So Kate and I (Matt) have had a weeks holiday and we decided it was time to really put our trust In the Landy and drive it over distance. Won’t lie, after the breakdown on our initial trip we have been a bit dubious over her reliance.
We loaded up the walking, camping and kayaking kit and set off up north. First stop was a reunion for the full crew – Mel is back from Costa Rica, looking tanned and on fine form. Catching up around a fire and BBQ with some map love was ideal. And as ever it is always a pleasure to be called a waster for misleading her by her Dad. (I think he’s joking)
Sadly it was too short and soon it was back on to the M6 and heading for the highlands. I (Matt) love this part of the world. It is the embodiment of what I seek when I’m looking for adventure. Snow topped mountains, cliffs, miles of empty moorland, cosy fires in deserted bothies and crystal clear sea lochs. What more could you want. Well, Whiskey and good food, but that’s a given!
The Landy was faultless (so far, still heading south at the moment) with it’s brand new clutch, extra weight and air resistance (kayaks) and (confirmed by garage) significantly underpowered engine. We have been calculating MPG regularly over the last few months and a sustained return of 25-26mpg depending on road types have been the norm. However this was our first trip with the new test hydrogen unit fitted the aim of this being to improve MPG, Torque and best of all, reduce our emissions. We will need more testing, and the aim is to have a larger more 4×4 appropriate unit – but there was a slight increase in responsiveness. The MPG was the same – however the vehicle was about 150 kg heavier, with two kayaks on the roof creating much greater wind resistance, so to be honest I would have expected a reduction.
We managed very little off road. Sadly the law is different in Scotland, with most access being by negotiation rather than any rights of way. But we found a ford, some tracks and a dead end or two. We also travelled some truly incredible mountain roads. Drivers heaven, be it sports car or 4×4.
First few days we stored the Landy at some friends of Mel’s and headed off wilding camping around rannoch moor and the back side of Nevis range. Not a midgy insight, found my future home and convinced Kate that wild camping is fun. We didn’t see a single person between the train station and the steall falls carpark. (Thankfully the first person we did see kindly gave us a lift down the road to Fort William)
After a recovery night in a b&b (only way I could persuade Kate to continue camping) it was a road day, touring some of the west highlands. Applecross, Skye, glenelg and finally kinloch hourn.
Here we launched the kayaks and collected dinner – fresh mussels with a white wine, garlic and butter sauce! Honestly incredible. We did also do some paddling. Down the loch towards barrisdale seeing some wildlife such as herons, red deer and some sort of large bird of prey. No seals or otters though sadly.
The next morning sadly brought our time up north to and end and we are now cruising the motorway network back south. But we will have more test runs, both for driving, packing and camp set up and they will evolve as we near complete preparation. We need to have all our kit to truly devise a packing plan.
As always, if you wish to be involved with our expedition please get in touch and to those already supporting, we thank you.
The O4erland team