Lodestone: (definition) a variety of magnetite that possesses magnetic polarity and attracts iron.

In days gone by ships would carry a lodestone as part of their navigation equipment.  Should the ship’s compass needle become depolarised the magnetite could be used to repolarise it back again.  This is the same principle the school child learns when they  magnetise a needle and float it on a cork in water to create a basic compass.

This suggests that problems with compasses not pointing in the direction they should (i.e. magnetic North) is not a new one.  There are many factors that can affect a compass and change its polarity – the most obvious being to store it anywhere near a magnet.  Sometimes it’s easy to forget  that some of the things we carry have magnets in them  – for example the case of your iPhone or iPad probably uses a magnet – or, for example, to accidentally leave a compass next to a speaker.

So – as with any piece of equipment you may need to rely on in an emergency – it’s a very good idea to check it every now and again and make sure it is still working properly…

…the last thing you want is to be lost in the jungle and then start doubting your compass.

In the video below I show you some of the compasses I’ve had problems with – how you can navigate even with a faulty compass and how to repair one so that it points in the right direction again.