagulls replace it for you?

O Docker said...

Tristan is right about the study of natural navigation opening one's eyes to the natural world around us.

I had never considered that the seagulls are always leaving me fresh compasses. I wonder how I can thank them.

JP said...

Why not get an owl to keep the seagulls company?

A stuffed one will do, stuck somewhere on the boat that they frequent.

Tillerman said...

I'm not sure if a dung compass is legal under Laser class rules. The only prohibition is against electronic compasses so I guess it would be OK.

Noodle said...

Dung compass. Lol! Will it work if placed inside an airtight see through jar of sorts? Of course the smell won't be a problem in virtual sailing.

JP said...

Now that's a tech support call to put into SL's forums: "does anyone know how to create a dung compass?"