Just Chillin'


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18 April 2024
That kettle has got real patina : credit: © Martin Domoney
Martin braves the cold and goes camping for the first time this year

How late in the year do you normally leave it to bust out the camping gear? I have to admit, I usually wait until there’s no longer frost on the ground in the mornings and the sun comes up before 7.00am. But I made an exception this year, and joined the local chapter of the Series I, II and III Club for a pub-based social camp out and greenlaning excursion on the last weekend of January.

Bulby ford had Martin mildly concerned about his V8’s ignition system; it was fine

Arriving at the Wishing Well pub in the village of Dyke, Lincs, at around 4.00pm on the Saturday, I quickly set about unloading the Series III and getting the trusty cot tent up, as the sun rapidly dipped behind the tree line. Fellow clubbers filter in as I hurry to get my bedding spread out in the tent, anticipating a rapid dash from the warmth of the fire pit to my sleeping quarters later in the night.

Fire pits are a must-have for January camping trips

We enjoy a hearty dinner of homemade spaghetti bolognese around the fire, complete with handmade garlic bread – fresh dough cooked on the side of the Ozpig stove, with lashings of fresh garlic and butter. Heaven! The night sky is filled with laughter and Land Rover talk, as the dogs run and frolic in the grass and the fire crackles away. A couple of beers and a nightcap of sloe gin later, we all retire to our beds at around 10.00pm. It isn’t until you move from your place around the fire pit that you realise how far the temperature has dropped.

He’s smiling, but inside he’s wondering if he should’ve packed a third sleeping bag

Armed with a combination of two sleeping bags and a warm hat, I sleep better than I expect to, and wake early to a beautiful sunrise and a thick layer of frost on the outside of the tent.

It’s mini adventures like this that remind you of the simple pleasures of cooking on the tailgate – a warming brekky of bacon and sausage sandwiches washed down with hot coffee really hits the spot in the sub-zero temperatures – the diet will have to re-start on Monday.

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Lincolnshire lanes were slushy in places, but had a hard, stony base

With camping gear packed away and engines warmed up, we head north to Lincoln via some cracking greenlanes, splashing through the ford at Bulby. The greenlanes are hard-based, with a layer of wet mud in places, but even after the recent rainfall are perfectly fine to drive in our group of five Land Rovers – some club members chose to leave their camping set-up intact and hop aboard with others for the drive.

Of course he's driving slowly, he's in a 1985 Series III Land Rover!

After a couple of hours on the lanes and a quick detour to snap a photo with the village of Martin’s sign, we arrive at the International Bomber Command Centre on the outskirts of Lincoln. Recognising and remembering those who served and supported Bomber Command from all over the world, the IBCC is a sobering and poignant reminder of the sacrifice made by thousands so that we can enjoy freedom today. The view over Lincoln is stunning on a clear day, with the cathedral and castle nestled in the centre; it’s well worth a stop if you’re ever in the area.

After saying our goodbyes, we begin the journey home. The tent and sleeping bags will need drying out in the garden, and I’m looking forward to a hot shower, but I’m buzzing with excitement for the next camping trip.


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