Those long time readers of this blog will remember no doubt my obsession with Land Rovers of all types, having owned a Series I & Series III, 110, Discovery I and two Range Rover P38’s before my latest acquisition the Freelander I.
About five years ago I persuaded Debbie to accompany me in the diesel P38 on the London to Brighton run organised by the South London and Surrey Land Rover club which was great fun mimicking the route taken by Genevieve in the film of the same name.
It was a great day out with lovely weather and a fantastic sight for the enthusiast watching various Forward Control 101’s belch out smoke and invariably break down en route. My own journey started badly with the engine management system faulting the moment I started the ignition at the beginning! Nonetheless we made it safely to Brighton and more importantly back home. Sadly I discovered that due to falling attendance and increasing costs the event has been cancelled this year.
Now since moving to Wales I’d joined the South Wales Land Rover Club but meeting in a pub in Cardiff somehow never appealed and I wasn’t too impressed when they cashed my cheque but didn’t send me a membership card nor any information about any activities so I didn’t renew.
Fortunately on Facebook there are a number of Freelander specific clubs operating and one in particular seems to draw its membership from Wales so I joined the Anglo Freelander closed group for free and attended my first social event today which was a get together of ten like minded “Hippo” owners as the 4×4 is affectionately named.
The location chosen was Cosmeston Lakes Country Park (CF64 5UY) with the main organiser being Andi Jones. Neither Debbie nor I had been to the park before despite it being next to Penarth where Quentin lives. It took us about an hour to get there for the 11am start with just a quick stop at Waitrose garage for some diesel for the Hippo and sandwiches & water for us & Molly. Sadly we decided to leave Hamish behind on account of the difficulty controlling two dogs in crowds of people.
The park was full of dogs and at the lakeside swamped by swans and ducks!
We were amongst the first to arrive and followed the two other Freelanders pulling into a specially opened grassy space to the left of the entrance. Over the next fifteen minutes about ten Freelander I’s of various vintage parked up along with a lone Discovery II and some kind of saloon car.
The first thing I noticed was that all were true believers although some partners looked slightly haunted by the lists of repairs recounted as well as the amounts spent on maintaining them. Debbie, of course, was not one of them…
It was really great meeting like minded people and everyone complemented Molly as was to be expected. We’re looking forward to the next event where we’ll try to be better organised!
Debbie and Molly smiling in front of a Discovery II and a raised white Freelander commercial
I obviously need to add more spotlights to my hippo…
Molly proudly sitting in front of her master’s Hippo
Molly laughing at my suggestion to buy a 3 door matching Hippo for Debs
…or was she just hot?
These looked like stewards vehicles for off roading events
Parting shot as we began the trip home – obviously we’d expected being attacked by Red Indians!