By: Blonde One

Compasses (or are they ‘compi’?) are expensive for a reason … they are very very clever. So it’s a sad day when they break, as myself and one of my Gold DofE group have discovered. My Gold student, let’s call him Greg, had a unfortunate incident with his when he stood on it! Needless to say it didn’t survive. It was a very sad sight, to see it broken on the floor.

I have to trust mine in quite tricky situations so I have come to love it. It’s an important part of my kit and I don’t like to use anyone else’s. It’s been my faithful companion for several years and I’ve made sure I’ve looked after it properly to make sure it lasts.

A few weeks ago on a (very wet and windy, pre Storm Brian) Gold DofE walk I was dismayed to find a tiny bubble in my compass fluid. The thought of my compass being on its way out was quite upsetting, not least because of the cost. Bubbles in the liquid stop the needle from floating properly and so make them unreliable. No-one likes an unreliable compass! I have heard it said that putting a compass with a bubble in an airing cupboard will remove the bubble, but since I don’t have an airing cupboard I don’t know if this is true. Anyway, when I checked my compass at the end of a very long day back at the bunkhouse I realised that my eyes must have been deceiving me earlier as there was no bubble in sight. Phew!

Then something strange happened … the bubble reappeared. I hadn’t been seeing things after all. The dratted bubble reappeared twice as big and just when I needed it to be fully functioning: leading a lovely group of people on a night walk. The weather was disgusting so reliable equipment from the leaders was a must.

Blonde Two commiserated with me on the poor demise of my trusty friend. This time there was no doubt about it, it was on its last legs an needed to be replaced with new young model.

That night, back at home, I realised that the airing cupboard thing is true as the bubble disappeared after being in a warm house for an hour or so! Strange!

Although there’s no bubble at the moment I don’t think I can trust it not to reappear as soon as the weather gets wet and windy again; there clearly is a small leak in the casing.


Both Greg and I have consoled ourselves with the knowledge that our compasses died doing what they loved best in their favourite place. We decided they would be happy that it was a good way to go!