Land Rover Defender Blog

Big Shout Out to WY4x4 Volunteers!

Ok, we're embarrassed. About a month or two ago we decided to set out on a little mid-evening greenlaning. At 8:30 pm we got stuck. At 4:00 a.m the following day, we got home. Land Rover safely recovered, this is the story of the seven and a half hours inbetween.

Ben Gribbin

Ben Gribbin

November 12, 2012

Hello, I'm the editor of FunRover. I'm a massive Land Rover fan. Currently own a TD5 90. 2015 MR Blogger of the Year
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Going against all rules of green-laning, we set off on a solo green-laning trip, as the daylight faded. That would be fine on say, a firm, gravelly track. However, the particular track we chose is difficult to say the least. We've done it 3 or 4 times before, each time it's been pretty hair raising thanks to a one foot drop onto a "shelf" on a hillside that steps down, quite literally.  What with all the rain recently this plateau has been made even worse as it's now covered in a slimy slick of thick, gloopy mud! On the way down the track we couldn't tell how bad it was as the lane had overgrown with grass. Fitted with decent Mud Terrains on each corner we had a false sense of security. The lane was actually covered in a three inch thick slurry, which really should have warned us off. But alas, we carried on to the shelf about half-way down the lane.

We put the Landy into low box, locked the centre diff and dropped off the lip as per usual. Because of the rain we've had this year, the height of this step-down seems to have increased somewhat, which took us by surprise. This is where we came unstuck. Or rather the opposite, figuratively. The 90 got into a little bit of a pickle and wouldn't drive out backwards. Rather than keep trying to dislodge ourselves and make matters worse (as it turns out, things were pretty bad!), we had only one logical option, Call up the  WEST YORKSHIRE 4x4 Volunteers!

One of their "Responders" quickly came to our help, with a fully kitted out Double cab 110. Let me tell you, the sound of a Land Rover gently edging down a lane to your rescue is a very comforting one. The Responder's 110 was attached to the FunRover 90 and we'd be home in a jiffy. Unfortunately, not so! It turns out that the lack of grip on the lane made rescuing the Landy very tricky. It wasn't helped by the fact that to navigate down the ledge, it's safer to approach at an angle away from the direction of the narrow lane. So the effectiveness of the snatch was reduced. After a bit of head scratching, and realising that the angle our Landy was at had put it at risk of rolling over, another Wy4x4 Volunteer came to our help. This additional 4x4 again travelled well out of their way, using their own time and resources to come to our assistance. The second 4x4 rolled up at around 10pm and was hooked up to the first responder in a chain sequence. Surely, this train of horsepower and torque would free our Land Rover. Unfortunately, NO!

With each attempt to free the 90, it just slid sideways along a banking, making the rescue even tougher! Most 4x4 rescue teams might have given up now, perhaps deciding to come back in better light the next day! Not the Wy4x4 Volunteers. They contacted one of their responders with a winch to come assist, but he was unfortunately unavailable. So, another two Landies were called in. The third vehicle to be attached to the rescue chain was a really unique hybrid vehicle. The fourth got stuck attempting to navigate up the lane, showing how daft we were to try and go down this in the first place. With three 4x4 vehicles shackled up in succession to each other, you'd think the 90 would be freed? Unfortunately, NO!

The angle of the Landy became worse and worse! The shunts weren't pulling the vehicle up and back out, but instead sort of nudging and sliding it sideways, till the chassis came to rest on a wall and the front wheels were resting on fresh air. The car sat at a rather unearthly angle, to the point where if the rescue convoy had unhitched, it would have have rolled completely over!

However, the WY4x4 guys are a brave and persevering lot and eventually, by means of using a series of  Waffle boards and jacking up the wheels with a hi-lift, the Landy eventually came unstuck! It was an absolute relief as I remember sitting in the cab just thinking "it's going to roll". Quickly, the fourth responder Landy was rescued and everyone set off home at around 3.30 a.m. The guy's were shattered and soaked through.

I've told you this story for a few reasons. Firstly, it shows you should always:

  • Walk a lane or rough section before driving it
  • Never go solo-greenlaning
  • If you have a winch, fit it!

But secondly and more importantly, I just want to thank "the team" for their help. Some of the guys drove an hour to help and this was on a weekday work night, during personal time, so I really, really can't thank them enough. Other members offered to drive from as far as Thirsk in North Yorkshire to help, but were politely declined!

The day after I sat down and it hit me, things could have been a lot worse. At the very least, my Landy could have rolled over, tumbling down the 45 degree slope (to the front of the darkened pictues) and have been a total write off. Even more concerning, I thought, I could have been seriously injured too. I was embarrassed, my off road capability and pride in question. Its made me think more about the risks and I take nothing for granted.

It's because of these guys that I have my Land Rover home safe and sound,  so I really want to thank them, I really do owe you all a massive debt of gratitude chaps!  A massive Thank You once again !

Please take 5 minutes to check out the Wy4x4 Volunteers site and if you can, please register as a member to help the team respond to as many incidents as possible when adverse weather hits!

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