‘A greenlaning trip with Land Rovering mates, followed by lunch, is a very pleasant way to spend a Sunday’
So, what did you ask JP at the LRO Show?
There’s no better way to enjoy your Land Rover than a spot of greenlaning, reveals John. The only question is – how far afield do you want to travel?
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the September LRO Show in Peterborough is being on this magazine’s stand chatting to you, the readers. It’s great to talk about which Land Rovers you own and what you do with them. Because I do a lot of adventure travel, conversations inevitably turn to places you have been or would like to visit.
I recently met a couple whose first offtarmac adventure was in Morocco’s Atlas mountains in a nearly new Range Rover. That’s certainly what you’d call going in at the deep end; most prefer a gradual approach, gaining experience on nearer-to-home adventures before venturing overseas.
It’s easy for experienced travellers to become blasé about the thrill of driving off-tarmac for the first time. But a local greenlaning trip with some Land Rovering mates is a pleasant way to spend a Sunday morning – followed by a pub lunch. Or a visit to Mcdonald’s if you’re out with LRO editor Neil, who never knowingly passes a golden arches sign.
Once bitten by the greenlaning bug you’ll want to travel further, so you can make use of LRO’S UK adventures included in every issue. My favourite UK greenlanes are in Wales, Yorkshire and Northumberland, although I always enjoy trips around Salisbury Plain and Dorset’s lovely byways.
Doing it in groups
If you prefer to travel with people or in an organised group, there are several tour companies running UK greenlaning trips, including the LRO Adventure Club’s everpopular Wild Wales Safaris.
The next progression is to get yourself on a specific adventure, like a coast-to-coast drive on greenlanes or driving coastal greenlanes.
Of course, the next step is an overseas adventure. Some readers tell me they’re nervous about driving in foreign countries, so a good plan is to start somewhere fairly close – such as a greenlane tour of the World War 1 battlefields of the Somme (battlefieldsby4x4. com). Many of the major Somme sites are a couple of hours drive from Calais, and the organisers meet you at the port and guide you throughout. If you prefer to see WW2 destinations, many of the best-known ones are just a short drive from the port of Caen, with you can get to from Portsmouth.
From my show chats, you then want to get a longer boat trip out to Bilbao or Santander on the northern Spanish coast, then drive a few hours across to the Spanish Pyrenees or Portugal. Both are popular – and several adventure companies run regular trips there.
What’s great about these countries is they provide dramatic scenery, fabulous mountain tracks, campsites or accommodation, good weather and excellent food and drink.
Trip of a lifetime
Your next progression is a trip of a lifetime to another continent outside Europe. The nearest is Africa, and the nearest in Africa is Morocco, a perennial favourite with overlanders. And most tour companies run adventures there in spring or autumn (in summer it’s too hot).
Morocco is a safe destination these days and enables you to dip your Land Rover’s wheels in the Sahara desert’s sand, as well as drive across the mighty Atlas mountains, and experience ithis amazing country’s cultures and variety of exotic foods.
Iceland is a stark contrast to Morocco, but just as dramatic with its dark volcanic hinterland, glaciers and icy-cold river crossings. You have to get a 55-hour ferry from Hirtshals in the north of Denmark, but it’s well worth it.
Want more? Head east to the Balkans, Russia or the vast Monoglian expanses. Or you can ship your Land Rover to the Americas, southern Africa, Australia or New Zealand.
There’s a big world of adventure out there, and it can all start by driving your local byway.
Buying a new Land Rover is a bit like getting an expensive smartphone. There’s lots of technology you never knew you needed, but which soon becomes indispensable. Then there are those innovations that make you wonder why anyone would need them.
Take ‘All Terrain Progress Control’, a sort of cruise control for off-road use by people who can’t do the equivalent of walk and chew gum at the same time. When driving off-tarmac in ‘challenging conditions’ it maintains speed between 1mph and 18mph, so the driver can ‘concentrate on steering and finding your way through obstacles,’ according to Land Rover’s website. Should someone really be driving offroad if they can’t operate the accelerator and steering wheel at the same time?
It also allows you to pull away smoothly on low-friction surfaces such as ice, snow or wet grass. But perhaps a few pounds spent on an off-road driving course would be a better investment than paying out for expensive electronic technology such as that.