I put a shovel and some gloves in the back, the new towing strap was there too, my shackles were already on. The picnic and camera were stowed alongside the waterproofs. I said bye to Julie, she was spending her day with friends and osses. Ten minutes later I was standing at the garage pouring gallon after gallon of diesel down the throat of my truck, I mused at the day ahead, I didn’t know quite what to expect but was looking forward to the day very much. The gurgling noise signalled the tank was full, I paid up and set off to the meeting point at Cedar Court Hotel which is just the other side of Wakefield on the road heading out to Denby Dale
I was heading through Ackworth when I saw another Landi just ahead so I tagged on behind him. I have discovered that a Land Rover is not the quickest vehicle to overtake anything and everything at a whim like I could on my motorbike. So I quite happily followed the green Defender 90 in the direction of Wakefield. We parted company at Agbrigg as I took a short cut, Perhaps they were not part of todays group after all.
Lee had posted on the club website if anyone fancied a spot of green-laning around Holmfirth, several people had said they would come along. We were to meet up at 11.00 at Cedar Court. The last time I was here was at a security presentation evening, and our team was in the running for an award. We had a free night out on of the Government 3 course dinner…. unlimited drink… and a nice room for the night. These occasions didn’t come around often so we made the most of it thank you very much!
I was the first to arrive, presently the green Defender turned up! He must have gone the long way round and through Wakefield itself, It was driven by was Bob, he came with his son and girlfriend. A bright red hand painted soft top Landi came next, this was Andrew and his little lad. His truck was an old Series type and ran on veg oil, it ran well too on it. However, Andrew brought his hammer to wave at his errant starter motor if it didn’t!
Lee came growling into the car park in his tango orange Landi/disco/lightweight. This beast ran on gas, and had a huge gas tank bolted in the back, around it he’d packed 4 or 5 little tots. Mrs Shorthouse sat up front with another tot! A Land Rover Discovery came with them driven by Gareth, with him was his wife and two or three more kids. Bringing up the rear was Dave in an 88, erm….. this is basically a defender 90 less 2 inches! For you guys out there (and me) who don’t know the intricate stuff of Land Rovers, I think this is what it means, the number 90 is the distance between front and rear wheel, the longer Land Rover is therefore known as a 110, Dave’s is a hybrid 88 and is a bit of everything with a loud colour scheme just so he will be noticed! the most outrageous green. He said he’s always had green ones but has just been getting brighter and brighter!
Kids poured out from the back of the lightweight to see the two or three from the Disco and the little lass in the green truck, Andrews little lad run around taking photos. Us grown ups were deffo outnumbered today. I didn’t quite expect it to be such a family day perhaps I should had hired a couple of tots then maybe I could have looked the part proper?!
It was 11.20hrs when we set of for the run to Holmfirth in convoy, Dave sat at the back coz he had CB and was easy to pick out amongst the other silver and grey tin cans on the road. Our small coloured convoy looked like “The Willie Wonka Factory Works Outing”..orange.. black.. red and cream.. dark green..lipstick red.. and the lurid lime green at the back!
After passing through a busy Holmfirth we turned off the main road going left down the hillside. The stone track was alive with potholes but easy to drive over all the same I slowed down to a crawl to engage low box then got up to Gav in the Disco, within a mile we stopped at the bottom of the hill on the bridge. It was time for lunch and Lee had picked a great spot, the views were fantastic.
From the bridge looking towards Holmfirth….
…Turning round you get a great view at the reservoir and the hills. Holme Moss is just over the ridge on the right.
Bob with tea and a sandwich
Andrew and young master Shaw.
Lee took time to talk to everyone about the changing terrain ahead, some had done it before whilst some like me and the disco hadn’t done much at all. We would be going up the opposite hill up and over the tops onto dry stony tracks with deep ruts made by the winter rains. The disco in front had ordinary road tyres on but coped really well to be fair. Once at the top the road flattened out and sat deep in the ground with grass banking about two feet high on both sides. The really deep holes had been filled with stone aggregate.
A solitary horse and rider came down the hill and we pulled over to let her pass. Horses were here long before vehicles after all! Personally I think it’s always a good thing to do, giving way to horses. In my eyes they always have the right of way over me.
At the next corner Lee came walking back to us to show and offer advice on how to get over the next bit. Although the way he’s left his truck with all the tribe squashed to one side in the back was quite funny I thought.
You cant park your everyday car in such a spot!
The Green machine articulates nicely.
I guess by leaving his truck like that showed us it can be done without falling over! Gareth set off in the Disco and junked up and over. Right my turn next, I picked a similar route and progressed nice and easy as I tipped over and tipped a bit more still! I’ve never leant over so much going in a straight line. Its not quite like riding my Honda is it? My new confidence in my truck was soundly placed as Id had some tuition during a day at Newark Showground recently on the 90 110 Land Rover club’s off-road area and was shown some of what a Landi was capable of. Mine had a great set of tyres on so sits higher than normal and made the obstacles easier to cope with, I just had to think where I was going to plant my wheels and take my time.
Gareth and Bob waiting for the rest come through the obstacle.
We all negotiated the obstacle on the corner and set off again, up ahead a farmer opened a gate in front of us so we pulled over to let him get his sheep on the move. Him and his pal had a green golf type buggy and a sheepdog, between them they moved the flock up the field and out of the gate, they ran down the lane pursued by the sheepdog. We were thanked for waiting and off they bumbled after the flock. Two or three-times the buggy stopped and one of them jumped out and grabbed a couple of sheep seemingly hiding in the shrubbery and flung them quickly in the back. “Bloody rough buggers” I thought! But hey what do I know about these things? We stood looking in the field at 4 remaining sheep that must have been hiding, they in turn stood looking at us. Thinking “where has everyone gone?” Ah well I guess the two young farmers have to learn the ins and outs of herding sheep and making a mistake or two is all in the learning process!
It gets windy up here then?
We trundled on passing a windswept tree line, I paused to take some photos, it reminded me of the west coast of Ireland. I have some photos somewhere of trees bent over much more than these examples. They look somewhat odd on calmer days as they stay leant over having grown so with the constant winds.
We stopped at a pub made famous in Last of The Summer Wine. There is a photo album inside showing the filming over the years
Lee and Dave tried to remember where the next bit of green lane was that they had planned to take us. “Ok follow me I think it’s this way” He says. This is the kind of exploring Im into, I don’t think we get lost or take the wrong track. Oh no, we will simply be going a different way. This way its a much more interesting way to see things!
Posing at a point where some episodes of Last of The Summer Wine where filmed. This photo prompted lots of derisory comment when Dave posted it on FaceBook as he posed the question Who do you think we look like from the TV programme? Thats me in the yellow, Lee in black jacket, and Dave with flat cap
Scenic Yorkshire countryside around Holmfirth
It really is God’s Country!
With good blood hound skills and the kind help of a local chap who was mowing the grass around the old ex-army Land Rover 101 that was sat at the bottom of his garden Lee took us off-road again, he stopped at the bend and had a walk ahead, just in case it petered out into a goat track. Lee said he wasnt 100% sure if this was the one, After all they are not signed and are quite difficult to find sometime. We were all happy to bash on and give it a go.
“The next bit is easy”
Down we went through the leafy lane, engaging low box again as Hawthorne and blackthorn clawed at the truck,we moved through the undergrowth brushing it aside it was starting to grow quickly after the recent rain. I was driving up over large flat boulders then dropping front wheels first into deep tracks, the back-end slips down into the ruts and along we went. Lee disappeared around a steep left hander, I slowed down and watched his steep decent then he disappeared from view. Lee appeared back at the corner grinning. “Just letting everyone know whats ahead” he says with a beam on his face”. A minute later wifey also came back up the hill she poked her head into my truck and said the next bit is OK. But she had such a smile on her face I didn’t quite believe her!
Lee leaves the truck and the kids parked up again!
I got out and walked to the corner. FOOK ME! Have I got to go down THERE!!?? I have to admit that was my first thought. though I did use one or more expletives. Once over the initial shock and seeing how he’d just left his truck hanging there made me think it would actually be OK. Its no wonder wifey was smirking like a Cheshire cat!!
Approaching the bomb-hole
Watching Lee play in the bomb hole was amusing, his back wheel came up higher and higher, Oh I forgot to say! Lee did get the brood out of the back this time they scrambled up the banking to watch from a safe distance. Once he was clear I released the hand brake and went as far over the flat piece of corner as I could before swinging left and tipped over (literally) slowly into the hole, I was tipped hard over to my left and was pointing downhill too, first gear in low box and slow gentle brake had me ease through another obstacle. Wow this was fun! At the bottom I pulled up behind Lee, he asked if I fancied turning round and going back up? I looked at him and thought he was joking “Aye OK I said lets give it a go” I did a similar stunt once before with a mad biking pal and ended up on my ass! My big toe still reminds me of that day now and again.
One by one behind me they cam and all negotiated the bomb hole well, entering it at the same crazy angle, turning round at the bottom we set off back up. “Ha Ha Ha this is fookin mad!” I giggled to myself. Boy I was thoroughly enjoying myself! One by one everyone skipped and bounced up the hill, several big boulders heaved the trucks about. Andrew was spinning and struggling, he got out and heaved some boulders out the way and tried a few more times but he was getting nowhere. The he got out and put the front wheels into drive manually by turning the knobs on the wheels, what a difference that made, he skipped and bounced all the way up and disappeared around the corner at the top. I was stood watching with the Gareth in his disco, he didn’t think he would get up with his road tyres after seeing Andy struggle. But once again the disco proved him wrong and bobbed and bounced its way up before it too disappeared around the corner. Right then my turn,I checked low box was engaged and set off, going into second I ran up the track, I ran in the ruts up to the bomb hole then swung left and skirted round it to stop on the lean behind the disco, he had to climb in and out through the window, the banking wouldn’t allow the door to open! He moved it over a bit to get the door open letting wife and kids back in again.
We drove all the way back up the hill to the start of the lane and had a natter and more drinks. The scenery was quite breathtaking every time we drove up to the high ground. I’ve seen much of England on our roads but today I saw often visited places from a different prospective and how beautiful it looks.
It was a great day out with the some of the folk from Doncaster Land Rover Club and though I started of not knowing anyone I felt comfortable with everyone right from the word go. The common thing between everyone was our trucks! Even the hundred or so kids that came along seemed to get on well with each other. I’m looking forward to the next outing already. Id like to shout a big thanks to Lee for organising and looking after everyone and to Dave for some of his photographs