UPDATE 6/2/21 – Operation Underdog

Date: 5 February 2021

So, today is the start of what I have chosen to name Op Underdog.

What this means is that I am determined to make my Freelander 2 as capable as it can be. I promised myself I’d leave this one standard for its first year……I lasted 6 months! Modified Land Rovers are in my blood, I just have to scratch that itch.

I know Freelanders are largely seen as not even in the same ballpark as Discovery’s and Defenders i.e they are the underdog 😀 And don’t get me wrong, I have owned Defenders and Discovery’s with various engines and they are very capable vehicles so my FL2 has an awful lot to live up to. But I’m quietly confident that it’ll take on almost anything I can throw at it. Providing I’m sensible with the mods and ensure it has all the protection it needs that is I think I can make it a worthy contender.

I’ve also purchased a Bearmach winch and a winch mount from the excellent Muddy Mods. Together with some Maxtrax. So if I do get in a bit of a pickle they should be my get out of jail free card!

Each time I add a new piece of kit I’ll keep this post updated so keep checking back for the latest developments.

Today was the turn of the awning and the extra roof bars

Date: 6 February 2021

Today I was determined to fit the light guards and I did. Front a rear. Front look awesome bu the rears were always going to be questionable!

I have the facelift FL2 and to my knowledge rear guards for the new shape lights don’t exists so I took a gamble on fitting them but they look horrendous so I’ve taken them off again.

But, big but, I do think they can be altered. If I can just make those circles round over instead of under and we could be onto a winner.

Still to do is:

  • Tank guard
  • Steering guard
  • Diff/Haldex guard
  • Light guards
  • Winch mount
  • Winch
  • Snorkel (when it arrives)
  • Fit vhf antenna*
  • Fit cb antenna*

*cb and vhf are already fitted inside the vehicle

So watch this space for more updates in the coming weeks.

Freelander 2. Whaaat! You haven’t. Have you?

We have! We bought a Freelander 2. I know I’ve said in a previous post many moons again that whilst I totally have the overland bug I’m also into many other things too such as bushcraft and traditional skills, outdoor action in general – climbing, mountaineering etc but my first love is Land Rovers and they have been for as long as I can remember. So I am very well versed in the usual Chelsea tractor memes department when it comes to serious travellers, overlanders, off roaders opinion of a Freelander 2 (LR2 in the US) for long distance travel and generally getting it in amongst the brown stuff.

I guess though it is all relative to what you expect to get out of your vehicle. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some serious mud stuff contenders over the years but now all I want is something I know will get me out of a marginally sticky situation which will most likely happen on a worn out section of forestry track. Something that can comfortably pull the trailer behind us and something that has a fantabulous safety record where I know my family will always be safe.

To that end I decided on a Freelander for a change, it seems to tick all the boxes though I’ve not fully put it through it’s paces yet but I’m confident that when I need it to step up to the plate it will do so with impeccable ability.

It’s totally different to what I’ve driven before though, in are the Special Programs just like the D3 and the Haldex unit but out is the low box – Haldex is some sort of special black magic coupler that decides if the car should drive in 2 or 4 wheel drive apparently.  It really is a pleasure to drive and it pulls the trailer with no effort.

I’m slightly worried about the day I have to do a very steep hill start but only when I fins such a hill whilst towing the trailer will I know if that concern is justified. In the past those sorts of things have warranted switching to low box to get us going but only time will tell how we go with that. I’m guessing switching to sand mode might help in situations like that.

Welcome to the world

Welcome to the the big wide world of adventure, camping, fun and the outdoors little man.

Hey all, just wanted to introduce little Harri, just a few weeks old now. He is an absolute bundle of joy and is so going to be my sidekick on bushcraft trips into the woods and camping trips on mountain tops or towing the trailer to exciting new destinations across Europe. He has all that coming  to him.

We are now a family of 5 if we include Teulu dog (well, technically 6 but Caitlin is all grown up and rarely comes along these days) so we’ll no doubt be packed to the rafters with kit and gear when we go away in future.

Anyway, watch this space and you’ll see a lot more of this little man.

New Logo

So this is it. I thought the old logo was starting to look a bit dated. And if you looked up close you could see it was very Land Rover centric. As we move away from the Land Rover scene slightly and concentrate more on a broader range of the stuff we enjoy. This logo, we think, looks more modern but also gives a better understanding of what’s to come as the content we post is likely to evolve over the coming weeks and months. There will still be Land Rovers so panic thee not but also more of the bike, the bushcraft, the travel and other stuff too.
Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

But for now, just remember, stay home. Travel and adventure time will come but we must remain patient for how.

#travel #adventure #outdoors #landrover #bmwgs #bushcraft #stayhome #staysafe #savethenhs

Stay Home. Save Lives.

Hey ya’ll, Hope lockdown life is not treating you too badly. Listen I’ll say the important part first, we all want to be out right now don’t we but just this once we have to be grown ups and listen up. Part of my job is involved with the governments surge effort against Covid-19 so when I say I know that staying home is making a difference, I really mean that and my account is firsthand. As I sit here writing this the temperature in my sun trap of a garden hit 30 degrees Celsius. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones, I have a garden. I know many of you won’t but if we can just see this out I’m sure we will all be back out travelling in time for summer. So what have I been doing to keep myself busy. Well my knees are still showing no signs of getting better but I’m still able to get out on my daily exercise and I live right close to a wood where I can spend a few hours in total isolation. Well, except for my buddy Teulu dog, he rarely leaves my side. On one of these trips I stumbled upon a wonderful piece of hazel which I took home and made up a new walking stick. I added a nice handle and some pacing beads so i can stay on top of my navigation practice.
My new stick with pace beads.
I purposely made this stick to be 130cm tall and the reason for that is that I plan to do a bushcraft overnighter as soon as we are allowed back out. I’ll be using a tarp tent setup if I cannot find two decent enough trees to hang my hammock off. For a tarp tent to work the stick that holds the whole thing up needs to be that size
Tarp tent. Note the centre pole holding it all up.
So that’s the walking stick ready and the tent is up. Next thing every good camper needs is a decent beer so on an essential shopping trip (genuine weekly shop) I also stocked up on a range of beverages. Some were less of a success than others.
This was not one of the better choices!
So chocolate and vanilla stout is out of the question. Nor for me. However, give a Welshman a quality Welsh cider and and he’ll give you his heart!
Gwynt y Ddraig or Dragons Breath….I think. Literal translation is Dragons wind.
Finish that off with a quality BBQ and a spot of bird watching and you’ll see that actually quite a lot is achievable all from the comfort of ones own castle and grounds.
Actually, I didn’t take a pic of mine. This was my bro in laws so I’ve pinched it for my blog. Hope you don’t mind Mr P!
Name that bird? It’s an easy one.
So that’s another quick blog from me guys and gals. Not got a lot to say this time around. But once more I will say this…… Take care. Stay safe. Stay home. We’ll see you on the road soon enough.

Long breaks leave lots of time for change.

I should probably start by reading over my last post for it was so long ago and so much has changed in that period too that I a) cant remember what I wrote and b) am not sure if I’ll be duplicating stuff here if I dont. So just wait one whilst I do that……

Day trip to Porthcawl

Ok I’m back…… so last time, I wrote about the van and Land Rover Daisy and our dreams of travelling. I said how we were planning on getting a driveway awning and how we would get the OLO logo on the van. Well I’m glad to say some of these things have materialised and some have not – for better or for worse!

Logos are on!

I’m sad to announce firstly that Daisy has gone, she was too big sick for me to fix and I was starting to feel that my time in Land Rovers was coming to an end anyway, I think I was just clinging on really. I don’t really miss it, though I do miss seeing the guys at our local club (well, most of them at least, some I wouldn’t p%$s on if they were on fire frankly!). Most we are really fond of though and if your reading this you’ll know who you are – we miss you guys – I know many of you subscribe. Its probably been nearly a year now since my last post here and our last visit to a club meeting too.

The bike looking down towards Llwyn Onn in the Brecon Beacons

But as I eluded to earlier so many changes in that time. Primary of those I guess is a change of role in work. I am shift based now and I do 4 long days and nights but then get 6 days off. So in every 10 days I only work 4. Must not grumble at that and it leaves me so much time for family and interests. It does have its downsides though, it’s a critical 24/7 role for a start and my shift pattern is never the same and it often falls on weekends. Looking into the future theres a few Christmas days and birthdays I’ll be working too. I love my job though, its thankless but it gives me an incredible sense of pride knowing I’m doing something that is really helping to make the world a safer place to live in.

Miss OLO sporting our hoodies next to the fire

The van is logo’d up now so give us a toot if you see us about but we decided against the driveaway. We decided it’s a lot of money for something we’d probably hardly use. We rarely stay at a campsite more than one night before moving on. It’s also had some work done to extend the bed, we’ve added more lights, some overhead storage and other bits and bobs. It does have the most annoying leak from the skylight though which I really need to fix. I’m thinking some butyl rubber tape might work?

I’ve also fallen back into the outdoors way now I no longer have Land Rover to occupy my time. I’ve taken up bushcraft again and in particular I’ve turned my hand to carving and whittling. Its massively satisfying and I could sit there all day if Miss OLO would let me. So far I’ve tried spoons, cups and some faces to varying degrees of success. Defo more practice required!

Probably my best carving attempt so far.

My full bike licence was acquired in August 2019 and I’m now a proud owner of a BMW F650GS and the freedom of being able to jump on that and have some anti-social time is bliss to me. I’m hoping to combine a wild camp (Bushcraft style) with a bike ride in the coming weeks. And that’ll come to your screens in the form of You Tube Vlog if I pull it off so keep your eyes peeled for that one. It’ll be a full overnighter probably up in the Beacons somewhere so I’ll probably wait for the weather to turn before attempting it.

Gosh, that’s a really, really quick look at what we have been upto this last 10 months. For those that have stuck with me and continue to subscribe I thank you and I promise I will start throwing more content in the coming weeks and months.


P.s. last but by no means least. I mentioned Miss OLO above. Well I’m happy to say that come April 2nd Miss OLO will become MRS OLO. So very exciting times ahead for us.

Yummy damper bread cooked in the Dutch oven.
Near the Lakes. Stunning place but the name escapes me.
The bed extension coming on nicely.
More like 11 hours. Traffic was a mare!
Wild camp. The best kind.
Another spoon comes to life.
BBQ in Bude.

Adventure is what you want it to be

“Adventure is anything you want it to be, don’t let others define this for you. There is no right or wrong way to have an adventure”

– Mike and Shannon Mills

Winter is a quiet time of year for this sort of blog! Even my Insta account has temporarily run out of pictures (very sad!).

EDIT: it is now late May and we have traveled all over, both on our own and with the and Rover club and to some shows too. So apologies it’s taken me so long to post this. A new job is taking up much of my time these days.

However……a change is afoot! Against my initial (and better) judgement we  invested in a camper van last November. My initial (and some may say) natural reaction coming from a huge Land Rover fan was ‘campervan, how on earth will we greenlane in that?’. But the more I thought about it the more it dawned on me that I’ve never actually taken any one of my overland trailers proper greenlaning in any case so chances of me missing out by owning a campervan were probably minimal.  So as the pros and cons abounded I decided it would be a good thing for the family in terms of our ongoing travel dreams.

Afterall, we’ll still have Daisy, our trusty Discovery 3 won’t we? Or so we thought, but that’s a whole other story – she is currently big sick and I can’t decide whether to keep her or sell her.

Our intention is to buy a driveaway awning. Then we can use it as extra room for van, especially handy as a giant play pen for Aly so we can keep her safe now she is into toddler mode. It will also be our sleeping area when we have the Land Rover which will typically be at LR shows and the like.

I’m totally sold on the vanlife style of travel now. Don’t get me wrong if the budget had stretched to a 4×4 Sprinter I’d have taken one in a heartbeat – best of both worlds then. For now though, the flexibility the van has afforded us has far exceeded my expectations, in particular, not needing to worry about the weather during our harsh winter. Literally a case of grabbing an overnight bag , jumping in and picking a spot on the map to travel too. The van itself is totally self-sufficient with heater, water, toilet, cooking facilities so no matter where we end up and no matter the weather and temperature outside we will always be wrapped up snug and warm inside whilst watching old episodes of The Long Way Round on the odd occasion when our Vision Plus aerial won’t pick up a signal. I’ve also included a bag of snow chains, a decent tow rope, shovel and some other recovery gear in the spacious storage area. I’m confident that unless I bury it up to it’s axles it’ll cope happily with the odd slippery gravel track or wet grass pitch.

My favourite part by far though has to be the external gas point where I can plug in our gas BBQ and have instant outside cooking facilities. It’s not had much use yet but in the summer it’s going to be so well used it’ll need servicing by next Autumn! The BBQ itself is a Campingaz Party Grill 600. It packs up into it’s own case and literally takes minutes to set up and pack up and comes with several different options for cooking, it has hot plate, griddle pot stand and can be used as an over with the lid on. To date, it’s made us pizza and a very nice shepherds pie. The only thing about it that slightly perplexes me is that the instructions tell me to fill the base up with water each time before I use it. if anyone knows why that is, do please let us know. If I get the chance and if you want to see it, I’ll get a decent review done of this soon.

EDIT: I did my research I now know that its to stop any fat that drips over the side to not stick and therefore make it much easier to clean…..which it does.

So for now, check out some of the piccies below and we’ll see you on the road sometime. The van will have our OLO logo on it soon so keep your eyes peeled.

At very gusty (40mph to be precise) Spring Adventure Overland Show.

Outdoor cooking on the gad BBQ. L + M pie 🙂 near Ross on Wye

On the shores of Tintagel in Cornwall.

Lands End looking out to the US.

Chilling at the end of yet another fun packed adventure.

I love this. Subtle reminder to ourselves each time we step outside.

Cornwall again, perhaps near Bude.

And this just goes to show we can still travel in a convoy with the Land Rover club.


Workshop – Bearings Change

Sorry, I’ve not been around much of late. Our last two outing left little to write about and whilst I’m keen to share all of our exploits in the great outdoors if I just start babbling rubbish you’ll all soon get bored. I’ll say this though, we have some exciting weekends coming up so keep your eyes peeled for those, I’m certain they will deserve a write up in either a blog post here or one of our You Tube Videos here  //www.youtube.com/channel/UCDZAhfSeHirymRZp0ydNk5A?sub_confirmation=1

Anyway, latest development in the life of Marc is that I was rushed into hospital on Sunday and had an emergency appendectomy 12 hours later. Rather unexpected but it has allowed me some time to get a blog post up and for ages I’ve had this idea of posting workshop posts. Though what with summer time being so busy I’ve actually had little time to make any changes to Daisy or the trailer but there are many things on the list so again keep your eyes peeled for them. They will all be titled ‘Workshop – xxxxxxxx’ so will be easy to differentiate from our usual travel ramblings.

Here I’m going to tell you how I went about changing the bearings on our trailer after we had the misfortune of one of them collapsing on our Elan Valley trip. You can read more about that in an earlier blog and share in our trials and tribulations over on You Tube where we posted a video of the whole journey with a clip of the SWLRC lads trying to remove a wheel from a hub. How many of them do you think it took?

I guess this is what we started off with. As in this is how it looked coming back from the St Davids/Elan Valley trip. You can see that the dust cap has gone, as has the split pin – replaced with some stainless steel cable to hold the hub bolt in place and copious amounts of spray grease added to the front and back of the bearing assembly to ensure it didn’t dry out after the roadside repair.


Once we had it back in the workshop (aka our 12×12 ex-army tent) we got it jacked up and started stripping back the temporary roadside repairs.


Vehicle is jacked up and as we start stripping back the repairs we see that the stub axle has hardly taken a beating at all. We used a combination of self amalgamating table and strips of stainless steel cut from a Diet Coke can to bulk out the rear bearing that had come from a Land Rover and was miles too big for it’s intended purpose.

It was at this point we noticed the hub actually appears to have been re-purposed at some point as the Bolt holes appear to have been re-drilled in a different location. Most likely I guess to accept wheels with a different PCD at some point. I don’t think the wheels had come off this trailer for some time though as the bolt turned with the nuts. Wayne from SWLRC came to the rescue on that ones and with his swanky new 200 watt welder stuck some weld onto the back of the hub bolts to keep them glued in place.

So stripping, tidying, welding and cleaning complete it was time to start putting it all back together again. The shiny new bearings were acquired from //simplybearings.co.uk they have a really handy tool on their website that allows you to take measurements from either the existing bearing if you have it (or from the stub axle and inside of the hub if you don’t) and pop them into a space on their website and the site will return all the results that will fit. Really handy section on how to measure bearings too. //simplybearings.co.uk/shop/Info-Pages-How-to-Measure-a-Bearing/c4746_4972/index.html

I went out and bought some Vernier Calipers because I wanted to make sure I got the sizes correct first time but I’m reliably informed that the same measurements can be achieved with an adjustable spanner and a ruler. I have to say though I seem to use so many different size nut and bolt combos between LR and trailer I’m often wondering what size hole I need to drill for a particular bolt and those calipers will be brilliant for measuring ‘M’ sizes.

I just used a long tool I had lying around to gently tap the new bearings back onto the stub axle. I also gave the axle and the inside of the bearings a generous coating of fresh grease to help them on too.

And this was the final result. Very pleased with how well this went on, I thought I was going to have a lot more trouble.


We drifted the outer races into the hub whilst I was at Wayne’s as he had the correct tools to do the job and no doubt if I had taken it back to the workshop I’d have spent an age trying to find a big enough bearing to do it myself.

So bearing are back on the axle and the outer races are back in the hub. the whole hub assembly can now be pushed back onto the axle.


Bolted back in place and correct split pin re-inserted.

Wheel back on and dust cap tapped back into place


Just a couple of points before I sign off. I hope what I’ve written here helps some of you. I’m not a fitter by any means and this job is far from perfect but it’ll work. The more astute of you will notice I didn’t fit a fresh seal on the back of the inner bearing and that is because I did not have one and the trailer needed to be ready for our next adventure which it completed happily. When I got it home I stripped down both sides again and re-fitted the bearings with the rear seal. The purpose of which is to stop the grease leaking straight out the back and keep it all as a sealed unit.

The Unplanned Tour That Lost Its Bearings!

It seemed like only yesterday we were getting lost on our way to Anglesy on the 2017 Unplanned Tour with the South Wales Land Rover Club. Back then I remember some of the other club members miss-fortune and thinking I’m glad it wasn’t me. But little did I Know, eh, that in a years time I’d easily trump those minor niggles.

This time it was all about the scenery, the bearings and (so Amanda says) the toilet stops! And obviously, what with it being an unplanned tour we had no idea where we would end up on Friday evening or that we would make it to our intended final destination of Celtic Camping just outside St Davids on the Saturday.

Our meeting point was Bearmach at 3:30 on Friday but traffic was bad through Caerphilly so a few of us were running late. For those of us that made it in time we were given a quick tour of the Bearmach warehouse by Richard before we left. If you’ve only ever seen the shop one could be forgiven for thinking they just had a few shelves with parts the other side of the shop door, not a mammoth international operation running inside a warehouse big enough to play a full on 15-a-side rugby match. So Bearmach tour over we set off from Bearmach HQ shortly after 4 on Friday and headed North…….hang on, aren’t we meant to be going West!

The weather forecast looked ominous from the off but Lis and I packed shorts anyway, we like to play the optimists game. And in fairness for the most part it wasn’t too bad, it was pleasant enough for us to be able to sit outside and have our usual camp fire on the Friday. We ended up at the Whitehouse campsite in Builth Wells, which incidentally, is the same one we ended up in on our way to Anglesy last year too. It’s right on the river with a view of the Builth bridge in one direction and resident swans bobbing about on the river in the other.  We put the drone up for an aerial circular shot of the campsite which worked quite well – vlog will be on the OLO and SWLRC You Tube Channels shortly. Bolognese and some lovely tiger bread was on the menu (thanks Dave and Wendy who took care of the communal cooking yet again – legends they are) and very nice it was, fortunately so as Dave was quite adamanat that extras were compulsory as none of it was going to waste.

All was looking good as we set off on day 2 of our grand [Unplanned] Tour 30 minutes ahead of schedule on Saturday morning. The forecast told us the weather was going to be fine when we arrived at St Davids which we expected to happen shortly after lunchtime. Little did we know what lay in store. All was going well until a request came across the radio ‘shall we see if we can get the drone in the air to follow the convoy?’. Naturally, I was super keen on getting some aerial footage from the Mavic Air for the vlog. So we stopped a little further down the road to check the wind speed, could I put it up in this? With that Tom shouts ‘Marc have you seen your bearing?’. What bearing! There was no bearing left on the trailer, completely disintegrated, gone! This was going to be a massive problem and we all knew it. Our trailer simply couldn’t continue without a fix. So whilst Wayne, Tom, Gary and Dave G got their hands dirty and I supervised and took pictures we gradually realised that our options were slim. We were in the middle of the Elan Valley with no mobile signal and at least a good few miles from anywhere. Two vehicles moved away towards Rhayader in the hope that we could locate some replacement parts but not knowing what axle/hub assembly was on the trailer this was going to be no mean feat.

After hitting Rhayader and visiting many garages we eventually came across E T James, a quad/bike supplier who couldn’t have been more helpful. ‘There’s my store-room and there’s my press’ he said. ‘Get what you need, help yourself’ he said. I wish I had taken his name, what a top bloke. Life-saver even. Unfortunately though we were only able to source one of the two replacement bearings I needed. The ever resourceful Tom though figured out a way to use a half a Land Rover bearing which I happen to be carrying in my toolbox as replacement for the one we couldn’t replace in Rhayader. It was a real bodge but hey not only did it get us to St Davids but it got us all he way back home again too. I always seem to need to offer thanks in these blog posts and this time is no different, so I offer lots of thanks for lots of things but especially to Wayne and Tom for making the fix happen. To Dave, Wendy and Tom and Pauline for cooking. To Paul and Pauline for letting us make Alys’ bottles in the cravan and to Sarah for the tea and to everyone else for just being a part of it.

Upon arrival at Celtic Camping at 7:30pm, just 6 hours later than expected, we soon realised that Saturday evenings weather was going to be rather less conducive to a roaring fire and sit down outside whilst watching the sun set over the horizon. That is, unless we fancied battling the gale force winds! I was ever so grateful to see our Planned Tour friends already setup with kettle on the boil (thank you Sarah for that, you make a great cuppa). So after much deliberation and plenty of ‘bearing’ jokes it was into the rather welcoming Celtic Camping barn for the traditional SWLRC quiz and a few beers in the dry. I’m sure there was some dodgy scoring techniques by Wayne our resident quiz master which lost me a few points but it’s OK, I took it like a man and let the other team take the title this time. I’ll be back on top form next time though, I do like a good quiz. Pete, Gary and I still found ourselves sat outside drinking our beers at midnight though, like the mad men that we are, whilst everyone else had the sense to head off to their nice warm beds. We slurred peacfully through the noise of the wind rattling our jackets and put the world to rights.

If you’ve never traveled through mid and west Wales with the sole intention of trying to avoid the busy A roads you really should give it a try. The scenery is easily equal to the imposing frontages of the North Walian mountains in places and is very tranquil and quiet to boot. The Elan Valley is a particular favourite of mine, for it has an abundance of wilflife and raptors in particular are a big feature.

I have so many memories from this weekend that I’ll keep with me and I could carry on writing about for ages but I’ll leave it there for now and share them with you when we next catch up. Bye for now, if I don’t see you before. we’ll see you at Billing.

P.s. Keep an eye out for the flag! You won’t miss us 🙂



Happy 40th Birthday to Marc @ Malvern Land Rover Show

Only a short insert this time folks and I’ll start with the negatives, birthday celebrations aside I felt the show this year was a bit lacklustre. So this is more a thanks to the members of South Wales Land Rover Club whose stand we were on for the weekend, for keeping us entertained more than it is a writeup about the show itself.

Overall both Lis and I are starting to feel that the shows are becoming a bit of ‘same old, same old’.  Two shows in particular are the exception to that rule though and whilst others may disagree, these are our thoughts. The  Adventure Overland show with its interesting people that are always happy to impart their wealth of skills and knowledge, not to mention the plethora of vehicles in all their different shapes and sizes that are on show, Tom Mc does an astounding job of organising such a large event and now potentially twice yearly too with the introduction of the Spring event. And the Billing 4×4 Show that’s run by a family whom I have had the pleasure of meeting on several occasions and are as friendly as they come! Compare those to big company operated shows such as this one and you see how it can be done differently as soon as it is removed from the confines of commercialism. Though in the case of Billing there is the small matter of that tremendous off-road course too which I’ve no doubt attracts the crowds. Plus this year, the potential to break the Guinness World Record attempt for most Land/Range Rovers in a single parade.

Most of the rest of the shows on the circuit have almost blurred into one. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great opportunity to bump into friends you probably wouldn’t otherwise see because some of the exhibitors and visitors come from far and wide. Ron Wood and his Liverpool Land Rover Club popped over to say hi this weekend for example and we bumped into Edd and family from 4×4 Response. But for the most part we can often say we have seen it all before.

That said, Challenge South West always put on a good arena display at Malvern and keep the visitors entertained (note I don’t use the word crowds there as there was a distinct lack of them). Though, one thing that bothered me about the arena displays was that there was no itinerary posted. I often only want to see certain things in the arena and if I don’t know what time they are on I’m less likely to hang around and wait to see them. In my own opinion though this year saw a notable decline in both visitor numbers and trade stands on last year. One trader apparently outright blamed Brexit for that, not sure a LR show is the place for politics personally so I’d have quickly parted company with that conversation where I one of its participants.  Incidentally, a number of traders started packing up early on the Sunday and they appeared to end the arena schedule an hour ahead of time suggesting to us at least that the show actually closed early!

Nevertheless, we will no doubt be back again next year as it is our local show and South Wales Land Rover club always has a good turnout of members because of that too. Let’s hope that with plenty of continued support Malvern can grow again and become the show it has the potential to be. Mark Woodward if you happen to be reading this, I’d suggest more advertising wouldn’t go amiss either.

So onwards and upwards to Friday and Saturday nights festivities. Well, that is, what I remember of Friday night anyway. I certainly don’t remember making it to bed! And Saturday was a struggle, especially in the 25 degree heat of the day. I had, however, recovered enough by the evening to consume a few more  ciders whilst sat around a fire, well 3 fires actually and a lot of wood to burn having spent the whole of Friday night in the marquee having a right old laugh! I seem to recall the marquee being packed until the wee small hours of Saturday morning but come midnight on the Saturday there were just 5 of us left sat around the fire. The night before obviously having taken its toll!

On Friday I was graced with birthday cake, card and a cup. None of which I was expecting so big thanks to all at South Wales Land Rover Club that came along, that entertained, that cooked (must not forget Dave and Wendy’s mammoth effort who cooked for the whole club on both days). People say your only 40 once, well I say I am only every age once but I’ve got to say that with my family by my side doing one of my very favourite things (travelling that is not consuming) and my extended club family all around us you really did make it one to remember. So if I haven’t said it already massive thanks to you all.

One more thanks you before I sign off until next time. Last but by no means  least thanks also to Mam for putting on a mini birthday spread at home when we got home on the Sunday. You are the best!

Carpe diem! 

EDIT: Excuse lack of quality pics this time. Camera broke!