One thing that many people don’t realise when they’re new to outdoor walking and navigation is that their compass doesn’t point to grid north – except by coincidence in some areas. The compass needle is attracted by magnetic force, which varies in different parts of the world and is constantly changing.
The magnetic variation throughout Great Britain has been a few degrees West of grid North with the amount of variation changing every year. For years the number has decreased, and now in the far South West of Britain, the North on your compass lies to the East of the North on your map for the first time since before the Ordnance Survey came into existence (in 1791 if you’re interested). The change is slowly crossing the country, but for now can only be appreciated in our Custom Made maps with a centre to the West of Penzance. Buy one now and you will find a new icon we have created in the legend to show the new relationship between the three Norths (magnetic, grid and true).