It’s not polite to point

I was dismayed to discover that my compass is gubbed. The window has cracked and some of the magnetic liquid has leaked out leaving the clock hands inside catching the big bubble and pointing at the wrong time.

I’ve had this Silva Type 4/54 for years and years and it’s been on every trip that’s been on this blog as well as those that haven’t since the 90’s probably. It’s big, but great with gloves, clear to read with scales a-gogo to use with maps a-plenty. That’s enough with the hyphens.
I don’t have another compass, so it’s time to have a look at what’s out there. Silva, Suunto, Recta, the choice is, well, rather uninteresting really. I still want a large baseplate, the pink lanyard will stay (dead easy to find in my pack lid) but apart from that I don’t care, it’s just such a dull bit of kit. And yet vital, how annoying.

11 thoughts on “It’s not polite to point”

  1. I have the exact same compass! Still going strong. Had it since heyzeus was a boy. It was my 1st compass. It is big compared to all the new models but it works. Ain’t going to change it till it gets busted. Bastard that yours is gubbed. Could have compared lanyards at some point…

  2. Same happened to me a while ago with the same compass. I replaced with the same as its still the best compass you can get in my opinion for general hill walking. Silva said that it probably broke because of sudden temperature change which I can believe as I’ve seen the bubbles go small when on really cold wild camps then larger by midday the next day.

  3. I was hoping the bubble might contract but it’s constant, you can see the crack above the centre of the needle parralel to the lines, I have to face it. it’s shot. It really is the single piece of kit I always have with me, it’s really sad it’s going.

    I’ll look about, see what’s doing, see what suits my Harvey maps!

    UL=no compass? Good luck with that whoever’s doing it, I suppose you could crawl on your hands and knees through the mist until you reach the coast if you can’t navigate. Or something.

    I’ve needed and used my compass many times, including this year. Quicker than a GPS if you know what you’re doing.

  4. Was that a Type 4, or the 54 with the sighting mechanism? I love my Type 54, I hardly ever use the “through the bezel” sighting, but it’s a design of pure genius, it just makes me smile every time I pick it up :)

    The good news with replacing an old 4 or 54 with a new version is that Silva have dropped the old 1″ romer and used the space for a 1:40k instead, handy for Harveys / BMC maps and does away with the need to carry the separate Harvey romer.

    I’ve also got some version of Suunto mirror sighting compass which works fine – it comes out on winter ski tours as it incorporates a clinometer if I ever feel like measuring the slope angle – toys, eh?

    But the one that comes out every time is the dinky Silva Type 7 that was was a present for my 8th birthday – still doing the business over 40 years later! :)

  5. Just says Type 4/54 Matt, never had sighting mirror, Detail shot below.

    Checked out the new version with the 1:40000, it does look like it might be a seamless transition for me. Good call.


  6. Aye, it looks like a 4. I think they must label the baseplate 4/54 because it’s the same for both models. The 54 doesn’t use a flip-up mirror for sighting – you look through a little window in the side of the bezel… it’s hard to explain but brilliant when you see it.

  7. Beware the 4B : Mils rather than degrees!

    I have the later Silva 4 like yours, but with the Harvey scale on it. It’s a great bit of kit, and oyu can probably still get hold of them. The new ‘Expedition’ with the dryflex housing looks good too, and the built-in declination adjuster is worthwhile, even though the error is currently small (and getting smaller…)

  8. I’ve been looking and I think it will be another type 4, the 4B just looks interestingly sci-fi. I like familiar, but updated nicely is a nice wee bonus.
    Got to move quick too, got a thing coming up.

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