4x4 Adventures Ltd Taunton, Somerset
Wellington Drive Round Day, 31st May 08
Well the day didnít start exactly to plan, whilst recceing some of the tracks after the recent rain the lead vehicle became bogged down in a seamlessly easy looking piece of ground, so winches were deployed for some self recovery and that was before anyone had arrived for the day!

We made it to the meeting point for the 10:15 meet and greet, but not with a lot of time to spare! On completion of the paperwork and the safety brief vehicles were loaded up and we were off for a 10:30 start. Ian Stokes a regular series co-driver had joined us for his first driving day with us accompanied by Laura, this was to be her first off road experience! Ianís CSW 90 which is running some descent MTs was well suited to the course and if he had concentrated all day he wouldnít have need the little pull off a tree in the early part of the morning, we put that down to Laura distracting him, although it could have been the fact he normally co-drives!

Stu was back to join us for a second time at Wellington in his commercial lifted 300Tdi Discovery. Again Stu needed a little help off a tree to avoid any damage after a steep descent. I think he concentrated too much on the descent then after stopping and talking it through maybe let his mind wander a little, which combined with the wet footing allowed a little slide towards a tree. After recovering Stu, the lead vehicle then got hopelessly bogged in for the second time in the day in what looked like a small silty filled hole, if only things could be so easy, 2 minutes later after a rear winch pull back out the route was adjusted accordingly and after a few more bumps and dips we headed back to the main meeting field taking in one of the access tracks on the exit. Unfortunately after a jolt Stus Discovery died and wouldnít restart until Simon Parsons popped around the front with his Tdi hardtop 90 and after helping to extract him from the ruts with a short pull back to level ground the jump leads were deployed to get him up and running again.

Jereon and Ger were back in another Tdi CSW (the same red as Ians as well!) Despite running slightly smaller diameter MTs than most he managed to drive the whole day without loosing any forward momentum (ie getting stuck) a credit to his driving and the vehicle. His 90 has evolved slightly from standard with a Southdown steering guard and Southdown rear detachable tow pack plus some JATE rings, which along with the BFG MTs made it one of the most standard looking trucks at the start line up Ė and he didnít get stuck once!

After lunch we headed across the road down to Widecombe moor where we started with some work between the trees onto the corner side slope which Sam found particularly interesting in his V8 90, luckily he had Ian Hawse outside guiding him through. Although an easy section the side slope adds to the fun of the corner and makes people think about what they are doing! Having safely cleared this we picked up the main track into the moor dropping down towards the duck ponds. After the lead vehicle made it through the mud run Simon decided he would park in the middle of it and ask for some assistance! He insists it was to see if the winches worked, I think it was more a case of the side slope in the mud catching him out!

Kevin Williams had joined us in his open topped Willys jeep, after a great morning driving he was struggling with the narrower wheelbase through the ruts and mud run Ė again the winch was called into action to help ease them through.

Luckily the remainder, having seen the previous pitfalls drove the section faultlessly allowing us to push on towards the vicinity of Ianís bog. After a short section through the moor and a loop around, it was the co-drivers turn again to marshal the vehicles down a drop into the river. Simon and Ian H took a slightly different option here (one of the three available) whilst the others took the big drop into the river. Ian Stokes who had been first through liked it so much he went around again to let Laura have a quick drive of the section.

With Samís V8 beginning to run a little hot we left his vehicle to cool whilst he jumped in with Kevin and we headed off around keepers wood. Coming back across the moor Stuís Discovery developed a slight overheating problem dropping some of his coolant and resulting in a winch followed by a tow to get him back up onto the track where he could resolve the issue.

Meanwhile the rest of us headed back up to the triangle to carry on with a couple of sections though the woods surrounding the car park field to finish the day on a high. Overall a great day out although slightly marred by Stuís vehicle stopping and later overheating although these things do happen. What makes the day is the way everyone pulls together to help out and get people through. In situations like this the stricken vehicle is recovered to safe position and left with owners to resolve the issue and catch us up as appropriate, this way it allows the remainder to continue on the routes. Despite the heavy rain leading up to the day plenty of the routes were drivable with more than enough to keep people occupied and happy. A top day out.

Some pictures from the day