This has nothing to do with walking underneath electricity pylons, but is a system of identifying a specific location on a map to within 100m (328ft). It also provides the ‘temporarily misplaced’ hiker with the perfect excuse in claiming to suffer from a mild form of dyslexia.
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Each map is divided into 1km (0.6-mile) squares by a series of lines running left to right and top to bottom, creating a grid system across the map. Each horizontal and vertical line is numbered between 00 and 99. Always refer to the horizontal lines as ‘eastings’ and the vertical ones as ‘northings’. Those who call them ‘horizontals’ or ‘verticals’ will soon find themselves ostracised by hikers in the hope that they will get lost (and they probably will).
Hikers swap grid references like some people swap phone numbers.
Identifying a spot on the map is fairly straightforward. Simply quote the associated numbers of the nearest northing and easting: 4819, for example. However, hikers can be quite fastidious and like to be precise, particularly if there’s a 305m (1,000ft) drop in the same grid square. So they subdivide these larger squares with 10 more imaginary vertical and horizontal lines, and use the number from each of these lines to create an extra digit to the easting and the northing. This enables the hiker to give out the preferred ‘six-figure grid reference’, such as 482198.