Show­time in Bel­gium

John Stokes en­joys the Leafer-only camp­ing week­end in Flan­ders

LRO (UK) - - Contents -

Se­ries-only gath­er­ing in Flan­ders

Some­what in­ex­pli­ca­bly, a 99mile drive from the Rot­ter­dam fer­ry­port down into Bel­gium is just too risky for some own­ers of Se­ries Land Rovers. They seem to for­get th­ese ve­hi­cles have ex­plored al­most ev­ery part of the world – and they ac­tu­ally rel­ish be­ing used. But for a few Brits, the an­nual pil­grim­age to this Leaf-sprung Land Rover event sim­ply can’t be missed.

Early July saw the 8th Opheers week­end take place in the grand set­ting of the Herken­rode­hove van Opheers, a re­cently re­stored 17th cen­tury man­sion. With the sup­port of fam­ily and friends, Carl and An Van Raven­steyn have steadily built in­ter­est for this event, at­tract­ing vis­i­tors from all over Bel­gium, France, Ger­many, the Nether­lands and UK.

I grabbed a ride in Chris Groves’ 1958 SWB Se­ries II truck cab, which he’s owned since 2005. Chris and his fam­ily have been mak­ing the 450-mile round trip from his home in France for five years: he had a spare seat this year while the fam­ily stayed home due to school ex­ams.

A care­fully scouted green­lane route took us, to­gether with about 40 more Se­ries Land Rovers in small groups, south to­wards Liège and on to the Ar­dennes.

We re-grouped for lunch at a tra­di­tional ‘frituur’ serv­ing the best chips in Europe – and the al­limpor­tant may­on­naise, of course – be­fore head­ing north, ar­riv­ing back at Opheers, mud­died from the overnight rain.

One of the ap­peals of Opheers is the Fri­day night shared in­ter­na­tional buf­fet, where ev­ery­one brings a main dish or dessert from their home re­gion.

Ca­ter­ing for about 80 vis­i­tors this year, Carl and An put on the best event yet. Next year’s date is al­ready set: July 5-8. Come and join the party. And if you’re ner­vous about ven­tur­ing out­side the UK with your clas­sic, don’t be – just meet up with other Brits and make a con­voy!

Home base for a bril­liant week­end Green­lane run was a high­light

Food has a big role to play at this event! ‘An­other glass? Don’t mind if I do’ Smiles all round – hard not to, re­ally

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