Submitted by:
Barb Garber
Spark/Guide Guider
Webster Division
Trillium Area

Which way is North?

The red end of the needle points North.

Provided you know which direction on your map is North (North normally points straight up) you can use this to orientate a map. Note: you do not need to turn your compass around so that N for north is under the needle to orientate a map, all you are simply looking for is the direction!

Compass points

There are a number of ways to remember where the four basic compass points are.

Eight compass points: Reading clockwise - North (N), Northeast (NE), East (E), Southeast (SE), South (S), Southwest (SW), West (W), Northwest (NW).

Sixteen compass points: Reading clockwise - North (N), North-northeast (NNE), Northeast (NE), East-northeast (ENE), East (E), East-southeast (ESE), Southeast (SE), South-southeast (SSE), South (S), South-southwest (SSW), Southwest (SW), West-southwest (WSW), West (W), West-northwest (WNW), Northwest (NW), North-northwest (NNW).

Games using compass points

Mark the direction of North on the floor. When the leader calls out a compass point, the girls have to stand in the correct place in relation to North.

A puzzle using compass points

On squared paper, work out directions for someone else to draw an object. You will probably need to mark the starting place on the squared paper. For example, to draw a square, the direction might read, 2 squares north, 2 squares east, 2 squares south, 2 squares west. Now use your imagination to draw more interesting objects!

Another puzzle using compass points

The following are directions to make up a map from clues. You will need a blank piece of card or paper, a list of clues (see below), and the various features for the map already cut out from pieces of card, colored suitably, and measured to fit onto your blank map.


1. Main Street runs from North to South.

2. Church Street runs from West to East.

3. The Church is at the East end of Church Street.

4. The river runs from West end of Church Street to the North end of Main Street.

5. The farm is North of the river.

6. The pond is in the Southwest corner of the village.

7. The school is on the Southeast of the crossroads.

Parts of compasses

How to take a bearing

1. Turn housing so that the correct number is lined up with the direction of travel arrow.

2. Turn the entire compass so that the red needle has lined up with the red arrow inside the housing, i.e. so that you have "red on red" (or "North on North")

3. Look along the direction of travel arrow, to find your direction of travel!

A couple of hints:

1. To walk on a bearing - find an object to walk towards (but not a movable object such as a sheep!). This way, you will not be walking along looking at your compass, and can look where you are going to avoid obstacles etc.

2. Beware of standing by magnetic objects, as these will effect your compass (for example, some watches are magnetic!).

If there is an obstacle in your way, find an object that you can see beyond the obstacle, then aim for that by the safest route possible. Remember - although your compass needle may point in a straight line, you do not need to walk in a straight line to get to your destination!