Memories of the land rover – Farewell the Land Rover – Defender

Team Leaders Course Exercise in North Wales 4 RAF teams involved and lots of landrovers

Team Leaders Course Exercise in North Wales 4 RAF teams involved and lots of landrovers.

Today is a wild day in the North of Scotland where gales have shut many bridges and few ferries are running. A few roads are closing due to landslides and fallen trees. Wind just recorded of Cairngorm summit 132 mph.   It is also the day of the last  Landrover Defender will roll off the production line later ending 67 years of the popular 4×4 being made. Jaguar Land Rover has discontinued the iconic off-road vehicle, which has been exported across the world. More than two million have been made since the original Land Rover Series began production in Solihull in 1948.

Landrovers and RAF MR - what a history !

Landrovers and RAF MR – what a history !

I would imagine all over Scotland there will be so many land rovers saving the day as they have for many years. What places they have been so many ferry’s many now gone apart from Arran,  long waits for Skye and many others, great days!

1974 Troops Ferry

The No Ferry ploy!

On the way to Ben Alder crossing the river Pattock.

On the way to Ben Alder crossing the river Pattock.

The RAF Mountain Rescue for so many years has had the landrover  up till recently as the Mountain Rescue workhorse and many of the civilian Teams really on them. Please find a few photos of past adventures in the famous “landies”

1973 Desert Rescue Andover Move

1973 Desert Rescue Andover Move

The RAF Teams overseas also used the land rovers this is the Masirah Team in action in the Persian Gulf, life was very simple then.  In the photo above the team practices deployment into the desert with the Andover aircraft!

On the way to Skye - Dog on the roof!

On the way to Skye – Dog on the roof!

We had some great help from the estates and allowed to drive into some of the remoter Munros in Scotland’s wild places. Unfortunately I was not and still am not the best driver and in my 37 years had a few epics, it was not the vehicle but my lack of skills as a driver.

Up in Affric near the Youth Hostel - Whalley's folly No 1

Up in Affric near the Youth Hostel – Whalley’s folly No 1

Over the years we did many call -outs in wild weather and we had to know the hill tracks well and we learnt many of our skills the hard way. No off-road training could train you for a winter drive into these remote tracks and hills.

Winter Whalley's Folly No 2 .

Winter Whalley’s Folly No 2 .At Ben Dronaig !

The land rover was our and many others work horse and after a long search in these remote mountains it was great to see the land rover at the end of a hard day. Then you had to get back to Base usually in the dark, it may be snowing and across the swollen streams . Often we went out walking in front to find the way home. They never let us down!

At Fannich Lodge.

At Fannich Lodge.

I spent many happy days in the Land  Rover from a young age we adapted them over the years and one was our Control Wagon for many years and was a place I spent many long days and nights in.

1990 Harris Shack crash control

1990 Harris Shack crash control.

My early days we young ones travelled in the back of the 3 tonners to Base Camps and only many years later were we privileged to get a seat in the land rover! The journey was about 2 – 3 hours in winter at times it could be a  wild trip, we were in sleeping bags and maybe a few beers passed the time. On the way back it was great on a Sunday night to get a sleep after a hard weekend.

1973 Loch Arkaig Control wagon - me just a bairn with Abbs Hay George Bruce.

1973 Loch Arkaig Control wagon on an early call -out  – me just a bairn with Abbs Hay, Team Leader George Bruce and Archie Melrose..

I leave you with a few memories of the land rover. My worst one was waking up on the Loch Ness Road on the way out to a weekend when Paul Burns the driver and myself fell asleep and we woke up with the wagon somersaulting many times and ending upside down. We both walked out a bit battered but alive. We were so lucky I never fell asleep again whilst a passenger!

Oh No - Eric Highes

Oh No – Eric Highes, Paul Burns, Bodger, Heavy and Dave Wood.

In days of old :We used to be able to drive to Ben A Bhuird and climb the routes, a few times we got caught in bad weather trying to find the way off in a summer snow storm. We also gave a few civilian climbers a lift off the hill ( against the rules) after a days climbing on Mitre Ridge or Squarface.

Top of Ben A Bhuird landy

Top of Ben A Bhuird

Memories – The Wessex and the land rover

Great days

Great days

And More  – lots of past tales from the back of a land rover!

1987 handover landy LMRT

1987 handover LMRT

Always there where ever you were the old land  – rover, thanks!

1974 masirah wagons-001

1974 Masirah wagons at base camp.






About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
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