Expeditions and other interesting articles
Scenery: endless mountainsides layering into the distance, breath-taking Panoramas and oceans of snowy peaks. Terrain: narrow, snow shrouded Mountain passes, moonlight axle-twists and kilometre-long Mud-run extravaganzas. Survival: sub-zero wild camps, midnight double-ditch recoveries and fresh pancakes served through a blizzard. So, you are looking for adventure? How much adventure do you want? Five trucks embark on a recce to the Pyrenees in November, unaware of what’s in store but fully prepared for every eventuality.
Words and photos Ros Woodham - Published in Land Rover World (LRW) magazine 2011.
This article was written and photographed by Ros Woodham. Published in Land Rover World (LRW) magazine across three publications starting in February 2011, March and April. Land Rover World has now become Land Rover Monthly (LRM) www.landroverworld.co.uk
Closer to home, why not consider Northern Europe? Your guide is Ian Woolley and he can take you in search of the Northern Lights.
Photos by Ros Woodham - Words by Ian Wooley - Published in February 2012 www.4x4i.com
Who says you have to slum it when overlanding? Neil Watterson checks out a comprehensively equipped Arctic-bound 90 that even has a heated roof tent.
Photos by Laurens Parsons - Words by Neil Watterson - Published in LRO December 2013
Picture the scene. You’re in a roof tent peering out on the crisp snow gently illuminated by a full moon. Stars fill the sky and satellites streak across the blackness with clockwork regularity. It’s -20ºC, but you’re snug: not only do you have plenty of warm bedding, but your roof tent is made toasty by warm air piped from the heater fitted in your Defender below. That’s exactly why David Gould designed this Defender – it’s a work vehicle, but also set up for venturing into the Arctic Circle. In winter. But why a 90, not a 110? ‘If I were thinking “most practical” I’d go 110 or 130. But a 90 looks nicer. It’s a cooler-looking vehicle – I just love them,’ explains David. He does, too. This is his sixth 90 and one of three he currently owns – he also has a challenge truck and a V8 auto. David owns a radio communications company with masts in the UK and overseas and needs a 4x4 to get to the sites – which, by their very nature, are on top of mountains. So a Defender was a sensible option. ‘We have 80 or 90 radio sites and a tracked ATV, but that can’t carry much kit in it, so I bought this 2009 County Hard Top. And I wanted to use it for weekend greenlaning and trips.
‘If I were thinking “most practical” I’d go 110 or 130. But a 90 is a coolerlooking vehicle. I just love them’
I used to tow a camping trailer with it, but it was a pain in the backside, so I wanted a camper that would do anything. plus it still had to drive up mountains to the radio sites.’ ‘Then I decided I fancied going to Nordkapp – as far north in Europe as you can drive – in January, so I started to look at what to do with the vehicle.’ David hasn’t done much of the work himself, but he has been the driving force behind the design. ‘One of the guys at work did a lot of the mechanical stuff, but then I decided I wanted much more done, so I took it to Devon 4x4.’
‘Hey, I’ve got a good idea…’
As with all vehicle builds, planning was key. ‘David used to come to us with ideas, some of which we thought would never work,’ laughs Matt Cook, Devon 4x4’s master fabricator. ‘Then we’d think about it and say, “You know what, if we did it this way it may work”.’ Which is why much of the kit on the Defender is unique. Take the rear winch bumper, for instance. David had to persuade Matt to make it slightly differently because >
The heat is in.....
And warmth was a big priority for Matt. ‘We fitted a Webasto Air Top heater and the heat is piped out to a T-piece leading to both the front and the back. The front pipe splits and runs along the side of the seats, where I designed some heater rails to distribute the heat. This can either send the warm air into the footwells, or as an air curtain up the sides of the doors.’ But the heater isn’t only of use when you’re driving. Once you’ve closed the front vents, you simply drop down the rear numberplate and connect the ‘elephant trunk’ hose to the connector – you can now pipe warm air directly into the roof tent.
Sorted – inside and out.....
The interior is exceptionally well thought out. All of the wiring and plumbing has been routed out of the way and storage drawers keep kit in place. A slider-mounted fridge means getting food out is never an issue. Exterior carrying capacity has been maximised, with the large lockers mounted to the sides. One carries the roof tent accessories, the other crockery – in a custom-cut foam mount. It’s the second go at it. ‘The first one was nearly finished when some of the foam broke, so we had to start again,’ says Matt. Front and rear winches mean that if David does get stuck he’ll be able to get himself out – although, with ARB air-locking diffs he’s far less likely to get stuck in the first place. All the extra lights, including a whopping 80-bulb LED light bar, means he’ll always be able to see where he’s going. David has achieved exactly what he wanted with his Defender. With its gleaming red paintwork and comprehensive equipment roster it’s a great-looking, capable vehicle that has nothing to fear from the Arctic Circle.