Lyle Brother­ton

Trail (UK) - - Skills -

Nav­i­ga­tion ex­pert Lyle is one of the world’s lead­ing au­thor­i­ties on search and res­cue.

I could wax lyri­cal about the vis­cos­ity of the liq­uid sur­round­ing the com­pass nee­dle (im­por­tant for how it set­tles when tak­ing a bear­ing) or some other such tech­ni­cal wiz­ardry, but for most users this is

overkill. In­stead, I will share with you a les­son I learned the hard way. I had for­got­ten to pack my com­pass on a trip to the Cairn­gorms so, at a garage en route, I bought two cheap models for £10 (one as a back-up in case the first com­pass failed). The nee­dle fell off its pivot within min­utes of us­ing the first com­pass and even the back-up failed. Les­son learned: only buy a com­pass from a rep­utable man­u­fac­turer. The two I trust are Su­unto and Silva. For gen­eral hill­walk­ing, I would rec­om­mend ei­ther the Su­unto M3 or the Silva Ex­pe­di­tion 4 – both around £25 each and well worth that in­vest­ment.

What are the ba­sics I should look for in a gen­eral hill­walk­ing com­pass? Nick Lan­caster, Bev­er­ley

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