Taking A Bearing
To take a bearing between two points follow these steps (again I will assume we are using a common 'Silva' type compass). Note the two alternative methods at steps 1 and 4:
- Leave the map as it is (in any old direction) OR [Set up the map so that it is facing north.]
- Locate the point at which you wish to walk from, point A, (i.e. usually your current location) and the point you wish to walk to, point B.
- Align the compass edge (assuming it is rectangular) so that it forms a line between these two points. Note that the compass should be facing in the correct direction (the direction of travel arrow should be pointing towards the place you want to go, the bottom of the compass is placed at your current location). If the compass is not long enough to do this, use a ruler or similar to join the two points and place the compass alongside this. The compass does not have to have the direction of travel arrow touching the two points (i.e. parallel lines will have the same bearing).
- Rotate the dial so that the faint vertical lines on the dial itself align themselves with the vertical (blue) grid lines on the map OR [Rotate the dial so that the red marker on the bottom of the dial matches up with the red end of the north-south pointer]
- You can now pick up the compass if you wish. Read off the number on the dial against the direction of travel arrow (there will usually be a small black marker to help you in this). This 3 digit number is the bearing of B from A. (Do not worry too much about the 3 digit business. If the angle marked is 30° it should be called 030° but this does not really matter too much). As always be careful about how many degrees each line on your compass represents. There are many different types with different markings, but usually each small line is worth 2° with intervals of 20° marked on the dial in writing.
- If you wish to walk in a straight line from A to B, simply keep an eye on the compass and follow the direction of travel arrow. You must take care to ensure that the two red pointers (north-south and red marker on the bottom of the dial) remain aligned at all times.