Storm chaser

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LRM reader, Scott, at work with his most trusted tools: Chainsaw and 90 300Tdi Truck Cab : credit: © Ollie Stenning
Guernsey tree surgeon and Landy enthusiast, Scott De Carteret, tracked down the perfect Defender for the job

On a pleasant day, the English Channel is a beautiful ribbon of blue between the UK and France. But when the weather turns, conditions can become rather more challenging and hostile. The Channel Islands have been sculpted by unforgiving forces of nature and when a storm rolls in there are few vehicles better suited to help clear the aftermath than a Defender. Tree surgeon and owner of this lovely 90 truck cab, Scott De Carteret, takes up his story.

‘‘I wanted something I could utilise in my new tree surgery venture, and had been keeping a casual eye on the local market. I have owned two Td5s and two 300Tdi variants in the past but on consideration I knew I needed something ultra-reliable, and although the Td5 is a great engine, the good old Tdi exudes a level of trust. I’ve been a massive Defender fan for as long as I can remember: the excitement of owning one never wanes. Good original Tdis seem to be getting rare though, and to be honest I’d all but given up trying to find something really tidy, or at least until I looked on a local classified website and saw what’s in front of us today.

Island hopping: This Defender has lived in the UK, Alderney and now Guernsey

“Advertised as a solid and genuine example, an in-depth phone call with the seller, Roy, made up my decision to go and take a look. It wasn’t, however, a quick drive around the corner which is the normal in island life, it was a flight to the even smaller Island of Alderney where Roy, a lifelong Land Rover enthusiast, had owned the Defender for around three years, importing it from the UK.

“As soon as I saw it in the flesh, I knew it was something special. With just 57,000 miles on the clock since 1997, it drove so well and pulled so strongly that within half an hour I was already making plans for getting it back to Guernsey. The bulkhead and chassis are all original and even the doors are in lovely shape and all benefit from a coating of rustproofer. Nature, however, was plotting something and that something happened to be the arrival of Storm Ciarán. We were delayed in Alderney overnight on the Saturday as the weather was starting to deteriorate with gusty winds and rain, but nothing like what the forecast was hinting at for later in the week. The mad dash commenced on arriving back in Guernsey; the deal was sealed and the Land Rover was prepared for shipping.

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The 90 has not had a day off in Scott’s hands, and was used in the clear-up efforts after Storm Ciarán

“I was so nervous that it would be delayed for a week or two – once I’d paid Roy for it, I couldn’t wait for it to turn up! I’ve been exactly the same with all my others. I can’t explain how tense I felt waiting to see if the ferry managed to get into Alderney to dock and to pick up the 90.

“The Landy then got a true taste of the life it was about to lead; Storm Ciarán took no prisoners and felled hundreds of trees locally. The blue truck cab was pressed into action straight away and hasn’t missed a beat since. It also hasn’t had a single day off. I’ve added a few bits and pieces, such as the Ifor Williams canopy which was a rare find, but the local Land Rover network had one tracked down within a week. The truck is so original with decals and original paint that some would have it locked away for nostalgia, and although in my mind there is no right or wrong way to use a Land Rover, putting them to work is what they were originally intended for, and that’s exactly what this Tdi will do.”

 

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