The Manual - How to tell the time without a watch

Next time you're stuck in deepest darkest Dalston without a watch to your name, grab a stick (or a thin person) and discover the wonder that is telling the time without a watch. Genius.

1 Drive a stick into the ground and periodically mark the tip of the shadow cast by the stick. The shadow will shrink towards midday and lengthen again after midday, so this will tell you roughly when noon (12pm) is. Adjusting this to suit daylight saving E.g. If daylight saving is +1hr, the time is approximately 13:00.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

2 The sun travels from east to west; so by looking at the series of marks you have made you can determine the E-W line. From this you can find North and South by standing so that West is to your left.

3 To find the time, stand facing north if you're in the southern hemisphere or alternatively face south if you're in the northern hemisphere. The sun will be moving from your left to your right if you're in the southern hemisphere or from right to left if you're in the northern hemisphere.

Most Popular

4 Next you need to know roughly how many hours of daylight there are. This varies, though as a rough guide, winter days are around 10 hours long, summer days are roughly 14 hours and spring/autumn days are roughly 12 hours long.

5 Visualise the arc made by the sun as it travels east to west, starting and ending at the horizon. Divide this arc into segments, taking an equal number of segments for west and east from the centre of the arc. For example, if you know there are 12 hours in the day, divide it into 12 segments, allocating from the centre of the arc, six segments west and six segments east.

If you have a sheet of paper, hold it up in front of you and draw the arc and work out which segment the sun is in. Each segment equates to approximately one hour. By looking at what segment the sun is in and adding on this many hours to the time at high noon, you can fairly accurately estimate the current time.

Words by Jordan Waller with James Mandeville, survival expert

What do you think?

Mascots film
Culture
Share
Watch An Exclusive Clip From Netflix's Hilarious New Film About A Mascot Competition
The comedy packs serious lols​​
Blackberry Phone
Culture
Share
Blackberry Is Shutting Down Its Phone Business
​R.I.P ​​QWERTY
Kanye West
Culture
Share
Kanye Encourages Audience To Shout "F**k Taylor Swift"
Whilst performing in her hometown
Culture
Share
Why Everyone Is Taking Sides On This Controversial New Playboy Photo Shoot
It's more complicated than you think
Culture
Share
This Glorious Mexican Beer Ad Trolled The S**t Out Of Donald Trump
Oh, and it aired during the first presidential debate
Culture
Share
Benedict Cumberbatch Sang Onstage With Pink Floyd's David Gilmour
The pair sang 'Comfortably Numb'
Mark Walhberg
Culture
Share
Mark Wahlberg Talks Success, Fatherhood And Burgers
A quick chat with the Deepwater Horizon actor​
Apple HQ Battersea
Culture
Share
Apple Is Setting Up A HQ In One Of London's Most Iconic Buildings
Welcome to Battersea, America​
Film
Share
Disney Is Remaking The Lion King Because Nothing Left In This World Is Sacred
Jon Favreau: step away from our childhoods​
Justin Vernon
Culture
Share
Album Review: 22, A Million By Bon Iver
​Bon Iver's new album has a spring in its step​