What is it men say about women drivers? Nothing good that’s for sure! But the girls of Long Eaton Ladies Circle set the record straight when they recently spent the morning at Rockingham Castle experiencing some off road thrills...
Sunday morning….early…..too early for some…..6 intrepid women met in the grounds of Rockingham Castle for a spot of Sunday driving….off road…in Land Rovers. Our instructors didn’t know what they had let themselves in for as we split into two teams ready for the off.
Fuelled by bacon butties and cups of coffee we climbed aboard our vehicles and prepared ourselves for the adventure that lay ahead. Shelley sat up front – well, she gets travel sick so we thought it best to play safe and not risk ruining the interior! And she wasn’t going to have a go – yeah right!
Don, our instructor, started by demonstrating the controls and explaining what the little computer screen was telling us – OK, so I know we girls can multi-task but how are we supposed to check the screen, look where we’re going, remember NOT to put our foot on the brake when going downhill, steer, keep the wheels straight, change gears using paddles on the steering wheel AND listen to instructions from Don, whilst ignoring the screams from the back seat!
Shelley was up first – yes, the one who wasn’t going to drive. Oh, and she definitely was not going to drive on the banked section – hmm! Don had other ideas and a very soothing voice so before she even realised it she was driving with two wheels high on the bank and two on the flat!
This was a closest we were going to get to driving Kit from Knight Rider. These Land Rovers will move without you putting your foot on the accelerator, in fact doing so was frowned upon unless expressly told to do so! They also brake as you go downhill. I did begin to wonder why we actually needed to be in the driving seat, until Shelley decided to steer out of the ruts and had to correct the wheels suddenly.
Having safely negotiated the course it was time for a driver change and Jacqui, affectionately known as Twinkle, was next into the hot seat. Bless, her, she’s only small and couldn’t see over the steering wheel! Problem solved – the posh Land Rover had a button for that – in fact it seemed to have a button for almost everything! Another gold star for our team as Twinkle managed to give the car enough welly to get up the slippy slidey steep slope in one go. Unlike the other team, who got stuck half way up and had to reverse and try again!
Things to bear in mind when off roading in a big posh Land Rover
- It’s not an activity for those nursing a hangover or for those who suffer from travel sickness – the bumps and ruts will test those with sensitive stomachs
- Speed is definitely not what it’s about; it’s very slow and you get told off if you go too fast, i.e. more than about 7 miles an hour!!!
- Don the instructor of the “Dream Team” has a good voice for reading bedtime stories – very calm and soothing, which was a good thing considering Twinkle was like an over excited puppy behind the wheel!
A really big thank you to the guys from Land Rover Experience for making the very early start very worthwhile; for putting up with our incessant chatter and cheeky quips; and for keeping us supplied with food and coffee. You were fab!
When we win the lottery I can confirm that sales of Land Rovers will go up as we all now want one of these big toys to go and play in the mud with – girls if you get the opportunity go and try this out at one of their centres around the country. I guarantee you will absolutely love it!