Mike's Land Rover Birthday Experience
Well this was it 24 July 2007 and after a pleasant lunch in Ledbury Judy and I arrived at the LandRover experience centre at Eastnor. It was a glorious day, all the more so after the floods of the weekend. The river bridge in Worcester had only re-opened that morning but we played safe and used the M5 & M50. I had pre-booked a Defender not on the basis that I knew anything about the LandRover range to make an informed choice, but because the Defender was the only model with a manual gearbox! In fact it has a six speed box and dual range transmission.
After an introductory talk about four-wheel drive mechanics we sallied forth to the Defender in the picture above to be told that this was not the one we for us!. We had been allocated a Defender delivered only the day before..... so new in fact that they had not yet plastered it with Land Rover experience stickers!
So....Off we go
We set off with the instructor driving by way of introduction to the Defender's handling and capabilities over rough ground. After one circuit of a beginners track it was my turn. And so it continued much to my delight for the next two hours
Ruts and water
After gaining a little expertise we moved on to more challenging areas
This meant deep ruts
and plenty of water
By this time I was getting the hang of the controls and the ultra low selection of gearing.....all very exciting! The Defender has permanent four-wheel drive with a centre differential which can be locked to eliminate wheel spin; so when the going got really muddy I was able to move through without a problem
The turning circle was greater than my Saab so on some corners I had to reverse and have a second go before I finally got used to it
The off-road tracks are set in the Eastnor estate and we had to keep strictly to the approved route; so no skirmishes into the undergrowth or onto steep virgin slopes
Back on track
Meanwhile back on the trail things were getting wetter.........
.....and steeper. It might not look much but I can assure you it certainly was, and the bonnet was distinctly skyward at the top. Of course I had no idea what lay beyond ??
Yes, you've guessed...more water
Hmm......now what do I do ??
And then to complicate matters ...... a LandRover appears !
A golden opportunity to practice reversing!
All calm in the cabin
Throughout my instructor remained calm and ensured I had maximum enjoyment
Look at this ! More than a puddle, this must be deep water
Very low gear and a hint of throttle and we move gently through
It just goes on
We now enter the river phase ! Flooded tracks. The maximum depth of water that the Defender can safely cope with is half a meter 500mm or 20inches. I think we were right on the limit
It just goes on..............
Now the track is within a small cutting and there is space for the displaced water. It soon builds up in front of the Defender creating resistance and some throttle of the 2.4litre diesel is needed to maintain steady progress against the wall of water
and eventually we reach dry land !
We even took in the Obelisk
and finally back to base for a cup of tea after a great day out
Much praise and thanks for the fantastic experience are due to
Lucie and Toria
and of course Judy who thought of the idea as a birthday present
Thanks again to you all