This year I ticked a couple of life-long aspirations off the To Do List.
One such aspiration was to own an old Land Rover, a proper, rattling, mud coated, old beauty. I can’t say why, they’ve just always held an appeal for me. I suppose I dream of bouncing along country lanes with a boot full of wet happy dogs, on the way to my country house to warm up with a cuppa beside the AGA while a fisherman-kit covered husband lights the fire and pours us something stronger. Scooping me up with ease and plonking me on the sofa with the Sunday papers.
I may not quite be there yet, but I do have my Land Rover!
Just the thing for festive errands in the country!
And mum has more than a few dogs to spare.
But these old girls aren’t easy, mind.
It’s a real workout to drive a couple of tons around with no power steering, let me tell you!
And driving off road is an art in itself. Keen to get to grips with my new old lady, I set off in search of expert help.
Not that I’m not surrounded by experts…
And if you really want to learn how to drive off-road in Somerset, you go see Matt.
His “Xtreme 4×4” course is just the thing to put you through your paces.
You climb up, up, up into the woods.
Hammer along muddy trails, submerged passages and climb up almost vertical slopes – as he cuts the engine half way up, leaving you to turn it back on, slam it into reverse and get everyone back home safely. It’s completely counter intuitive, terrifying and I wish I’d done it sooner!
Seriously, before I let any future mini Londoners loose on the roads, they’re coming here.
It’s an amazing way to learn what to do in an emergency and how not to panic.
It’s fun, too!
Having taken a few spins in a modern Land Rover Discovery followed by my Series IIa, we opted for something a little racier.
Still a Land Rover, but with something of a face lift.
It roared into life and we raced off around the course.
The idea is to get around as fast as you can without hitting the white poles, and with strictly no stopping.
You use the trees to bounce between and skid around corners faster.
I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a thrill like this!
And if you can make your instructor look like this, you know you’re doing a good job…
It soon became clear why there was a smiley face up top.
After just a couple of hours I felt ready for anything.
Anything life might throw at me.
Which we had beside the fire at The Red Lion at Babcary.
The best way to spend a wet muddy day in Somerset!
I thoroughly recommend a trip whether you’re into Landies, want to feel more confident behind the wheel, or just fancy a bit of a thrill. Find all the info online here, and if you’re looking for a Christmas pressie – how about a voucher for the new year?
^ Video, press play! ^
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some imaginary country house hunting to do.
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