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Tales Of The Unexpected - Part 23

Tales Of The Unexpected - Part 23

In a recent thread about fuel prices, I mentioned that when I was A LOT younger, a friend and I spent three weeks driving my first Land Rover round the top of the UK. Remembering this, I finally dug out the photos, and I've spent some time scanning them from the gloss print originals so that I could show you a few.

Our route was as follows: starting in Derbyshire, we went up the west coast of England and into and around the Lake District, then up into Scotland, up the western side of Scotland and eventually all the way up to John o'Groats.

Then down the east coast, stopping off at Aberdeen to take the ferry to the Shetland Islands. After a couple of days in the Shetlands, we came back to Aberdeen, and then drove down the east of Scotland, back through Northumbria, into and around the North York Moors, and then finally back home to Derbyshire.

At this distance of time, I have no clue how many miles we did, or what it cost, but neither of us were (or are) rich, so it must have been within the budget of two working nineteen year olds at the time.

The vehicle was an early Series 3 2.25 diesel completely bog-standard hardtop, with no overdrive or different diffs, so flat out was about 60mph. The only modification was some sheets of marine ply laid across the rear weelarches, to provide a sleeping platform - one of us slept in the front, and one in the rear. Looking back, we must have been bonkers, but at the time we thought nothing of it.

So, here we are, first piccie:


As you can see, we are in the Lakes, about to drive an old coach road across the hills to Keswick. Don't you just love those old "Unsuitable for Motors" signs. I bet this isn't driveable anymore, I think they've stopped most off-road access in the Lakes, nowadays.

This was the only photo I could definitely identify as being in the Lakes apart from those taken when we visited the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway, so let's move on:


Here we are, somewhere in Scotland, carrying out some impromptu maintenance:


Yes, there was an oil leak...

We drove up the west coast, and across through Glencoe to Ballachulish where we took the ferry across Loch Levan (the bridge wasn't there in those days) and then drove back to Kinlochleven. From there we took to the old military roads across Rannoch Moor to Loch Rannoch - 30 miles of off-roading - I wonder if that route is still open?


Sometimes the track was clearly defined:


...and sometimes it wasn't:


Then we went up to Fort William, and took some photos of the Black-Five steam loco that had just started being run on the Fort William - Mallaig line.

We wended our way up the west of Scotland, and eventually made it to John O'Groats. I've got a photo of the Hotel there, but as it hasn't got the Landy in it, I didn't bother showing it.

Then we went down to Aberdeen, and took the Ferry to Lerwick. I'm missing the film of our Shetland days, so I can't show you any photos. It's a shame, as I recall there being some good ones. I remember we crossed over from the Main Island to Yell on a car ferry that wasn't much bigger than two Landies, and the sea was breaking over the bow, and washing right along the car deck and off the stern - that was quite interesting!!

On our return to Aberdeen, we proceeded down the east coast and into Northumberland, and then down into North Yorkshire. We drove over Tan Hill, and visited the Inn there, and we went to Masham and spent a while at Theakston's brewery ;)

This is somewhere in North Yorkshire, but I don't know where:


But we met a friend...


Strange now, to think that the 90 was nearly new when that photo was taken...

From there we finally made our way home to Derbyshire. Apart from the addition of gearbox oil and fuel, the Land Rover didn't require any work in all the miles it covered, and nothing broke!!

However, shortly after our return, it failed it's MOT, and so we decided to strip and rebuild it. I'll cover that in the next installment...
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