15 September 2023
Chris and Helen Wilson, from Goole in South Yorkshire, talk us through their pride and joy...
Is this your first Land Rover?
No, before this we had a Discovery 2 Td5 ES which was a great vehicle.
What drew you to this Discovery?
We’ve always wanted to do the North Coast 500, but as our primary way of going on holiday is with our caravan (not really advisable on the NC500) and not wanting to rely on hotels for the trip, we didn’t think it was going to be possible.
However, when we came to replace my faithful old Discovery 2 ES with this 2010 Discovery 4 HSE two years ago, we were astounded by the amount of room in it. We bought an inflatable double mattress that fits in the back, which started us thinking about doing the NC500 again. So, I don’t suppose I was particularly drawn to it as such, but the possibilities it opened up.
The couple love the extra space the D4 provides over their old D2
Are you keeping it standard, or adding some upgrades?
The latter. Most of our upgrades have been geared towards touring and camping with the D4. The decision to go on the NC500 was made at the last Peterborough show, where we bought a Vango Tailgate Air Hub and a 12v/240v fridge from Optimill. My wife Helen is really good at making lists, (usually long DIY ones) and they were getting longer and longer every week! I found a roof box going cheap that would sort out a lot of storage issues, but in the end, we never used it due to buying storage boxes which worked well.
Have you run up against any challenges?
One issue that took some working out was how to tint the windows. I found some kits online, but at £180 a set thought it was a bit steep. Plus it didn’t include how to black out the sunroofs. Later down the line we happened to stumble on some general-purpose multi-foil insulation, which is ideal for the job.
We bought two rolls for £24 and made our own. Each fastens to the windows with suckers, so they’re easy to fit and remove.
How was the North Coast 500?
Brilliant. We left home on Sunday 1 May and drove 395 miles straight up to Inverness, where we had a hotel for two nights. The following day we drove around the stunning Cairngorms, then back to the hotel. Tuesday morning after a good hearty breakfast we headed across to Applecross, taking in some waterfalls and visitor attractions on the way, this was then our first night sleeping in the car and we both slept like logs.
The following day we left the tent and had a day exploring the Isle of Skye. Applecross Pass was gloomy, and it drizzled both ways so didn’t get to see the views. After another good night’s sleep we took the wet tailgate tent down and loosely rolled it up and placed it on top of the boxes on a tarpaulin and made our way along the scenic route up to Clachtoll Beach Campsite, a lovely friendly site with a beautiful beach.
Smiles for miles at John O'Groats
We left the next morning and headed up the small scenic roads, stopping at beautiful sites and bays up to our next site at the Halladale Inn touring park, which had lovely food and facilities. On Saturday we headed to John O’ Groats for a look around. It was beautiful blue skies: timing was great weather-wise. Next stop was Dunbeath, then the next day we drove down to Fortrose where at low tide the dolphins come to play, a great sight.
From there we travelled down the length of Loch Ness for two nights in Fort William. We thought about walking up Ben Nevis but that’s all we did – thought about it… From there it was decision time about which way to go home; the Lake District always rains when we go, so we decided to go across to Edinburgh then down to Coldstream for three nights, camping in the D4. During the second night the airbed unfortunately decided it had had enough, so it went in the site bin and we came home – we’ll replace it for a better one before our next trip.
The Discovery never faltered once – armchair driving and fantastic seating position for the views. As for fuel consumption, we covered 2008 miles in total, averaging 32mpg.
How does the D4 compare with your D2?
Whilst I miss the relatively easy and cheap maintenance of the Disco 2, this Disco 4 is so much comfier, smoother and more refined. In two years of ownership it’s had a new park brake module and an air suspension compressor, both nearly £1000 each but luckily covered by warranty. I do a lot of greenlaning; usually tracks I know in North Yorkshire but have also been on great days with Trails & Tracks 4x4 Adventures around Durham, Northumberland and Yorkshire Moors and Dales. The car is so luxurious, power is more than adequate even with the caravan on the back and I feel comfortable using cruise control when towing.
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