top of page

'we the globe can compass soon ...'

Very simple things are compasses, not at all like Shakespeare's plays, a bit of plastic with a needle that always points north.

Really, that's about the size of it. Needle. North. Pointedly not when located next to your smartphone or leatherman though, they make strange bedfellows.

It's the what you have to do with your compass that gets a bit tricky, especially when the pressure is on. And yet, as with most things, practice makes perfect, getting it out of your bag and using it often, even when you don't need to, is the key to staying not lost.

How you wield your compass in anger depends upon the task in hand and these tasks we will come to in subsequent posts. Before we get to the how though, it seems sensible to run through the what. What are features making up a simple baseplate compass, such that you should have in your bag with your map before heading out?


So, compass in hand, what are those arrow things and why are there ruler type things on it? Step forward Steve Backshall, again!, here he runs through the features found on a baseplate compass at the Ordnance Survey's behest.


If you don't have a compass then borrow one and familiarise yourself with it, or better still buy one for yourself. In terms of the myriad outdoor gear available, a compass will easily provide the most bang for buck of anything you might buy. It might even save your life one day, put a price on that!

There are many compass manufacturers out there and of these the Silva Mk4 is the one you will find in my bag, or rather the two you will find in my bag. I always carry a spare because I'm both a bit absent minded and a bit clumsy sometimes!

Here the folks from Glenmore Lodge take a look at the features of a Silva Mk4.

The background to mapping a reference point and establishing a grid reference, the key to knowing where you are, were covered in earlier blog posts. Knowing now all about the tool required to navigate about the landscape safely; it follows that you are going to go somewhere else .

The process for establishing where the next place you want to go to, your target, is relative to where you are currently standing is known as 'taking a bearing' and we will cover that next.

The art of knowing where you are going and how to get there, or where you have come from and how to get back there, relates to all the good stuff about navigation that can be found in our other blog posts.

See you out on the hill sometime.

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
No tags yet.
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square

Upcoming Trips