I like to get out to do a bit of gentle green laning when I can, but its been an age since I could find the time. That is until October came rolling around when I was invited out by my marshals on two separate smashing weekends away on the by-ways. Early in the month I was invited down to Salisbury Plain to do a night navigation exercise by Cliff Garrod and Paul Church. Me and Simon my pal drove down on Saturday in my Range Rover and done a few lanes before we went to the pub we stay at, and dumped our overnight bags in our rooms. Whilst we were out we came across some members of the Discovery 3 forum who were also down there for the weekend. Apparently there were about 20 of them staying over and they split into smaller groups (well done lads,) and first we saw 4 black D3s and later we came across 6 silver ones and we stopped and had a chat with them. Later we met up at the Bustard pub on the Plain with Paul and Cliff, and we set off at around 6pm just as it started to get dark after Steve Gunning the organiser had given Cliff the road book. I can read maps but Paul drove in his sorted Discovery whilst Cliff worked his magic on the laptop with his mapping system punched up, so all me and Simon had to do was follow on. It didn't take long for the night to close in on us and we were all soon all lit up and our lights were sweeping across the vast expanse of the Plain. We came alongside a wooded area and turned right into the most fantastic sunset and we all slowed down to enjoy it as the sun dipped down over the hills. After we had covered a good few miles we headed back to the Bustard for a shandy before all the locals went off home and Simon and me went back to the pub where we had a late drink before we turned in. We had a tour around the roads Sunday after breakfast, before we headed off home back to Kent. A brilliant weekend.
DEVON BOUND.Two weeks later I said goodbye to young Hazel the wife and at 5am on a Friday morning Barrie Holt my Cheif Marshal and I set off for Devon 4X4 this time in my Discovery bobtail. Whilst I was there I bought a few bits (don't I always) and I got them to change the rear springs on my ARB suspension set up as they were too hard, and I could feel every bump in the road. Also on the way down south west I was getting a severe shake through the car at 70mph which turned out to be the rubber doughnut on the rear propshaft knackered, which they also changed for me. Since I have built the bobtail I admit I have been a bit of a pussy, and I haven't driven it off-road anywhere where it might have been possible to damage the lovely paint job I had done to it, which in retrospect was a big mistake. But that's all over now as it got well and truly scratched all down both sides as we pushed our way through a lot of narrow overgrown lanes. So from now on its a balls out off-roader. Eight of our LRM marshals in four Land Rovers who are all members of the Beds Herts & Cambs LR Club arrived throughout the day and the ten of us all stayed in a B&B behind Devon 4X4 and most of the lads spent some dosh there. Terry got a set of 4 Light Force Lights (I think he had to re-mortgage his house to pay for them) and him and Griff bought a natty little waterproof 5pixel camcorder each, that D44 are selling which can be attached to a windscreen, a crash helmet, or behind the driver on the bulkhead looking forward through the windscreen. Once more there was no map reading as we had arranged for a local guide Rob Reynolds to lead us around Exmoor and the Devon lanes for two days and we set off at 10am on Saturday morning in the rain. However it soon passed over and the sun came out and we had another good day up until 2pm on Sunday when we all had to get off back home. Another great weekend away in good company. Top job.