Map Basics - Water Features

Water Features

Map Basics - Water Features

Water courses such as rivers, streams and brooks are marked as blue lines on the map.  Confusingly on Ordnance Survey Maps, the grid lines are also marked in the same colour blue, too.  Given that watercourses rarely, if ever, follow a grid pattern, this shouldn’t cause too much of a problem, even for beginners.

Single blue lines signify a stream or brook, often it will be possible to step across these, BUT NOT ALWAYS - you may have to travel upstream for some distance before you can cross safely - especially after heavy or persistent rains.  Take CARE! 

Lighter blue lines which are outlined in darker blue are wider brooks, becks and rivers.  You won't be able to step across these, but it may be possible to cross them with extreme caution using stepping stones, trekking poles, or by tracking upstream to a narrower point.  DON'T try this if you are on your own unless you are completely certain of what you are undertaking.  We'll do a separate post on crossing stream/rivers as we build our archive.

Bodies of water such as lakes, lochs, lochans, ponds and tarns are shown as lighter blue areas, and are outlined in the same colour as streams and brooks. These features, although quite reliable, are not completely dependable because, after periods of dry weather they can all but disappear on the ground, appearing almost like paths, and sometimes nothing more than a depression on the ground.  Similarly, in periods of prolonged wet weather, what the map suggests should be a small stream on the ground can often look like a small river or even a torrent!  So, not quite as reliable as the good old contour line.

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