PK Podcast 004: Tristan Gooley And The Beauty Of Natural Navigation

PK Podcast 004: Tristan Gooley And The Beauty Of Natural Navigation

Tristan Gooley, natural navigator, points out some of nature's signs. Photo: Mark Richards
Tristan Gooley, natural navigator, points out some of nature’s signs. Photo: Mark Richards

Listen To Episode 4 Of The Paul Kirtley Podcast

To me, natural navigation is one of the key skills of bushcraft. It is both practically useful and provides a means by which we can train ourselves to notice more about the natural world around us. Similar to gaining tracking skills, learning the natural signs by which you can navigate provides a whole new way of seeing the world. It’s as if there is another layer of reality to tune into. Once gained, these insights inform every aspect of your outdoor life.

So it is with great pleasure that in Episode 4 of my podcast, I speak with natural navigator and author, Tristan Gooley about the beauty of natural navigation, how it ties in with bushcraft and outdoor life and how to get started on your own voyage of discovery using nature’s signs.

Tristan is a writer and navigator who set up his natural navigation school in 2008. He’s the author of the award-winning The Natural Navigator, which was published in 2010 and the best selling The Walker’s Guide To Outdoor Clues & Signs which was out in 2014. He’s also the author of The Natural Explorer (2012) and How To Connect With Nature (2014).

Tristan has written for many publications including The Sunday Times, The Financial Times and The New York Times. He’s appeared on TV and radio programmes spreading the word about natural navigation. Before becoming a popular author on the subject of natural navigation, Tristan had a career in travel and led expeditions on five continents. He’s a sailor and a pilot, with the great distinction of being the only living person to have flown solo and sailed singlehanded across the Atlantic ocean.

How To Listen To This Podcast

You can listen to this podcast here on my website by using the player above. Just press the play button.

You can download the podcast episode .mp3 file by right-clicking on the download link to save the .mp3 file down to your local machine/device.

You can also subscribe on iTunes and on Stitcher or via my podcast-only RSS feed.


Click here to read or download the transcript of Paul Kirtley Podcast episode 004.

Books Mentioned In This Podcast


Links Mentioned In This Podcast



Thanks For Listening

Thanks for joining me on this podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons at the top of this page. Thanks!

Thanks again to Tristan Gooley for joining me on this podcast.

You can thank Tristan personally by tweeting him @NaturalNav

Please Rate My Podcast

Finally don’t forget to leave an honest review & rating on iTunes or on Stitcher. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of this podcast and I read each and every one of them.

Related Material On Paul Kirtley’s Blog

White Dead-Nettle, Lamium Album

Bushcraft: Join The Route To Mastery

Surviving Bushcraft: The Other Perspective

How To Find A Place To Practice Bushcraft Skills In The UK

35 thoughts on “PK Podcast 004: Tristan Gooley And The Beauty Of Natural Navigation

  1. Thanks for bringing this fellow to my attention. I have gone right out and bought the Walker’s Guide book. Great job and keep these fantastic podcasts coming.

    1. Hi Michael,

      You’ll enjoy the book. Tristan’s work is top quality – both in terms of content and clarity of presentation.

      Thanks again for listening and for your feedback.

      Warm regards,


  2. Hi Paul
    Really enjoy listening to your podcasts found the subject of this one interesting and will be certain to look out Tristans books. I look forward to the next one, great work.
    Many Thanks

    1. Hi Toby,

      Thanks for your feedback. I’m happy you’re enjoying them.

      Do check out Tristan’s books. They are packed with interesting info and very nicely presented.

      All the best,


  3. Thanks Paul
    A very enjoyable listen and a great subject for a podcast. You have both inspired me to learn more.



    1. Hi Martin,

      It’s good to hear from you. I’m happy you enjoyed listening to episode four and very glad Tristan and I have inspired you to learn more about natural navigation. I think you’ll find it a very rewarding endeavour…

      Warm regards,


  4. Not another book. My wife is going to curse you. Thanks for a great podcast. I have most of his book but never actually heard him speak! Thanks Paul for putting this together

    1. Well Hamish, I’m not sure why I should suffer alone. I’ve just ordered two new book cases. The piles of books on my office floor have become somewhat ridiculous, not to mention being a trip hazard!

      Glad you enjoyed this podcast and that it illuminated the man behind the books for you.



  5. Hi Paul
    Another great podcast, enjoyed listening . I’m already reading the Natural Navigator and its a fascinating read. Crammed full of useful information its worth its weight in gold.
    Many thanks for all your efforts.
    All the best,

    1. Hi Adrian,

      Good to hear from you as always. Nice to know you are already a natural nav convert and enjoying Tristan’s writing.

      Thanks for listening.

      Warm regards,


  6. Just enjoyed episode 4. I had bought his book sometime ago and have
    Just got it out for another read.

    1. Good stuff Carleton. Thanks for listening and I hope you enjoy dipping into Tristan’s book again.

      Warm regards,


  7. Hi Paul
    I’ve found all the podcasts interesting, particularly this one. I hadn’t heard of Tristan before or the concept of natural navigation. In a small way I guess I do some of this, particularly using the information that trees and plant communities provide and it does make trips more interesting. I will be looking at his website and books to learn more.

    1. Hi Barrie,

      It’s good to hear you have enjoyed the podcasts. Thanks for your feedback.

      I think reading Tristan’s books will certainly open up a world of opportunities to you, particularly since I think you are already receptive to these ideas/methods.

      Warm regards,


  8. Hello Paul,

    Really enjoyed the first 3 podcasts, full of information and put together well. Keep them coming! Unfortunately podcast #4 is not showing up on my iTunes podcast app. I know I could listen on this page directly but I prefer to download it and listen to it on the go!

    Thanks for all the great free info and keep up the good work!


    1. Hi Andrew,

      I’m glad you are enjoying the podcasts. Thanks for your feedback.

      I understand re wanting to listen via iTunes. I do the same with podcasts I listen to.

      Now that I’m on the other side of the fence too, it seems that iTunes takes a day or two to update once I’ve published a new podcast.

      I’m hoping it will show on iTunes in the next 24 hours.

      Warm regards,


  9. Thank you Paul for your podcasts :004 I really enjoyed this this podcast and the found this very interesting and thank you for introducing us to Tristan Gooley I have now place an order with Amazon for his book Natural Navigation. I will still rely on my compass :-), and I will have to look at some tree roots. 🙂
    I don’t use iTunes
    I have problem with using stitcher

    1. Hi Dave,

      It’s good to hear from you. Glad you are enjoying these podcasts and I hope you are able to listen to them OK here.

      Anyway, it’s always good to hear from a man who is confident in his compass work 🙂

      I think you will enjoy Tristan’s book.

      Let us know what you think.

      Warm regards,


  10. Really enjoyed your podcast 004: thank you for introducing us to Tristain Gooley I really enjoyed what he had to say about navigation. Have now place an order for one of his books,

  11. Dear Paul,

    Thanks for the interesting podcast episodes you have given us. I’ve tried to give you a 5 star rating and comment on itunes but i can’t really see it posted. Perhaps it takes a while to show up.
    About the findability of it; when looking for the keyword ‘bushcraft’ your podcast doesn’t turn up on the itunes store at all.

    Looking forward to your upcoming episodes,


    1. Hey Daan,

      Thanks for your message. I’m glad you are enjoying the podcasts.

      I will look into the issues you mention with iTunes. One thought, however, is that iTunes segments by geography quite strongly. If someone in the USA has left a review on iTunes, I can’t see it unless I switch from my UK view of iTunes to a USA view. You do this bottom right. Scroll right down and click on the rounded flag…

      As for searchability for the term “bushcraft”, my podcast doesn’t have bushcraft in the title. Even though bushcraft figures in the description this doesn’t seem enough. That said, I’m not sure how many people are searching on “bushcraft” in iTunes. iTunes don’t release any data on this. I will, however, see if I can tweak things in order to show up in these searches.

      Thanks again and warm regards,


  12. Hi Paul,
    Great podcast with well thought out questions. I am also enjoying you’re videos. Keep them coming!

    1. Thanks for your feedback Mark. I’m very happy you are extracting lots of info across the different formats.

      Warm regards,


  13. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the reply!
    I,ve just checked again and my 5 star rating of your podcast is finally showing up on itunes.
    Hopefully some more of you loyal fans will pick up on your call to action and start throwing out those stars..

    Give back to Paul by leaving a review on itunes people!


  14. Excellent informed easy listening !
    The podcast is superb Paul. Another Kirtley ‘platform’ which goes one step beyond.
    Thank you Paul.


  15. Just heard podcast with Tristan on natural navigation. WOW thank you for opening up a whole new area of discovery!!! The only natural navigation I ever knew was moss growing on the north side of trees. I love that you want people to enjoy not just survive the woods!!!! Thanks to Tristan for sharing your knowledge and for pulling back a veil for us to see more of the wonder all around us!! I am definitely going to get some of your books and begin the journey! Keep up the good work Paul grateful for all you share to help us newbies to love it more and more!! Truly a professional polite passionate demeanor in everything you put out!! Thank you to you both!!!

    1. Hi Pam,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this podcast with Tristan.

      I’m so happy it has opened up a new area of discovery for you.

      I hope you enjoy the journey 🙂

      Warm regards,


  16. Hi Paul,
    really enjoy your pod casts. thank you for sharing them with us.
    Found this one very interesting and you have inspired me to learn more about different ways to navigate with out a compass, only know very basic stuff you find in survival book ie north star and shadow sticks etc, now i’ve heard this pod cast want to read more about it , which of Tristan books would you recommend that i start with?
    cheers Ben

    1. Hi Ben,

      Thanks for your comments. Glad you enjoyed this podcast with Tristan.

      In terms of increasing your knowledge of natural navigation, I would definitely start with The Natural Navigator.


      Warm regards,


  17. Great podcast Paul, spent a Saturday evening watching,reading and listening to an array of great knowledge.

    I’m now going to go out tomorrow to purchase one of Tristan’s books and look forward to reading it and putting what I’ll learn from it into practice thank you cheers Stephen.

  18. Thank you Paul,

    Very pleasant teaser episode. Now I must get his book to start me noticing nature more. I have a good enough knowledge of navigation, can set my declination by Polaris, and estimate general east-west from the movement of the stars, but to consider the colour of flowering plants and associate them to a particular environment never really occurred to me till now. This makes me quite curious. Thanks to Tristan of course for his brief insights. I have looked at plant for their uses, fire, medicine, cordage, strength, etc, but rarely to navigate. Another journey to embark upon.

    All the best,

  19. Hi Paul ,excellent podcast it just what I’ve been looking for, will definitely get some of the books,many thanks to you both
    Regards Neil.

  20. Thanks for making this interview available Paul. I found it fascinating. Confession time – my sister in law bought me ‘How to Read Water’ as a present but it ended up under the coffee table after I got side-tracked by Dava Sobell’s ‘The Glass universe’. This has inspired me to to get back to Mr. Gooley. Given my record, do you think the pocket version of ‘Natural Navigation’ might be a good bet for me after reading HTRW.
    My wife meanwhile has read ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’ and recomends I read at least the first two chapters.

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