Many books tell you that in the northern hemisphere you can find north by looking at trees on moist ground and the side of the tree on which the moss grows highest will indicate north because of the assumption that all mosses require cool, damp, shaded locations and this can often be true, but not always as you can see in the picture below. The picture was taken 1 hour after midday and the moss (on the south-easterly side of the tree) is growing about 1 metre up the tree (in this case an Ash tree).
Mosses have no roots but instead have tiny threads called rhizoids that serve to anchor the moss and to supply moisture and nutrients. Their leaves are thin and cannot retain water so instead they obtain water from rain
and dew and for this reason mosses tend to grow best in wetter places. You can learn more about mosses here.
So when using mosses on trees for navigation look at a number of trees and take an average to give a rough idea of north but not rely on it. I would also recommend getting a copy of this book “Finding Your Way Without Map or Compass” which teaches you how to recognise many natural signs and events to use for navigating.
I spent the morning in Gallivare looking for books to help improve my Swedish.
I bought a children’s book to help me learn Swedish and which I have now found as a an on-line resource;
http://lexin.nada.kth.se/lang/bildteman/index.htm Click on pictures or text for Swedish pronunciation.
I also bought a book I have wanted for a very long time which is about Saami Firecraft. All the text is in Swedish and this is my incentive to learn more Swedish. The book is called “Eld, Flammor och glöd” which translated means Fire, Flame and ember by Yngve Ryd.
In a recent book by Yngve Ryd the Sami expertise of fire-making is revealed in fascinating detail, with excellent colour photos making it possible even for those who do not read Swedish to follow the processes and to understand something of these ancient skills.
I took the above from a site with some English text about this book and as you will see they have tried to find a partner to publish the book in English and I am astonished that they have been unsuccessful with the popularity of this subject.
I met two of the people who feature in the book at Jokkmokk in 2007. On the left is Nils-Henrik Tejlus and Rune Stokke.
If there are any publishers reading this “PLEASE PUBLISH THIS BOOK IN ENGLISH AS IT WILL BE VERY POPULAR!!”
There is now another book in this Saami series all about snow.
After lunch I decided to go walking, but more about that next time…….