Once you have attained your bearing you then need to walk along it. Using a compass makes it easy to walk in a particular direction but it doesn’t help you account for Drift. Drift is a problem caused by the fact that humans are naturally rubbish at walking in a straight line. If we are following a bearing for a particular direction then if we have to cover much of a distance then the chances are that while walking with the direction of the compass we would also wander to the left or right. Therefore, we are still heading true according to the compass but the fact we have travelled to the left or right means we could miss our target.

To avoid this we have some techniques we can use to keep us on track. The most effective technique to use is to follow Transit Lines. Transit lines are imaginary lines created using your natural surroundings to create an imaginary path along your route.

To walk along a Bearing

  1. Set the Bearing on your compass
  2. Hold the compass at about waist height, leaning slightly forward to get over the compass
  3. Turn your body with the compass to align the north of the needle with the red alignment lines
  4. Pick out a feature in line with your direction of travel arrow in the distance, then pick one exactly in line with it closer to you
  5. Walk towards the features whilst continually checking the two features are in line, as long as they are then you have beaten drift!

If you loose sight of the furthest feature due to terrain or bad weather then try to pick out another one to make a new transit line until you can see the feature again, Or just head to the closest feature but beware of drift. Sometimes drift won’t matter like if you are aiming for a long linear feature like a river because if you are aiming for a something super wide then it doesn’t matter too much how far up or down the feature you end up as you will eventually see the feature. if you are aiming for a point, like a building however then you need to be more careful of the drift so as not to drift around your target and completely missing it.

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