Following a Bearing

The easiest way to ensure you are following a bearing is to pick an easily identifiable object, such as a tree or rock, in the distance,along the line indicated by the direction of travel arrow. You can then walk to this object without looking at the compass. Then repeat the process identifying a new object along the bearing. This technique allows you to move off the bearing to negotiate obstacles but still return to the bearing at the object you had previously identified as being on the bearing line.

Walking Along a Magnetic Bearing

With the compass horizontal, rotate the bezel until the specified magnetic bearing angle is over the bearing line (with the arrow). Now turn yourself around slowly until the north end of the compass needle ends up between the two luminescent dots or lines or pointing at the N on the bezel. You will now be pointing along the bearing, ready to start walking. However, trying to walk in a straight line along a magnetic bearing will generally be difficult due to finding trees and other obstacles in your path or if you have a tendency to veer to the left or right. It becomes easier if we split the walk up into a series of shorter sections (and take bearings of intermediate objects along the way).

A simpler and easier method which usually saves time and energy is to take a bearing of a large prominent object that you can see from a distance (preferably up high when walking in hilly country so that you can check your location whilst walking along the easiest route towards this object). The object could be either natural (Eg. like a mountain or large prominent rock or tree) or man-made (Eg. like a church spire or a building or communication tower).

Find out more about using a compass.

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