Sunday Morning Mooch

I received a text the other day, it turned out that my old mate Steve had just bought himself a 54 plate Jeep Cherokee to replace his rather boring, but faithful old car, and he was quite pleased with himself.  Of course, if you’re a friend of mine you can’t simply buy a 4x4 and use it only for tarmac roads, that’s not how we do things, so we arranged a little mooch.

Unfortunately, there’s only one worthwhile lane in my area, and if you have a look at other articles in this section, you’ll notice that I’ve driven it a few times.  Because it’s quite easy I suggested that we drive it just to get him reacquainted with the joys of owning something with ground clearance and a low-box.

Apart from in snow, you can drive this lane from beginning to end in 2wd, but there’s one particular section on which I like to test the 4x4 systems on press cars.  Over the years a channel has been made by water erosion, and as you can see by the photos, it makes a good spot to test a vehicles flex too.

Initially Steve was concerned about how his Cherokee would perform due to it being completely standard, he needn’t have worried.  Selecting low-box, he eased the Jeep, off-side front wheel first, into the channel, and with a light throttle it climbed up the other side leaving the rear off-side wheel in the air, as you can see in the pics below.  After taking a few photos I waved him forward, and with very little wheel-spin he was out the other side.

The next part of the lane is pretty much straight forward, and like the entire length of it, cobbled, so you have to drive between 5-10mph or else it’ll loosen your fillings.  We passed a particular section that’s been subjected decades of off-piste driving and now looks a right mess with very deep ruts. I’ve no idea why the council hasn’t filled them in, must be a money issue.

Eventually we pass what is locally known as the Pigeon Tower, and veer off to the right towards, and through a gate that would take us along the last stretch of the lane.  As you can read here, up until earlier on this year I thought it was a no-go area for 4x4’s.

We continued, gradually climbing further into the moors stopping occasionally for photos and letting groups of mountain bikers and walkers pass with a cheery wave.

There’s one section that’s quite narrow, and because it’s on an angle the lower part has become waterlogged and has began eroding away.  As you can see in my review of Skoda’s Octavia Scout, and the photo to the left,  you can just about squeeze through with a 4x4 that doesn’t have much ground clearance, but in Deux Smurf and Steve’s Jeep it doesn’t pose much of a problem.

We stopped near the end for a good natter and to put the world to rights, and it appeared that I’d rekindled Steve’s enthusiasm for green-laning too.  Athough we were blessed with an almost clear sky, being the last week of October it was getting quite chilly and the wind had a bite to it, so after an 1/2 hour or so, we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.  

In all, it was a good morning’s green-laning, we left the lane as we found it with minimal evidence that we’d ever been there, just as it should be.