.....and why not?
All the fun stuff happens when you are on holiday... then its back home to the day to day house chores and caring duties again... so please bear with me and humour me as I elongate our holiday memoirs and tell you more exciting adventures from our Lake district trip (I'm going to need another holiday after this one to have some more experiences to write about!!)
As you can see in "Traveling to the lakes with Heni" http://henibean.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/travelling-with-heni-journey-to-lakes.html we traveled "up north" in convoy...partly because of the number of people and partly because we wanted to take the Land Rover with us so that we could do a four wheel drive experience while we were there (Hubby had previously only driven it on "normal roads" and used it for hauling his wood around in.)
I knew that we couldn't fit everyone in the truck alone, so I had telephoned ahead of time to a company called KANKU OFF ROAD 4x4 EXPERIENCE (http://www.kankku.co.uk/)and asked them regarding their vehicle availability.
Fortunately they had lots of slots open the week we were there, as most holiday makers had already been and gone home again.
We decided that the two hour experience they offered between 3-5pm would be long enough for us.
We met in a pre-arranged spot and did all the standard procedures... such as filling out forms and signing our lives away. We were then made aware of some safety pointers like "No thumbs inside the steering wheel" or we might end up with them broken!
I must admit I did wondered by that point, what I had signed up for..... however I was still sure it was going to be much better (for a scaredy cat like me) than doing one of the other activities on the list.... namely the high ropes course off the side of the mountian at Honister Pass...!
(for the more adventurous of you out there go check out
Richard our instructor went in the girls "Kanku Landy defender 90" and drove us to the route we were going to navigate "off road". He Explained that we couldn't drive on the normal roads due to insurance cover and so as we passenger-ed to the route we chatted and took in the scenery around us. The beginning of the trail was only about five minutes away and it was soon my turn in the hot seat. Girls in the back ready to be thrown all over the place.
The boys and Laura drove behind in our Landy.... a long wheel base defender 130 (if that means anything to anybody!) .... I was told by Richard that it probably wouldn't navigate over some of the obstacles as well as the smaller kanku land rover and we secretly hoped the boys wold get stuck and we would have to rescue them!
The first part was a rocky dirt track. Richard talked us through how to use the "diff lock" (another thing that looks like the gear leaver (stick shift) ....this puts the car in a mode where by each of the wheels can turn independently and is used for rough terrain at low speeds. He also talked us through how to use the brake to accelerate whilst descending down a slope?! A very counter intuitive thing to do...but worked brilliantly! The secret was to break enough to engage the engine more but not enough to stall the car....
Every now an again we would stop and Richard would talk the boys through the next section. eventually we met up with a few other vehicles and then picked up some walkie talkies which made it a bit easier to communicate to one another.
Gradually the terrain became more rocky and in some patches large boulders protruded out the track. Once again Richard talked us through how to cut a line of approach so we could attack them at the correct angle and have enough ground clearance so as to not damage the undercarriage.
The first major obstacle for me was a huge boulder on the left hand side of the track... as we drove over it the car tilted to what felt like 45 degrees and all us girls where sounding the whoooooo alarm.
(Due to poor photography on the boys part there isn't a picture of us doing it! However I kind of like this one as it gives you an idea of some of the tilts that the car makes.)
After a while you get used to the feel of it and it becomes really fun!
We made a convenient stop when it was time to swap drivers and let my son and his wife have a turn .....and also met up with the other group of Landy's making us in to a longer convoy.
Unfortunately this meant I had to sit in the back and take my turn getting thrown around. It makes you realise that when you are driving you get the better experience...no as much fun in the back!
At least I was able to get some more photos of the boys coming down one of the hills.
and catch them getting stuck on an uphill stretch, being "beached" on a rock.... we had to winch them up and "unstick" them! Girls to the rescue! (actually we sat in the car and the Kanku blokes did it all).
We had a short break at the slate quarry.... looking in to the very deep pit...the photo doesn't do it justice.
... and had a group photo taken.
Back in the car and a swap over of drivers again. One of the party had only been driving a year and was also able to enjoy the off road experience, feeling comfortable and confident with the tuition provided by Richard.
The trip whizzed by and we all had a lot of fun... I'm pleased to say that the cars made it through in one piece, as did we, and there were no broken thumbs amongst us.
It was a fun packed two hours and in retrospect we wished we had booked the longer experience, however it was a good starter for us and gave us an appetite for more in the future on another trip. The trails were great and we got to see some of the lakes that you can't normally access in a normal car. A very good way to spend some respite time.... I highly recommend it.
Richard the instructor