On Safari

After many months waiting for consents and conditions to be aligned I had a pleasant morning doing a recce run deep into the heart of Exmoor with Neil and Christel from Experience Exmoor. They will be helping us transport guests of The Friends of Hoaroak Cottage to Hoaroak Cottage as part of the Voices of Hoaroak Project we are working on. The guests are quite elderly but have valuable memories of the cottage and the people who lived there. We are hoping visiting the cottage will bring more memories to the fore.

The cottage is completely cut off from the world, to get there is an offroad adventure driving over open moorland with little more than a sheeptrack marking the way. Obviously taking vehicles over open moorland is very sensitive and we needed consent from the land management company on the day we were intending to travel. We also undertook to assess the conditions as we went to be sure we minimised any environmental damage. We took my Land Rover 110 to inspect the ground conditions and take a view on the logistics of taking Experience Exmoor’s Discovery 4 next time.

After a couple of weeks with no rain the moor was very dry and we had no problems getting to the cottage as the photographs show. Only one section of the drive could present a problem for the Discovery on less aggressive tyres and we can overcome that by winching it up the vulnerable grassy slope.


I’m thinking about upgrading the lights on the Land Rover, any suggestions?

Currently they are 2x halogen conversion headlights and 4x wipac 5″ lamps on the rollcage above the windscreen, all have decent uprated bulbs. The rooflamps are switched with the main beam but need to be able to be used independently for river crossings at night as the headlights aren’t sealed so they don’t like getting wet when they are on. I do a surprising amount of river crossing at night believe it or not and its one of the scariest things you can do offroad.

A manic week

On top of the usual chaos that is life here on Monday last week disaster struck.

I was collecting a full trailer load from The Exmoor Centre and climbing the steep rutted stoney track the Land Rover was uncharacteristically struggling for grip. Odd seeing as it is permanent 4×4 and has a Quaife limited slip differential in the back axle. A quick glance in the mirrors showed there was no drive going to the back axle. The difflock was not engaging as it should meaning just a single wheel spinning would result in loss of traction.

On a 1 in 3 narrow track with no possibility of turning around there was no option but to apply girt heaps of right welly and  use momentum to get up. Unfortunately in the process this started the demise of the front diff. Stupidly after dropping the trailer load and the top I decided to return the trailer to the bottom of the valley. Apart from the occasional nasty mechanical crunch all seemed OK until I went the climb out of the river crossing coming back. A loud bang and no drive. Bother. Now bang slap in the middle of the river I was properly stuck.

Luckily half a mile away a chap I know was doing a spot of walling so I trotted along and pleaded for help. We used his 4×4 to drag the Land Rover out of the river. Safely locked up I went to celebrate the Queens Jubilee and drown my sorrows.

Next day the mission to fix it began. A mate had volunteered to come out with his Discovery to drag the 110 back to base. This was a good plan right up until when he lost traction in the same place I had with the trailer the day before. Seems he only had front wheel drive too! We both set off up the the chap walling and dragged him away from his work again. We soon had the stricken Land Rover out of the valley on heading back to base.

Pulling the halfshafts revealed both were in fine fettle. Damn, definitely a destroyed diff then. A bit more time spannering and the old diff was undone, pulling it out I was hit squarely on the chin by a falling cog. Yep, definitely busted.

On the ground this is what I had.

I think a new one would be a good idea


Lots of sympathy and mickey taking ensued on the Land Rover forums, Facebook and Twitter before a new diff was found for £60.

With a crowd of mates arriving on Friday it was a marathon of dashing around to get everything I needed to get it all back together. Finally finished on Friday lunchtime.

A major breakdown that would cost a fortune on most cars and even write some off sorted by some mates and a few quid. Thats why I drive a Land Rover.


Land Rover Pictures

This is a dumping ground for photos to link to forums etc…hope you like them

Land Rover Stuff

In the interests of making the old site avaialble for people to see please follow the links below:

The page that shows the Land Rover spec sheet – http://www.muddyredlandrover.co.uk/110.htm -needless to say, its out of date…

The page for photos of the Land Rover – http://www.muddyredlandrover.co.uk/photos.htm

The old Exmoor Challenge page – http://www.muddyredlandrover.co.uk/eq2.htm

The old Bude daytrip page – http://www.muddyredlandrover.co.uk/Bude.htm Link to Difflock article ‘what I wrote’ http://www.difflock.com/diffmag/issue17/bude/index.shtml

I’ll keep adding to this as I remember the urls