Land Navigation Top Tip Using Pylons
This is better than it sounds
First off I would like to say thank you for clicking on this post, you really must have a passion for map reading is all I can say. If you’d prefer to watch a video I produced for this lesson then click this link.
Let’s get started.
As navigators, we use a whole heap of skills and knowledge to keep us moving in the right direction or to locate ourselves when out on the trail. One of these skills is using linear features when out on the ground. Linear features are fantastic for use in your map reading. They’re everywhere and can be used day and night and in poor weather conditions to better your situation. I’m talking about roads, rivers, fence lines, shorelines, walls, etc etc.
Well, Pylons and their accompanying cables would for sure get thrown into that mix.
There is a small caveat to this, not all are shown on maps. They have to be of considerable size to warrant being placed on a map. The small types you see around towns and villages tend not to be marked down however, the larger types you see connecting villages and towns to the power grid are almost always noted on the map.
So let’s get down to it.
Pylons are handy for us as we can use them as a standard linear feature like the others. The good thing is they’re elevated and can be seen from afar and be seen at night time if you’re close enough. At times you can even hear them if you listen closely.
The Pylons themselves also give away more information and this little nugget of knowledge is great to have in your back pocket.
You have two types and it’s all in the arms that hold the cables. Set at a 90-degree angle or out straight.
Arms at 90 degrees.
These are the most common ones you’ll see. They carry the cables in a straight line across the area
Arms out straight.
When the arms look like they’re out straight it means there is a change of direction in the cable.
We can use this observation to our advantage as you can narrow it down to a particular point along the power line and use that to navigate from or to.
Using Ordnance Survey mapping here in Great Britain, we tend to use two different scales of the map. 1:25000 and 1:50000. Both will display the pylons differently on the map.
As you can see from this level of detail, the individual pylons are marked out on the map which makes it great for pinpointing the exact pylon of interest.
On this scale of the map, the detail displayed is different. It does not show the location of the individual pylons but it clearly shows the change of direction. As we now know what type of pylon would be at that change of direction we can ascertain where on this linear feature our location of interest would be with greater accuracy.
I hope this piece of information was interesting to you. It was when I learnt it. Please feel free to leave any comments below and I look forward to writing again soon. Check out this link here for a directory of all my map reading/land navigation lessons that I’ve produced on this site.