As soon as the invite arrived from Subaru to attend one of their press days down at Stamford, I was straight onto TrailWise searching for any interesting green-lanes that I could explore in the local area whilst I was down there.
TrailWise, if you’re unaware, is a website that records the location of drivable Rights of Ways in the UK and is owned and maintained by the Green Lane Association Limited, GLASS. It isn't free though, to access it you must be a member of GLASS, or a club that’s an affiliated member, which is fair enough.
Anyhow, I had chosen 6 lanes that I wanted to drive, non of which were demanding, after all I was by myself, and we really shouldn’t go off-road by ourselves, should we?
The trek down to Stamford was a bit of a nightmare, I left Muddy Towers a little later than I wanted to, there were delays on the M62 near Leeds and a 45 minute hold up on the A1, but apart from that, it was smooth running and Deux Smurf proved again to be an excellent motorway cruiser.
It was already getting dark as I exited the A1 onto the A6121, but then it was mid November and around 4.00pm. Barrowden Lane (SK9601-01) begins just as you leave a quaint little village called Kettle and was quite easy, in fact I could've driven it in Muddy Madams' Skoda Fabia. According to ViewRanger it's just over a mile long and made up of hard standing dirt and broken concrete. As you look at it on a map, the actual road turns to the left and the green lane carries on straight, oddly, both are called Barrowden Lane.
Midway through, driving from east to west, just as I entered a wooded section, I came across a gentleman walking his 2 terriers. I slowed down to thank him for stopping and keeping hold of his dogs. He looked at me in a puzzled manner and asked if I was lost as apparently a lot of people blindly follow their sat navs down this lane. I explained the fact that I'm one of those strange people who actually go out of their way to find lanes like this. He smiled back and we both went our separate ways.
A little further along I emerged from the trees, to my left was a tall hedgerow and to my right freshly plowed fields, the lane was still solid underfoot, but with larger puddles. Within about a hundred yards I arrived at a T junction and turned left onto the A47.
It was getting much darker now and I decided to give the next lane, West Street just off the A43, a miss purely because according to feedback on TrailWise it's blocked near the end, so I'd have to double back on myself. The lane that I really wanted to drive, before it got too late, was on the other side of the A1 past Stamford.
After a slight detour (ok, I got lost) I arrived at the aforementioned lane. Called ‘The Drift’, (SK9913-01) it’s located just outside Ryhall on the B1176. By the time that I arrived it was completely pitch black, and as I've mentioned in previous articles, the lights on Deux Smurf are quite dim and yellow, just about adequate for the roads, but as I found out, terrible for green lanes at night.
The start of The Drift, from the east, is a proper single track road, then after you pass a house it turns into ruts, not deep ruts, but because the ground was wet and muddy, it was enough for me to engage 4wd.
Splashing through the puddles, Deux Smurf was reminding me that she's still on some kind of heavy duty suspension that her previous owner had fitted, every water filled hole was accompanied with a thud. Soon the lane narrowed with trees either side, the holes got a little deeper and longer, whilst the mud became a tad slippier. After a couple of hundred yards or so, the lane opened up to around 2 car widths with a hedgerow on the left and plowed fields on the right, that’s pretty much all I can tell you, it was really dark!
At the end of The Drift there's a few houses on your right and junction at a small village named Pickford. I decided to abandon the other lanes as by this time it was just too dark, and I wanted to check into the hotel and relax for a while before tea, so I made an executive decision to turn around and drive back down The Drift.
If you want to get a proper view of this lane, go onto Google Street View and type in ‘The Drift’, the person driving the Google car actually drove its entire length, but it wasn’t as rutted then, I doubt they’d make it now.
And that was it, 2 out of 6 lanes was pretty bad, but it was dark and I was alone, so I’ll let myself off. On the leisurely drive to the George of Stamford hotel where Subaru had put me up for the night, I concluded that Deux Smurfs next investment, after tyres, is going to be a new lighting set up; new bulbs for the headlights, spots maybe, and certainly an LED light bar of some sort.