TRUE north, magnetic north and grid north have met for the first time in map reading history — at a drainage pipe in Dorset.
The three ways of measuring north usually do not align perfectly.
Magnetic north, the direction a compass needle points, shifts gradually due to the Earth’s fluctuating magnetic field.
But on Wednesday they finally came together at a single spot for the first time since Britain’s current mapping system was introduced in 1936 — making landfall in the village of Langton Matravers, near Swanage.
Sun man James Somper tracked down the exact point with the help of parish councillor Pete Christie.
It was a pipe on the side of a dry stone wall and was marked with a line of chalk and a small temporary plaque.
Pete said: “It’s amazing to think that our small village has made history.”
The OS said the three norths will remain converged for 3½ years, passing through Hebden Bridge, West Yorks, en agosto 2024, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumbria, a year later and Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, around July 2026.
It could be hundreds of years before another such alignment.
3 POINTS TOREMEMBER
TRUE north points directly towards a fixed point — the geographic North Pole.
The Earth spins around this point, so it never changes position.
Grid north is marked by the blue lines on a flat Ordnance Survey map and they do not take account the Earth being round.
Magnetic north is the direction a compass points. This “wanders” slightly along with natural changes in the Earth’s magnetic field.