I have a casual interest in bushcraft/wilderness skills and one seriously useful outdoor skill is navigation. In today’s world of GPS and Google Maps perhaps the traditional map-and-compass is seeing its twilight years, but I have a feeling that there’ll be a need for detailed battery/satellite-free maps for a long while yet.
Learning to use a compass, take bearings and find your position on the map is a great skill to have, but as the title implies, you don’t even need a compass to find a rough guide to where north is, there are plenty of other ways. One of my favourites is by finding the north star, it’s easy and a fun way to begin your journey into stargazing. I practice it most nights when taking the dog into the garden.
But, in daytime it’s not so easy to find the north star! Fortunately there are plenty of other ways. One of my favourites is by using a shadow stick, if you have the time to set it up.
A more immediate way of finding north without a compass is by knowing the correct time. Read the rest of this entry »