Katahdin Hiking Map

The problem with bearings is that a very minor mistake can lead to a major disaster. A bearing that is 2° out sounds minimal, particularly when you remember that there are 360° in a full circle.

Katahdin Hiking Map Photo Gallery




However, the further the distance travelled, the greater the error. On a long hike an entire pub may be missed. God forbid.

If you started at point A and were aiming for point B but your bearing was 2° out, you would end up at point C. Over a distance of 10km (six miles), point C is 350m (1,148ft) away from point B. This doesn’t sound like much, but if you use the hiking technique of ‘upscaling’ to make the distance sound further than it really is, you could claim that it is ‘more than a third of a kilometre away’.

Notice that as well as quoting the distance in the next unit of measurement, ‘upscaling’ requires adding phrases of generalisation, such as ‘more than’.

With a 2° error, in a best-case scenario you could end up in the wrong pub. In a worst-case scenario, you might have dropped over a cliff edge to your death.

In this situation, bluffing becomes more difficult.

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