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Arctic snippets by Ian Frearson

A small leather pouch with a secret useful object has been with me on all my travels. From time to time I have been forced to use it to layout the areas involved with certain research projects.

I first used it in 1977, then in 1999 we set out a base line of 2,000 metres on a project involving ground pollution stemming from coal mining operations.

OK all very well but what is it? Well It is known as an optical square and thus the user has the magical chance of being able to look in three directions at once.

Used extensively by the Ordnance Survey site operatives even as late as the 1970’s these little tools are great for simple setting out and may give great accuracy once the knack of their use has been mastered. What it does not do is to prepare the user for the whole range of experiences that awaits the Arctic traveller and just one of these I shall relate next time…

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