Stillness in Motion

We naturally tend to wave our arms in step when walking, but it's mostly a habit rather than an essential requirement for locomotion. In the wild it poses two problems.

First, it's yet more movement, and flapping arms seem to alarm many animals - particularly small birds - more than many other movements. Second, it creates rustling noises as your sleeves rub against your coat. So once you have mastered the quiet walk, practice it with your hands in your coat pockets. Ultimately, the ideal is to keep your elbows close to your body and your forearms in front of you. This both prevents you flapping your arms and also hides them from obvious view. With your arms visibly at your sides, you're still an animal with arms to the wild creatures. So even if you're settled in your hiding place, you still have to keep your arms under control.

As well as controlling your arms, it's important not to wave your head around. Ideally you should keep facing straight ahead. If you need to look to one side, the first choice is to move only your eyes. If that proves insufficient, turn your whole body very slowly and smoothly from the hips. The most important things are to minimise changes to your silhouette and avoid making sudden movements. So if, for example, you feel the need to scratch your nose, you should move your forearm from the elbow slowly in front of your body, and keeping your head still, scratch your nose without bending your fingers and then slide your forearm down again slowly, keeping it in contact with your body throughout.

If you were wearing jeans during your walking practice, you might also have heard the coarse cloth rubbing as you walked, and some of your other clothes rustling audibly - rainwear is a notorious source of noise. You might even have heard the keys in your pocket clinking. Quiet as they are, any of these sounds could alert the wild to you as a potential threat. So suitable clothing is an essential part of unobtrusive movement, as is not carrying anything that gives off metallic noises. The plugs and sockets on your microphone cables are serious offenders - make sure they're strapped securely so they don't knock together or against other equipment you're carrying. Another source of characteristic noise is a creaking rucksack - pack your equipment tightly enough to be silent. Plastic foam panels are invaluable for this purpose.

Equally, anything that flashes or shines - wrist watches, jewellery, bright metal buttons, binocular or camera lenses - should be avoided or well covered up, particularly in direct sunlight. Tiny movements can result in flashes of light which alert wild creatures to your presence even if you're otherwise well concealed. So keep the lens cap on your camera and take your photos after you've got your audio recorded, not before.