Wernie heads for the hills
Theo and his Land Rover Discovery take on deepest Yorkshire – and win
Detours off the beaten track are what owning a Land Rover is all about, especially when you’re faced with an otherwise dull motorway slog. This solid old Discovery 1 is just the ticket for such an excursions, something it happily reminded me of on a recent jaunt up the A1 to Yorkshire.
I bought ‘Wernie’ a couple of years ago from CCW’s sister title, Land
Rover Owner International. Back then, I’d been tasked with re-moulding him from a bog-standard beast of burden to a more purposeful animal that would be more rugged off-road, and adorning him with some basic overlanding goodies. Hence the underbody protection, raised air intakes, axle breathers, awning, a few interior storage ideas, and electrical wizardry. At its heart is a nifty splitcharge system and ‘sine wave’ invertor for charging delicate electrics such as laptops and the like – or, as I later discovered, running an angle grinder. I can’t say that Wernie has ever had the transcontinental epic he deserves, but his huge cargo capacity and all-terrain gusto have certainly come in handy.
So when I was despatched to Yorkshire on assignment for CCW a little while ago, a stone’s throw from some of the UK’s greatest greenlanes, it was the perfect outing for the Disco. The day’s work done, I headed for the hills near Stokesley. The sun was terrific but rain the previous night had made the first off-Tarmac ascent a slippery one. But in low ratio, second gear, and with the locking centre differential engaged, Wernie slithered up the narrow track, gorse bushes pressing in on either side, his all-terrain tyres working hard to find grip. And grip they did, until a quagmire a little later forced me to back up. At full charge I might have made it through, but not without ruining the ground and disgruntling some grumpy-looking locals.
Lane two, attempted as evening set in, was a beauty. A firm track rose through a forest and out onto a knobbly section of big rock
steps. Here, bottom gear with the differential locked, coupled with a gentle tickling of the throttle, were the necessary ingredients to make steady progress. Wernie clambered upwards without missing a beat – until I was halted by the mesmerising view of rich green fields aflame in a fading golden light.
Then darkness came, and Wernie did what Land Rovers do best. They may take you places, but they also get you home again.
’Wernie clambered upwards without missing a beat – until I was halted by a mesmerising view’
The sort of picturesque rewards that come from owning a Land Rover.
The golden rule of off-roading: ‘Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.’