Gone logging

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Trevor's Tipper is pressed into lumberjack duties : credit: © Trevor Cuthbert
Trevor’s Defenders get put to good use gathering firewood, although a final job on the 130 almost has him unable to see the wood, or the trees…

Minding my own business in the workshop one rainy morning, a man kitted out in logging gear arrived at my door. He was working on felling a big oak tree in my neighbour’s garden and wanted to know if it was okay to drop some branches on my side of the hedge. He promised to pick everything up in due course. My response was to drop anything that he wanted, but that I would pick it up – I need the firewood!

Trevor’s mate Bruce and his Defender 90 (with trailer) made the perfect companion for picking up logs

My friend Bruce and I have lately been working on building up our individual stocks of firewood. There was a large tree in my own garden that had to go, and other trees on a site that Bruce was clearing. Working together on processing the felled trees into firewood, we shared each day’s yield 50:50, using my Defender 130 tipper and Bruce’s Defender 90 (with trailer) to transport the firewood to our respective wood stores.

The dude that was working on the neighbour’s oak tree came back later in the day. Did I want any more firewood? Are Defenders good off-road? Of course I did.

Helping out the neighbours, and gaining some free firewood in the process

It turned out that the guys working next door were overwhelmed with the sheer amount of very heavy oak rings that needed to be removed, and saw me as a possible easy solution. Luckily the 130 tipper was empty and I brought it over and the guys loaded it up with some of the oak rings. The poor Tipper was down to its bump-stops at the back, such was the weight of wood on the body.

But that wasn’t the end of the oak – there was more left. My Defender 110 High Capacity Pick Up (HCPU) was called into action and more of the oak rings were liberated from my neighbour’s garden. Both overloaded Land Rovers were able to limp home, as it was only next door. However, when it came to transporting the wood to Bruce’s yard – where it was going to be processed using the splitter behind the tractor – I had to unload part of the haul in order to travel on the public roads legally; I did not want to be prosecuted for being overloaded.

Even the Defender 110 HCPU was called into action

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While the oak from my neighbour’s garden filled up our stocks of firewood handsomely, we recently had further logging adventures with our Land Rovers. An orchard farm near the Peatlands Park in County Tyrone was renewing one of the apple tree fields – the larger apple trees were to be removed in order to plant new trees (apparently when the trees become too tall, it is difficult to get workers/labour to pick the apples).

We were allocated four of the big apple trees, which we had to fell and log ourselves. This work wasn’t so local – the Peatlands is just over an hour’s drive from home. My Defender 130 tipper, to date, had only been used locally and had completed only one journey over about 20 miles since I built it. So before I set off in convoy with Bruce in his Defender 90 TDCi and trailer, I gave the 130 a good check over.

​​​​​​The engine oil and coolant were checked and the levels found to be just fine. Brake fluid and PAS fluid were all good too, but there was an issue with the windscreen washer system, in that it didn’t yet exist. Fitting a washer bottle and washer jets was one of those final jobs of the 130’s build that I hadn’t found a ‘round tuit’ for… However, on the wet and salty roads to the Peatlands and back, a windscreen washer would be essential, if I was to stay legal and see the road ahead.

I fitted a very nifty kit that mounts the washer nozzles onto the wiper arms, rather than the more traditional jet unit fitted to the bulkhead – the £20 kit off eBay is excellent, making me question why I hadn’t completed the job ages ago. With the 130 fuelled up and ready to go, we set off, on two consecutive Saturdays, to get to work on the apple trees.

130 tipper doing what it does best

With two chainsaw working hard we filled two full loads on each of Bruce’s trailer and my 130 tipper, across the two days and further replenished our firewood stocks to very healthy levels.

On key thing I have realised about the 130 tipper, is that heavy loads in the back make the Land Rover sit down all too quickly. A solution needs to be found, where the Land Rover is comfortable to drive unladen (or with a light load), while still able to cope with a decent payload without sitting down on the bump-stops. I think I have the answer and I will be detailing the modification to the rear suspension in the Tech pages here soon.

 

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