|Landrovers - Big Ones|
I've never particularly got a kick out of cars, they've got four wheels & go from A to B, however Landrovers are different, they're the real thing so to speak, my brother-in-law, Pete, still has a red long wheel base Srs 2A, ex fire service truck complete with winch, Genny, the works & his lad has a safari topped SRS III as well as several non runners.
My first venture into the Kingdom of Madness was in 1992 when I became the proud owner of a bright yellow 1983 SRS III SWB rag top (photo) I loved it but Kate, well lets say she wasn't as keen on it as me. In fairness I can see why, it rattled a bit, it was draughty & it was noisy, but it was fun. I think the thing the Kate liked the least however was early morning going to work in winter when snow would gently filter through the rag top & settle gently onto her recumbent form as she desperately tried not to freeze (sorry).
On the morning I bought her I popped into a news agent to buy a copy of Landrover International, as I stood in line waiting to pay I looked at the cover & thought, well there's a coincidence a yellow landrover &, well would you credit it, its a SWB rag top just like mine, bugger me I thought it is mine, CWW 900Y, I might not have the vehicle anymore but I've still got the magazine.
I only once ever got stuck in this babe, on particularly bad winter a young lad in the bike club needed a lift upto the farm where he rented a hovel with his mum, the roads were bad, drifts a couple of foot deep, but the tractor had been up earlier in the day so it was passable with care. Eventually we got up onto the tops & I dropped him off, young Brian said I tell you what, cut back down through the top field, its only a couple of inches thick an' it'll save you loads of time. Looking over the gate I could see his point, it would save me 10 minutes of battering back through the drifts, so beers were finished off we went, big mistake, very big mistake.
Half way across the field the landrover dropped vertically about a foot & a half & the freshly fallen snow started to turn a sickly green brown colour, slowly the cab started to fill with the sweet smell of cow shit, thanks Brian for not telling me about the slurry pit in the middle of the field. There were two other mates from the club with me, Mitch & Mark, reluctantly they waded out & tried to bounce the back end as I tried to get traction, apart from burying the axles & covering Mitch & Mark in slimey green poo we weren't going anywhere. By now it was late & a bit of a white out & lets just say Farmer John wasn't too keen to get out of his nice warm bed & get in his tractor, however he eventually did & an hour later I pulled up under a street light on the High Street. Mitch & Mark squelched away & I surveyed my baby, the rag top & door heads were spattered but still yellowish however the bottom half was a glistening slime green, nice, so take it from me, don't take short cuts across fields in the middle of the night on the advise of others cos' it'll all end in tears.
With a change of jobs in 1995 I new that my mileage was going to considerably increase, 30 Thou' a year plus, so reluctantly a company car beckoned, the SRS III would never cope. Amazingly however I managed to persuade my new employer that a "modern" shiny landrover would look the part (heeheehee) & so it was with immense joy I took possession of a nearly new bright red 12 seater County Station Wagon, L861 PAC,it didn't quite have the agricultural feel of the SRS III, but it was fantastic for camping in & my boss never wanted to borrow it, he only went in once & then said never again, suited me. I did nearly 90 thousand miles in this one & only blew the gear box up once.
I did have one pretty close shave thats probably worth a mention, lets just say this bugger was a git for getting punctures when it hit 85mph, it fairness big shit tyres probably had a lot to do with it, anyway one day on the M5 heaqding for Bristol, I was as usual sat at 85 overtaking when I got, yep another bleedin' puncture, only this time I did a 180 spin leaving lots of lovely rubber across all three lanes in rushhour, lets just say I sat there for a while shall we.
Unfortunately when the next job change came along in 97' my new employer couldn't be persuade to buy a me Landrover & I had to settle for LWB Frontera (Don't ever buy one with your own money, its not clever & its not funny) however after departing this employer in Nov 2005
I took the Frontera as part of my settlement however having done 170 thou' in it it isn't going to last forever so watch this space.
Oct 2006 - If you've been on the site elsewhere you may be aware that I'm Antarctica bound pretty soon, 7/11/06, Frontera only had to last another month but I managed to dance with a wagon, Frontera lost, badly, Upshot is I'll be in the market for a new set of wheels on return from the land of ice & snow, good news new vehicle will bare the Landrover badge, bad news it'll probably be a disco, can't win em' all I suppose, happy roving.
May 2007 - I'm back, returned from the land of ice, money burning hole in pocket etc, need wheels.
Well after much deliberation I opted for company car, It'll cost me a bit a bit more in tax but for piece of mind if anything goes wrong with it, needs tyres, serving etc its no my bleeding problem &, & this is the important bit, it means I can spend a few quid, on yep you guessed it, a Landrover, dadaa.
So with feverish brow & clutching a wad of her majesties finest I toddled off to Darwen & returned with a 1989 3.5i V8 110 CSW with an LPG conversion. Over its life its not been treated with a lot of TLC other than Range Rover axles/brakes & seats so arriving back in sunny Buxton I ran it up to the local 4X4 garage so they could laugh loudly at me. Actually they didn't, they just smiled & started poking holes in it.
Other than that top of the shopping list is a new petrol tank, fuel pump & rear outriggers as well as countless litlle bits & pieces, there's not much else to say at the minute but no doubt more derge will follow when the beast finally hits the dirt.
Well its Oct 07 & I'll be heading South again soon but good news, albeit several months later than intended, I've got me beloved back, it still looks like shit but at least it runs without spraying Shell's finest in all directions. The bad news is that with me buggering off at the end of the month I've got absolutely naff all chance to do anything remotely sensible with its dodgy bodywork, I guess patience is a virtue, its just a pitty I don't have much of it, but, ho hum, it looks like I've got no option but to wait until I return to Blighty in spring.
Whilst in the Falklands this time around Steve & Jude, who are currently living in Stanley, were off diving for a couple of days & were kind enough to entrust me with the keys to their Defender, so not wishing to abuse their trust in me it firstly took me fishing for trout, see Bangs & twangs, followed by a drive over to Gypsy Cove to watch the Jack Ass penguins for a an hour or so & finally off road over to Pembrokeshire light house, thankfully I didn't get it stuck in the sand dunes.
As you can imagine 4 X 4 vehicles abound in the Falklands, & Landrover's best make up a goodly proportion of what you see so it was no surprise that sorting out a quick trip to head off to a colony of Rockhopper penguins, yep you guessed it, access by Landrover only, not Steve's this time & I didn't get to drive but still good fun.
March 2008, back, again from the frozen South, hmmm, flsat tyre, flat battery, flat broke, well, two out of three anyway, so with some trepedation, bought five new tyres & a new battery, selected LPG, turned the key & hey presto, so feeling pretty confident I booked "Percy" it in for its MOT . . . . . . .dan dan daaaaaaa
It passed, it bloody well passed, first time, even the emissions, flying colours, hurrah for Percy, so I just need to pursuade a fuel dump in Buxton to install a gas pump.
May/June 2008, Percy's not broken down yet, keep ya fingers crossed, & he's doing a splendid job of ferry me across track & field in search of opportunities to shoot things so I can't complain, couple of pictures of Percy on the job so to speak, its great really, I just leave all my decoys & things in the back, so long as i don't shoot the gas tank every bodies happy.
December 2008 & I'm back in the bosom of Derbyshire after a busy month in the Falklands, Percy started first turn which I wasn't expecting after a month sat in the big chill so good news there then, having sat & stuffed my face with yet another lunch of Christmas left overs I thought I'd update a few of the pages on the site & stick a couple of photo's on this page from the recent FI trip. Driving off road in FI is pretty much the norm if you won't to really see the place & some of its more isolated penguin colonies, fortunately I only got stuck once & that was entirely my own fault, I'd borrowed a Disco & headed off to a fishing spot I'd frequented before but tried a new route & managed to get bogged down in a peat filled creek, bit embarrassing really, with no mobile or boards it was a long walk back to the track & then a lucky lift into Stanley before returning with a tidy 110 complete with winch, we soon had the bugger unstuck & the fishing trip continued successfully albeit delayed somewhat.
Come Battle Day, a Falkland bank holiday, I was intending to try & tag along with one of the tourist trips to Volunteer Point where there are considerable numbers of King, Magallenic & Gentoo penguins however it looked like it was going to cost a small fortune, £200 plus, however the office secretary, Lisa, announced that despite being born & bred on the island she'd never been to the point & her sister, Tanya, had previously worked as a driver/guide so along with various members of respective families we headed off complete with picnic on a bright & breezy Monday morning. First off its about an hours drive by stone track, quaintly known locally as a road, to Johnson's Harbour, which is a settlement/farm owned by Berkley Sound Farm Ltd, then off road over some fairly challenging terrain for about an hour & a half to Volunteer Point. It hadn't rained for several weeks & Tanya obviously new where she was going so there was no real mishaps however I was aware that the previous weekend a colleague & friends had taken the same trip with a half dozen vehicles & all had got bogged down at least once. Notwithstanding many photographs of penguins were taken as well as a couple of the Tanya's 110, see below, all in all a good day was had & as I'm due back in FI in February 2009 so hopefully they'll be a repeat trip.
As you can probably imagine most vehicles in FI are 4x4, even the dam taxi's & for the most the bulk of the Islands trucks come courtesy of Solihull, so for anybody visiting its a bit like driving round a Landrover convention 24/7. On the Sunday before Battle Day I was passing through Teal Inlet which is a settlement of no more than half a dozen buildings but I couldn't help but take a couple of photo's of the car pool FI style.
Finally many thanks to Kevin who was gracious enough to entrust his company Ninety to me as long as I promised to take good care of it & ensure that it was polished everyday without fail, cheers mate.
OK, it's June 2010, I've been back a couple of weeks from Ascension Island, hurrah for me, Percy, see above, was a bit sorry for himself having sat through several months of snow with nobody to play with, I'd declared him SORN before I flew south in Nov 2009, with homebound flight pending I renewed his insurance & arranged for Marriot's, local fix anything garage to put him through his MOT & sort out anything that needed sorting, new battery & a spot of welding later Percy returned home courtesy of Marriot's so on first weekend home I sorted out his tax & away we went. Percy's not seeing a lot of action at the moment but hopefully a spot of shooting will soon sort that out.
Well Percy saved the day over the last couple of weeks, the snow fell heavily in Buxton/Derbyshire & the shiny company car (Mazda 6 Estate) was well a truely stuck, cost me a bloody fortune using percy for work but it meant that unlike most of the other buggers I got to the office every day, mmm, maybe I should have pretended to have sold Percy & stayed at home like every body else . . . . bugger.
Happy Landing . . . .
It's been a while since this page was updated, it's now May 2013, sadly, I've just sold Percy, he's just been picked up by a chap from Hornchurch in Essex, it looks like percy is going to get a full make over before heading for the States.
Good by & good luck Percy, show the yanks what a real 4 x 4 can do.
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