I learnt about the term greenlaning after coming to the UK. It is a popular activity and I wanted to be a part of it. Unfortunately some of the tracks that I saw on the net were quite technical and I did not want to break the Range Rover Sport. Things became dormant till we we got the Defender 90 a few months back.
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Ever since we got the Range Rover Sport, I had this itch for off-roading/greenlaning. I learnt about the term greenlaning after coming to the UK. It is a popular activity and I wanted to be a part of it. Unfortunately some of the tracks that I saw on the net were quite technical and I did not want to break the Range Rover Sport. Things became dormant till we we got the Defender 90 a few months back. The urge was back and I started following up with a few groups. Unfortunately most of the good tracks are up north and quite a bit of distance from London.
A glimpse before we start:
After studying online found that Lake District would be a good place to start. Saw an article in Land Rover Monthly where a couple suggested to start with a reputed company like Trailmasters. There was an upcoming Lake District tour arranged by Trailmasters and I immediately booked it. The cost per car is £200 for 2 days of greenlaning. We had to book our own hotel and Rajsri promptly booked a place called Autumn Leaves in Windermere.
I was extremely excited for the event and bought a steering guard for the Defender from Maltings 4×4. It is a Terrafirma steering guard. John from Trailmasters had said that a stock Defender could easily do the trails, but I certainly did not want to take any chance with an appreciating asset. I wanted the differential guards as well, but could not make up my mind on which ones to order. On hindsight, it was a mistake.
The steering guard from Terrafirma:
The problem in UK or maybe specifically in London, the garages are always full. They do not have time to do odd jobs. Unfortunately the FNG where I always go was shut down for reasons unknown and the owner was missing. I could not contact him, so started looking for other places to get the steering guard fitted. None of the garages that I went to was willing to do it. I found it really strange. Maybe someday I will find out the reason. So I decided to install the guard myself. The instructions supplied were lucid and I had no trouble initially. I was able to open the steering damper and install the left hand side bracket.
The bracket on the left:
But then I was stuck as I did not have the proper tools or strength to loosen one bolt on the right hand side.
Could not open that rusted nut and bolt on the right:
Back to square one and I had no time left. I was frantically thinking of going to Halfords and buy the tools necessary, but even then I was not sure if I would be able to do it. As a last resort I took the car to the the premises where my FNG was located. I had seen a few other garages in the same complex and I thought someone might help. It was a good decision and I found the right garage. The guys were really nice and quite eager to install the steering guard. After seeing their struggle to loosen the bolt I realized that I could not have done that alone. Some things are best left to professionals.
On a beautiful autumn morning we left London for Windermere in the Lake District. Stopped for lunch at a service area:
By the time we checked into our hotel it was late afternoon. We dropped our luggage, had a cup of coffee and left the hotel immediately as we were running short of time to visit the The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction in Bowness-on-Windermere. It closes at 5 pm and we reached there at 4, just enough time for the tour. It is an enchanting world where Beatrix Potter’s magical stories are brought to life in 3D and also tells us about her conservational efforts in the Lake District. Both Rajsri and I are big fans of Beatrix Potter and it had been on our checklist for a long time.
After the tour, we had a lovely cup of tea with scones and cream in the cafe. From there we roamed around the district and went to the hill top. We had been to Windermere in 2018 and it felt lovely to be back again. The weather was gorgeous and the countryside looked beautiful. We took the narrowest of roads through the trees that we could find and it was serene and tranquil with the only noise coming from the hum of the stolid engine of our Defender.
My Defender can call me dissolute when it comes to other Defenders, but I cannot help it. I ogle at Defenders and cannot stop myself from clicking pictures.
At the hilltop I saw this Defender 110:
We came down to Bowness and started looking for a good place to have dinner. Unfortunately most of the restaurants that we called up said that we needed prior reservation. Meanwhile the light was beautiful just after the sunset. I wish I had better photography skills to capture it.
Finally Rajsri found a place with fantastic ratings and reviews which could accommodate the two of us. It was Villa Positano. We had a good vibe immediately after entering the place. People were chatting and laughing, talking to each other and even conversing with people from other tables. At first I thought that they were the true Italians. Then after sometime we saw a sign board – “No wifi, please talk to each other”.
Article Credit: Dev Shah
Photo Credits: Dev Shah
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