Intermediate Orienteering Skills

Lesson 7: Making Life Simple – Following Line Features

By Anthony Scott, 2020

Line features (or handrails) make navigation simple!

When planning a route choice, if possible, try to join a series of ‘lines’ that are easy to follow.

These lines might be; tracks, roads, fences, power lines, watercourses or distinct ridge lines.

Rules to Remember

  1. When following a line, always check its direction to ensure you are following the correct line!
    E.g. ‘The map indicates that the track should be heading north-west, so I now check the track I’m following also heads north-west.’
  2. As you run along a line feature, carefully thumb the map and check where you are along the line. Cross-check bends, intersections, rises, dips, valleys and hills, as well as point features nearby.
  3. Plan ahead so that you know exactly where you will be leaving your line. Try to leave the line at an exact point such as a bend, or a junction.
  4. If crossing over a line, look left and right, and ensure you know exactly where you are crossing. Also, check the direction of the line feature to ensure you are crossing the correct one, and aren’t doing a 90 degree error.

Map Exercise

Using the adjacent map, what line features would you use to navigate from control 9 to 10?

Finally, don’t forget your navigation routine:

  • Always have your map orientated north (keep checking every 5-10 seconds as you run/walk)
  • Carefully thumb the map to keep exact contact with the map, and cross-check features ahead of you and to the left and right.
  • Look at the map and try to predict what you’ll see next. Then look ahead and spot it!