What is a Baseline in navigation?
A Baseline is a bearing to a prominent feature that you can use to navigate to and from to get a fix.
Imagine the bearing as a fixed rope along the ground from your starting location to that feature.
To get back on course you simply move left or right until you ‘find the rope’, or get back on the baseline bearing.
Tips for using Baselines
Baselines can be used to return to your starting location, or to find a feature along that baseline. In this example, from our starting location we took a baseline bearing to a prominent hill that cuts through the location of our wild camp.
By moving left or right until your compass is back on the baseline bearing, you follow the ‘rope’ along the baseline.
So by following the baseline we knew we would pass through the camp.
A hook and baseline is when you choose a catching feature on the bearing. A catching feature is one you cannot miss, such as a river, it catches you before you go too far.
Remember you can do this with a prominent feature behind you as well and use a back bearing (or reverse bearing) to that feature, and walk away from it. Our article on Back bearings and how to use them is below – Back Bearings definition
Why not book a navigation course now?
The Ultimate Navigation School is a charity providing navigation training to hill walkers, with all our net profits supporting the following charities:
Mend Our Mountains, Fix the Fells, John Muir Trust and Mountain Bothy Assoc.