It’s quite easy to get a bit blasé about greenlaning. I’ve been doing it for years, and have been proud of the fact that I’ve never got stuck and have generally avoided any damage to my car at all. That changed last night.
We were tackling a tricky lane in Nant-y-Moch, one which will be closed in a few days time for tree felling. Me and a friend thought we’d get in before the chop so to speak. It’s a lane we both know well, and one which I’ve travelled down twice in the past couple of months, with no drama at all. Going up the lane is much more difficult, but I’d successfully done so in the Maverick last year, albeit it was very much a challenge that required several attempts.
I got through what I thought was the tricky section with no problems. Easy! It’s all about momentum – going as slowly as possible, but quickly enough to keep moving. Then the lane began to tilt the Discovery onto its side. One side of the lane had been washed out very badly, and I mis-judged just how bad things were. The front end began to slide into the bank and the rear followed. I eased back and forth, but there was no escape. I was lodged firmly against the bank. My options were to attempt recovery or risk much damage.
With the front indicator housing already snapped off its mountings, recovery seemed the sensible option. I could drive forward to free the front end from the bank, but was powerless to do the same with the rear. My friend in his Defender was deployed and a short, sharp tug pulled the back end away. I could then reverse down the lane to ponder our next move and repair damage!
We used string to hold the indicator housing in place. I think superglue should mend it longer term. That wasn’t the only damage though.
The entire side is now littered with scratch marks, some of them quite deep. Fortunately, the Discovery’s side panels are aluminium, so corrosion is not a problem. I’ll have to see what I can do about tidying it up a bit.
My friend then set about getting even more stuck than I had managed, so the rest of our adventure involved trying to free his Defender – a fine education in how to use a hi-lift jack and the importance of having a shovel. With his car free and light fading, we opted to abort our adventure. We’d got all of about half a mile into the lane! Our local laning group is already plotting repairs to this lane, so hopefully when it reopens in 2014, it’ll be in far better shape.
But for me, I’m now rethinking the future of the Discovery. My initial plan was one of preservation, keeping the Disco as original as possible. Now I’ve damaged it and also realised how poor a standard Discovery is when it comes to recovery points, I’m considering a change of direction. Is it time to make with the modifications? Do I really want a vehicle that looks more aggressive? It’s perhaps time to answer those questions.