Quality Mountain Days
                                                                 & Advanced workshops

How to Take a Bearing

Step 1
Find the two points on the map that you want to travel from and to. Line up your compass edge between the two points, so that your direction-of-travel arrow is pointing to your destination.


Step 2
Rotate the compass housing until the orienting lines in the centre are pointing to the top of your map.

You can do this by lining them up parallel to the grid lines.


Step 3
Now read the bearing at the bottom of the direction-of-travel arrow, at the index line. In our example, the bearing is 320°.

You will need to take into account the difference between grid north (on your map) and magnetic north (on your compass). This is called magnetic variation and your map will tell you how many degrees to add to your bearing. This can vary depending on where you are in the country.
Step 4
To head in the right direction, you must now re-orientate your compass. This means turning the whole compass around until the magnetic north needle points in the same direction as the orienting arrow.

The way the direction-of-travel arrow is now pointing is the direction you must walk in to get to your destination.  

To help you stay on track, it’s important to take regular bearings during your journey. Being one degree out at the start of your journey is not too serious, but if you continue in the wrong direction for too long, you will end up far from where you want to be.

Wherever possible, try and divide your journey up into short sections, taking new bearings from the landmarks that you pass on the way.

Important: Participation Statement

Climbing, hillwalking and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death.
Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.

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