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Using a Compass for Map Reading and Navigation

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Using a Compass for Map Reading and Navigation
It’s a commonly held misconception that a compass is only useful for navigating across open moorland, mountain terrain or in the mist.Additionally many people carry a compass but do not know how to use it!

We have been living and working in the Peak District for many years teaching Map Reading and Navigation. Frequently we watch people park up un the village green opposite our house get togged up for a walk and set off, only to see them coming back 5 or 10 minutes later as they had initially set off in the wrong direction. This is especially true of young people on their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions.





Using a compass to “orientate” your map before setting off helps you to then recognise where features are on the ground (preferably using a 1:25k scale map) and therefore which way to leave the car park or village. With a quick measurement using the scale ruler on your compass, you can gauge how far the footpath is from where you are an…