There is only one north, right? Wrong...


North is North

If you are of the belief that 'north is north' then you may find the section confusing. It's important to know your north from north!

True North…

…is the north pole, also referred to as the north celestial pole. We know that the Earth spins on its axis; the north pole is being one of the points of the Earth’s axis on which it spins. The other point is the South Pole. Take a look at the image above.

True north is of no interested to the hill walker in the UK. However, if you venture out of the UK, the map you use may be pointing to True North, in which case you would be interested in True North.

The North Star is situated directly above the north pole.

Magnetic North... the place on Earth to which compasses point. It is constantly on the move, is situated approx 1300km from True North and has moved approx 600km in the last 60 years*. True North and Magnetic North are not the same. Magnetic North is of key importance to the hill walker.

Grid North... the direction to which The National Grid points points towards. Grid North is neither True nor Magnetic North. Grid North is of key importance to the UK hill walker.

Not all countries have grid north as local maps align to True North. But in the UK, we need only to concern ourselves with magnetic and grid norths.

*with thanks to Silva for info