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Land Rover + Hiking

He loves to land rover. I have been pondering a Scotland hike for 2022 or a Yorkshire hike, or what's not to love about the Lake District or Cotswolds? However, he's not excited about hiking, even if we use a pack transport service. He's in great shape, he just feels walking is trudging. Then I thought I might marry the Land Rover with some camping & hiking. This would be a surprise trip. Ten days in late summer 2022.

Recommendations for LR hire companies for camping or feedback on Yorkshire Vehicle Hire? Trip idea suggestions? How might we mix land rovering with hiking? Safety or security issues for a fully loaded rig in England? Do we need to do 3-4 days of camping with the rig and sites and then transition to hiking and using a pack service? Favorite places or experiences that you have to offer?

Posted by
4741 posts

Sorry, I don’t know what you mean. Land Rover isn’t a verb!

Do you want to hire a modern LR such as a Discovery or Evoque or an old Series 1 ? Do you want to camp in a tent or try to find an African safari style vehicle that you sleep in (you don’t see many of these in the U.K.)?

The walking is more interesting in Scotland, Yorkshire and the Lake District than the Cotswolds. The Snowdonia area of Wales is also excellent.

Posted by
712 posts

I assume by ‘land rover-ing’ you mean travelling the hike by way of an off road vehicle? Putting aside the argument for allowing off road vehicles onto the green roads and tracks normally only frequented by farmers, horses, cycles, off road motorcycles and walkers (colours to the mast - I’m very much against access to these delicate tracks by ANY powered vehicle) you’ll find that the better hikes in the north are inaccessible to motorised vehicles and indeed in many cases protected against them by barring the way. Even if you could gain access for a Land Rover or similar it would be dangerous and hugely uncomfortable I imagine.

There are off road vehicle drives available in the Lakes - at a price I should imagine! - but the better, more interesting (to my mind) places are only accessible on foot, thank goodness. I’m afraid there’s no point in hoping for enlightenment on walking if your other half believes all walking to be a trudge. It’s like jazz - if you have to ask you’ll never get it!

Hope you can get something arranged that suits you both. Being prepared to travel by Shanks’s Pony means you’ll have more than enough to go at!

EDIT: I’ve had a quick look at the Yorkshire Vehicle Hire site and reading between the lines there (and the reviews) there doesn’t seem to be a lot of off-roading involved. In fact some the the roads shown on the site I recognise and have driven in my own decidedly non off-road car! So I think maybe these are just an alternative to a camper van. YVH are based at Great Ayton (maybe a little tricky to get to without your own transport - but not impossible - I would think) under the North York’s Moors, which are a favourite of mine, but to a visitor with limited time, especially wanting to hike, I’d concentrate my attention on the limestone country of the Yorkshire Dales, I.e., the ‘Three Peaks’ area. Alfred Wainwright’s ‘Walks in Limestone Country’ though old (but relatively recently updated by the equally eccentric Chris Jesty) is the bible for this area, full of interesting day hikes of varying length). Your own transport to navigate this fairly large area would be compulsory as public transport is sparse to non existent (much of the area is remote from major habitation).

The Lake District is a completely different kettle of fish with better public transport links - it kind of depends where, if anywhere, you base yourself. It’s largely off-road driving unfriendly, but the off road (day?) trips I’ve noted appear to be based around the Windermere area. Hiking there? Well I’ve been at it over fifty years and still have more to do!

Hope this helps.

Posted by
552 posts

@PNW Rovers: do you mean overlanding? I've never done it in the UK but if that's what you mean I did find this company, https://scotlandoverland.com. I don't know anything about them but if you search "overlanding UK" you might find other choices too.

Posted by
8 posts

First, "land rovering" is a verb in parts of the west :-) Please bear with me for those who think we are treading roughly. It did not dawn on me that people might think we are coming to trample the land. Here in the west, rest assured, we have a very strong leave no trace and leave no trample policy. No exceptions.

To clarify, I'd love to know if people have regions they love to travel and camp that would suit a LR adventure (with roof top tent). I'd love to know where we might drive the rig to either a trail head or campground and not worry about security issues that might also have lovely day hikes. The other option would be to rent the LR for several days and just see normal towns, the coast, etc... and then begin a hiking adventure.

If folks have recommendations for hiking with a pack transport service, I'd also love that! I think the two adventures may need to be split into 2 separate time frames, but maybe not.

Posted by
8 posts

I want to add a "thank you" for the tips on the Moors and also on the Dales. I am a bit obsessed with that area due to a British/American botanist I have been researching and writing about for the past few years.

Yes, your word "over landing" is our word for "land rovering".

Defender preferred, but other rigs may be considered, but probably not a Series truck. I should mention we are on LR #2 at our house. The first one hit 280k miles before we sold it to a family for their 16 year old to drive a few miles to school every day. Here's to hoping LR #2 does as well.

Posted by
712 posts

Well, thanks for letting us know you are not for churning up ‘England’s green and pleasant land’ into something brown and deep and deeply unpleasant. Sadly there are those who want the right to do just that, and we must resist them. The Ridgeway in certain parts has previously suffered terribly at the hands of ‘4x4 boy racers’ (who are probably old enough to know better) to the point where, when I was there, it was impassable on foot. Not the object of the exercise one would think.

If you want great camp sites, then there are (or there were recently) a couple of National Trust campsites in the Lake District, one at the head of Wasdale and the other in Langdale. Well equipped but on the pricey side, but then ‘location, location, location’. There’s a camp site in Dent which our friends took their camper van to recently (they love Dent and it’s difficult to argue) and Glen Nevis in Scotland has a big, well equipped, top end price wise, camp site overlooked by Ben Nevis. My memory is that after a few ‘black and tans’ in the bar, the price didn’t seem to bother me as much! And again you can walk to Ben Nevis straight from where you are, as you can in the Lakes (but not up Ben Nevis - there’s a ton of stuff to do in Langdale, The Langdale Pikes, Pavey Ark, Crinkle Crags, Pike O’Blisco, and via Mickleden and Rossett Gill a long day into the Sca Fells). Langdale is home to the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, a place of myth and legend… Wasdale has easy access to the Sca Fells, Great Gable, Yewbarrow etc., etc without driving and also the Wasdale Head Hotel where Julie once nearly OD’d on the cheese board! I’m sure a bit of Google (other search engines are available!) research will lighten your darkness on the matter.

Again hope this is of some help.

Ian

Posted by
25735 posts

whew!

If you will be in or around the Lake District (or even Derbyshire, or God's Own Country) you may find a membership in the National Trust helpful. They own vast swathes of the land and they have lots of little car parks just at the right place. National Trust members get free parking in them. Great for hiking. Few if any of those carparks allow overnight parking or camping - that will be in authorized areas. Great views abound.

Posted by
4741 posts

Wild camping in a LR isn’t legal in England, so you would need to stay on a campsite - there are many private sites or you could become a member of the Camping & Caravan Club or the Caravan & Motorhome Club. Due to people taking staycations this year and the boom in caravan and motorhome sales, sites have been booked up months in advance. For summer 2022 (if you mean August), you may need to make reservations by February. If you mean September, this would give you slightly more leeway.

You may want to consider the cost of hiring a LR, site fees and fuel prices. Hiring a cottage and a more economical car may work out cheaper.

Setting up for the night in the middle of say the Lake District and lighting a campfire or BBQ, whilst a romantic notion isn’t possible.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks for your feedback, Jennifer. It sounds like from Nigel that there are National Trust sites for reservation and I know I have seen mention of camping locations on other sites. No worries on the campfire. It would not dawn on us to light one in August nor can I imagine where we might find the wood for such a fire. I am assuming a Jet Boil or some other appropriate and safe stove is allowed in your camping locations. I do appreciate your feedback on the cost of petrol and that would reign in the extent of our travels and roaming. That said, we far prefer the beauty of the wild to the cities.

Posted by
25735 posts

If you're in a Landy wouldn't it likely use diesel? More expensive per litre in the UK but everywhere (well maybe not everywhere - there are some decent distances between in Scottish Highlands and Islands) and will get you further, but with a Landy you're basically pouring your bank account into the tank anyway, right?

National Trust campgrounds book early, as mentioned upthread.

Posted by
8 posts

Hi Nigel, It just depends on what LR you are driving. Some are diesel but some are petrol. Our current LR3 gets very good mileage/gallon and it is petrol. I am assuming a defender would be diesel in the UK.

Posted by
4366 posts

A petrol Land Rover Discovery manages, on average, a realistic 25 mpg rather than the manufacturer's claim of 35 mpg. Petrol Defenders aren't that widely available so it's more likely that you'll be offered a diesel. Diesel is more expensive in the UK than petrol. I'm assuming you wouldn't be considering a Range Rover or Evoque but perhaps a Freelander?

My feeling is that your idea of overlanding in the US does not translate well to the UK. It's a much smaller and densely populated land mass and we simply don't have the same wild expanses as the US. Consequently there isn't much scope to go off road and drive between camp sites. Camp sites are all reached by public road and you certainly don't need a Land Rover or even a 4x4 to access them, any vehicle will do. Unlike in the US you can't go hiking for days and days without encountering civilisation of some sort so a "fully loaded rig" really isn't necessary, everything you need for a bit of hiking and camping will most likely fit into a rucksack.

If, however, you have your heart set on hiring a Land Rover then this company may pique your interest: https://www.yorkshirevehiclehire.co.uk/

Posted by
25735 posts

some of the links on that Yorkshire vehicle hire website to National Trust camp sites are incomplete. If you want to follow them note that while the link provided is nationaltrust.org the correct address is nationaltrust.org.uk which will go through... just insert the ".uk" into the middle of the link...

Posted by
4741 posts

I can’t recall any NT sites that permit overnight camping. Nigel was mentioning these for day trips and hiking. You will need to stay on a formal campsite.

Posted by
712 posts

Jennifer -

The NT does operate formal campsites, like those I mentioned previously. You are right about there being no overnighting in NT car parks though. And being an NT member doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay for the use of the campsites. That said, they are usually well equipped and in great locations.

Posted by
5654 posts

The only caravan parks we walked by on our Coast to Coast walking tour were in the North York Moors as we came into view of the North Sea. These caravan parks all seemed to have prepositiond caravans and I don't recall seeing any caravans being towed on the English roadways. That is not to say that the English don't travel with their houses on wheels. Jeremy Clarkson's program featured an interesting campervan challenge: https://youtu.be/I7g08nwEmyY

Campervan Challenge | Top Gear | BBC 36,966,462 views Dec 30, 2010

Jeremy, Richard and James face a testing 215 mile journey to Cornwall
in their campervan creations, before settling in for the night on a
cold bank holiday weekend in the West Country

Posted by
8 posts

I spent some more time looking, and alas, the camping conditions are not what we would prefer for Land Rover overnights with a roof top tent. Staying in a formal campervan "park" is not our thing. I will reposition towards Scotland and see what's available there. The Yorkshires would be wonderful for hiking and staying in NT accommodations. Thanks all for your thoughts!

Posted by
25735 posts

I believe that the laws are effectively the same

Posted by
8 posts

Nigel, We are not looking to skirt laws. We are looking for a remote location to camp and hike with a leave no trace/leave no trample policy on the land. I am hopeful Scotland or Wales might have some "quieter" camping locations than a formal camper van park. That might require some outside of the box thinking and/or abandoning some plans in exchange for others, but I am hopeful that wild places still exist in the UK.

Posted by
5654 posts

The Scottish Land Act of 2003 provides for wild camping under the Freedom to Roam provisions:

Statutory Access Rights

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 (which came into force in 2005)
gives everyone rights of access over land and inland water throughout
Scotland, subject to specific exclusions set out in the Act and as
long as they behave responsibly. These rights are sometimes referred
to as 'freedom to roam'.

Scottish Outdoor Access Code explains the privilages and responsibilities of wild camping.

Access rights extend to wild camping. This type of camping is
lightweight, done in small numbers and only for two or three nights in
any one place. You can camp in this way wherever access rights apply,
but help to avoid causing problems for local people and land managers
by not camping in enclosed fields of crops or farm animals and by
keeping well away from buildings, roads or historic structures. Take
extra care to avoid disturbing deer stalking or grouse shooting. If
you wish to camp close to a house or building, seek the owner's
permission.

The Access Code notes that access rights do not apply to motor
vehicles (see guidance on parking).

A very small step up from wild camping are the Scotish Bothies:
https://www.mountainbothies.org.uk/
https://www.hutsandcabins.co.uk/bothies-scotland/

Posted by
4741 posts

Whilst wild camping in Scotland has been tolerated in the past, many councils are now banning this practice, with a fine for violation. The situation hasn’t been made any easier with all the caravans and motor homes that should be in Europe taking staycations this year.

The right to roam on foot in Scotland remains, so you won’t see any signs indicating public footpaths.

Posted by
712 posts

I think COVID has much to answer for in respect of a perceived clampdown on wild camping in certain areas. People who would have never dreamed of visiting these areas have, of necessity, been forced into there because their regular haunts are closed off to them and some of those have tried wild camping. Sadly they have had either no previous experience, don’t understand the ‘leave no trace’ concept or worst of all, don’t care. For instance at the start of the outbreak in the U.K. the normally pristine limestone pavement above Malham Cove was strewn with rubbish including the remains of the cursed disposable barbecue. More than once I heard the culprits entitled response of “I pay my taxes, someone else can clean it up” which is just ignorant as well as deeply offensive. The same scenario was repeated in the Lake District and in Scotland, the shores of Loch Lomond suffering in particular. On a recent drive home through the Lakes I’ve never seen so many people on the shores of Ullswater with paddle boards, tents and, yes, sadly, open fires.

Of course, as we know, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction and wild camping activities are being scrutinised and prevented now in many places. However it is possible to wild camp in the remoter parts of Scotland with a vehicle. My friends have a camper van and have found isolated spots to park up overnight. That said the ‘leave no trace’ ethos is paramount. In the Outer Hebrides I’m given to understand that what was once paradise for camper vans, because of a combination of the virus and a massive influx of vans, you aren’t even being allowed on the ferry across unless you can prove you have a prior registration at an official camp site.

I’d like to think all this will return to the previous, more relaxed attitude as Europe opens up, but for the moment I’m not holding my breath on that…..