SCOUTS - Be Prepared


When using a compass there are three main points to remember about the arrows on the compass, whatever you are using it for. · You only walk in the direction of the arrow at the top of the compass. This is known as the direction of travel arrow.

The arrow that spins in the middle of the compass (usually coloured red and white) always turns to point north (the red end is the end that points north). NEVER follow this arrow (because you will always be walking north then, no matter where you actually wanted to go!) When using a compass try not to hold it near any metal or magnets else this arrow will be attracted to them and you will end up going in the wrong direction.

The third arrow is the one that will be marked upon the dial. (you cant actually see this on the picture). This is the one that will match up with the red and white pointer that spins. When you want to read a number of the dial, look at the point where it touches the line at the top (the one marked by ‘read bearing here’), this is the number you want.

NOTE: There are 360 degrees in a circle. Be careful about how many degrees each line on the compass represents. Normally on compasses of this type each line is ‘worth’ 2 degrees. This is important as a difference of 5 degrees over a walk of 6 miles will mean you will be about half a mile from where you should be! To follow a certain bearing you will have to do the following:

  • Turn the dial until the correct bearing (number) is lined up with the direction of travel arrow (there is usually a black line under the dial to help you line this up).
  • Now turn the whole compass so that the Red & White needle lines up with the red arrow on the bottom of the dial (Red end of the needle in line with the red arrow on the dial).
  • The compass is now facing in the correct direction. Simply walk in the same direction as the Direction of Travel Arrow.

All you have to remember are the four main points of the compass. All the other points are made by combining these four. (for instance halfway between north and east is Northeast).

Some ways to remember the order that the points is to recall the following phrases. The points start at the top and go around clockwise.

Never Eat Shredded Wheat

Naughty Elephants Squirt Water