Hints on how not to get lost

This information is aimed at helping the competitors on Chasetrek to obtain a basic understanding of how to use a map. Since the event is staged in the UK, the map symbols used reflect those on UK maps. This document can be freely copied by any none profit organisation, providing that the source “Tony Field of Chasetrek” is quoted.

This tutorial forms part of a set of information, which includes, some basics of map reading, how to use a map and compass together, some tips on how to avoid getting lost and finally some online questions.

Compass Tutorial

Always believe your compassIt is to easy when walking through a forest or along track to loose your sense of direction. Providing that you operate the compass away from metal objects it will always tell you the truth.
Time your distanceUnderstanding how far you have travelled and when you are supposed to reach the next visable reference point, should warn you of when you are on the wrong route.
Check your positionWhen ever you come to an easily recognisable feature in the terrain, for example a bridge over a stream, check you position on the map.
Can you see the Sun?Remember that the sun rises in the east, moves through the south and sets in the west. Although not covered in this tutorial, check that the direction you have been walking in is correct. If you want to walk North West it is no good if the sun is in your face.
Uphill or down daleAre you walking up or down hill. Look at the map and check if this agrees.
WaterRemember water always flows down hills (assuming that the laws of gravity have not been repealed). On the map the source of water will be on the higher ground nearer the top of the hills.
When lostWhen lost stay where you are and take stock of the information you have. Where were you last sure of your place? How far have you walked since then? Redo the compass bearing and see if you made a mistake there. Above all else do not admit to taking a navigation course!

Did you know?

  • The SOS distress signal was discontinued in February 1999
  • There is only one stretch of water in the Lake District, which is actually called a lake, rather than Mere’s or Waters. Brassenthwaite Lake.
  • Points on a map can be accurately defined by giving degrees, minutes and seconds for both latitude and longitude.
  • The earliest maps were made by the Babylonians about 2300 B.C.