John Pear­son

‘A green­lan­ing trip with Land Rover­ing mates, fol­lowed by lunch, is a very pleas­ant way to spend a Sun­day’

LRO (UK) - - Contents - JOHN PEAR­SON

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.

Tech­nol­ogy overkill

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.

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