Riddles and Rhymes to help you remember declination

This page contains Riddles and Rhymes to help you remember whether to add or subtract the declination, I have collected from people who use them.

Some of the rhymes only work with west declination and some only with east declination. So make sure you understand them before using them!

I have personally not used any of them, but I'm sure they're great! If you have one, please send me a mail at learn-orienteering.

From: George T Janson, [email protected]

in the west, Truth is greater than Magnetism

meaning that west of the agonic line (where the declination is zero), true (map-based) bearings are larger than magnetic (compass-based) bearings.

From: Rick Jeffery, [email protected]

From map to field
The proper yield
East is least and
West is best

From: Robert Kirk, [email protected]

CEEC (pronounced 'seek')
which means:
Correct Easterly Errors Clockwise

From: Sam Williamson, [email protected]

which means:
Compass ADd East True

You then can work from compass to true. True to compass. Reverse for West declinations.
From: Agent Orange, [email protected]

"Grid to mag add,
Mag to grid, get rid"


"Manchester Grammar School" = "Magnetic to Grid Subtract"

From: Paul Stead, [email protected]

which means:
mag unto grid - subtract

which means:
grid unto mag - add

From: Cratie Sandlin

"East is least, West is best."

From: Donna C Carr, [email protected]

Acronym LARS: Left-Add, Right-Subtract

I.e.: Converting magnetic azimuth to grid azimuths. Put finger on the magnetic north line on the declination diagram - which way do you have to move finger to get to grid azimuth? If Left then Add G-M angle to the magnetic azimuth to get proper grid azimuth.

From: Don Atkinson [email protected]

"Declination East, Compass Least"

From: Mark Damish [email protected] who writes: "I saw this in a book, and found it the phonetics easy to remember"

empty sea, add water.

eMpTy Cea, add Water

MTC, add W

Map To Compass, add West.

Which means, when translating from map to compass, add the number of degrees of west declination. Subtract east declination. When going from compass to map, just reverse, adding east declination, and subtracting west.

From: Greg Cary [email protected] got something for fans of Batman: So in some parts of the world, the name of the actor Adam West will do:

Add'm West

From: Simon & Debi Venner [email protected]

"Never Eat Soggy Wieners"

From: anonymous

"Never Eat Shredded Wheat."

Dave Gendron [email protected] points out that in westeren U.S. where magnetic declination is to the east, True North is Always the Larger Number, and in the eastern U.S. with west declination, True North is Always the Smaller Number.