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21/05

Off-road training day 2

One of the highlights so far. All three of us went to Land Rover Experience at Eastnor Castle, where Land Rover have access to the 5000 acres of mud tracks, steep hills, rivers, and forests at the foot of the Malverns Hills.

Here we got to experience the Defender in its most natural environment and see it doing what it does best – ploughing through water, inching itself up or down ridiculously steep slopes (that we couldn’t even walk down) and pulling itself out of holes (the technical term). We drove up the aptly named ‘Gearbox Hill’, bounced along ‘The Steps’, got a bit breathless on ‘Roger’s Quarry’ and finally finished with ‘The Gravestones’ (car and us still intact). We came away totally in awe of what this car can do.

The brilliant Mike Chambers was our teacher, and he patiently taught us about diff lock, driving angles, winching, low ratio gears, winching and most importantly, the planning and decision-making process when approaching an obstacle or difficult route.

There are times on our journey when we’ll definitely be using some of our new found skills, such as the interior of Iceland.  On the one hand I hope we don’t ever have to put into practice what we learned on those two days, but on the other, I really hope we do.

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