What are some amazing facts about Tata

Orientation: Orientation in nature - the tricks

With sun, moss and stars! Finding the right way with a map and compass is child's play. But what to do if you don't have both with you? We'll show you how you can keep track of things

The clock as a compass

Honestly, can you say where the four cardinal points are on a map? Sure, north is above and south is below. And further...?

Fortunately, someone came up with this clever saying: "Never wash without soap." Because from the first letters the order of the cardinal directions results clockwise: north, east, south and west.

Now imagine that you are standing alone in the forest. You know: it's going out in a northerly direction. Then you soon notice: North is only on top of a map. In real life there is heaven. In such a situation, someone who has a compass is happy. Because its magnetic needle always oscillates in a north-south direction.

But even those who do not carry such a device around with them all the time do not have to wander around in the forest forever. There are other aids to finding your way home, such as the course of the sun. In our latitudes it is the case that the sun rises approximately in the east, stands in the south at noon and moves west until dusk. So if you know what time it is, you can get your bearings.

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And who knows what time it is, probably has a wristwatch too. This allows you to determine the direction of the compass more precisely: Point the small pointer towards the sun; take half the distance between him and twelve on the clock face - clockwise in the morning, against it in the afternoon: this marking shows where south is.

Not exactly, however. This is partly due to the summer time: between March and October, for example, your watch shows half past three, although it is only half past two according to Central European Time. On the other hand, the sun is not exactly in the south at noon at noon, in western Germany it is around half past twelve.

But what to do when the sun hides behind clouds and you cannot see it, let alone point a clock hand at it? Then a sheet of white paper and a pen or a branch that is as straight as possible without leaves will help. Place it vertically on the paper and - tata: it casts a shadow; you already know where the sun is.

The weather as a guide

But what to do when the watch is at home? The shrewd ranger also has a few tricks ready for this case. He knows, for example, that the wind here comes mainly from the west. You can therefore often orientate yourself on the incline of trees: Free-standing trees in particular often grow slightly inclined to the east, pushed in this direction by wind and weather.

On the tree trunk itself, the moss growth is often stronger on the weather side - i.e. in the west.

By the way: There are also "unnatural" orientation aids. Satellite dishes, for example, with which many people receive their television programs, are roughly oriented to the south. In addition, many old churches are built so that their altar is in the east. If this is not the case, the weather vane on the tower often helps.

Stars: Orientation aid in the night sky

But what if, despite all these tricks, you didn't manage to find your way home before dark? Then no sun helps, and you can no longer see moss either. Fortunately, there is then the Pole Star: The "drawbar end" of the Little Dipper is in the same place every night - above the North Pole.

Seafarers used it as a guide thousands of years ago. What if you don't find the star right away? Then another trick helps: Find the constellation of the Big Dipper. Take its "rear axle" and extend it upwards about five times - the star you will meet there is the Pole Star.

The Napoleon method

In order to make ends meet in the wild, however, it's not just important to find your way. It also helps enormously to be able to estimate distances, the width of rivers or the height of trees. With the naked eye you can still see church or television towers for around 15 kilometers. Becomes a human

Visible at a distance of 1000 meters, but his eyes only become visible when he has come within 100 meters.

Sometimes, however, it depends on a few meters. For example, if you want to cross a river: Can you still jump over? Or should you look for a tree trunk - long enough to use as a bridge?

Rangers use the so-called Napoleon method: Stand on the bank and put your hand on your forehead, as if you wanted to protect your eyes from the blinding light. Close one eye and place the edge of your little finger on the opposite side of the water.

Without changing the position of your hand or your head, you then turn around so that you can aim for a point on your bank in the same way. Then walk the distance between your location and this point: The river is just as wide.

The lumberjack method

Heights can be determined in a very similar way, for example of trees: with the lumberjack method. Stand about 20 paces away from the object whose height you want to determine. Pinch one eye again and this time take a bearing with your thumb: Stretch out your arm so that the thumb appears as big as the tree.

Then you put your finger to the side so that its lower end and that of the tree are still on top of each other. Make a note of exactly where the tip of your thumb is pointing on the ground. Count the steps from the tree trunk to this point. Their number corresponds to the height of the tree.

Of course, it also helps to climb to nearby lookout points. From there you have another view and it will be easier for you to find your way around.