In a post on Instagram I mentioned that I needed more practice off-roading, as much of what I’ve been doing with the Jimny has only been camping. Mat from North West Overlander commented that I should join his small group for a few lanes and camping in the Yorkshire Dales at the end of November.
To be honest it’s not something I’d normally do… Agree to a weekend away camping with people I’ve never met and I’m sure I’m not alone in that regard. However, in recent years I’ve been saying yes to experiences a lot more than no, and I’m glad I did!
Mat created a WhatsApp group for the trip and introduced me to another Mat @el11son. That’s handy, as I suck at remembering names.
It wasn’t long before Denis was signed up for the trip too. I’d chatted with Denis a fair bit about his custom rear drawer set up and kitchen in his new Jimny. It’s been built so well. Man after my own heart for the finer details.
3 Jimny’s and a bad ass Duster (you’ll not see many like it) and only a few weeks to go.
In the build up to the trip we had a fair bit of banter on the WhatsApp group and it was a great way to break the ice (there’s was ironically plenty of that on the trip too).
I was up at 6am to pack the car and head to the meeting point around 2 hours 20 minutes drive away. There were no dramas on the way down other than me buying an empty gas cylinder by mistake. Everyone was very patient to help me find a refill. Thanks lads… there’s always one eh?
The first lane was an easy one and as the 2 Mat’s had CB’s they top and tailed the group. It started out with Jimny Mat up front, Denis, me, then Duster Mat.
As we approached our first part where some instruction was needed Mat jumped out and explained exactly what to do and what line to take.
After which, we stopped at a beautiful viewpoint for a quick chat and to have a nosy at each others set up.
A short break for some photos and videos and we headed off further down the lanes. Watch Day 1 in Mat’s video below. All I will say is I throughly enjoyed it.
It’s worth mentioning for total beginners like me, how useful it is to watch where experienced drivers put their wheels and the lines they take. It’s quite hypnotic after a time.
We were camping at How Stean Gorge, an awesome little place at the midway point of Mat’s planned route. Sunset was around 4:00pm so it was getting dark by the time we arrived at the campsite.
Thankfully we’re all old hands at setting up our gear and it wasn’t long before everything was set up. The camping geek in me loved checking out all the different set ups.
We had Mat with his, 1 man and his dog set up sleeping in the Jimny, with the lovely, Bella, Mat’s friendly lab (unless you want to use the bin ?). If you’ve read my blogs on sleeping in the Jimny you’ll know this is a brilliant option and a wise move in -3 degrees temperatures.
Duster Mat had a massive walled awning set up and a bombproof military grade tent. A lot of space when you combine the two. There were rumours of some sort of tent heating system but we’ll let that one slide. He also has a rear slide out kitchen set up in his Duster. Really cool.
Here’s closer look at Denis’s set up. Very similar to Duster Mat with a fully walled 2m awning to compliment his custom rear kitchen. Awesome!
We cooked some grub and cracked open a few beers around the campfire. It wasn’t long before we were joined by another Jimny owner, Joey @octanejimny and his partner Emma. They were stopping off on their way to the Lake District. It’s a sociable activity this off roading malarky and we had a good laugh.
I think we all slept pretty well, I know I did. It was a freezing night but with very little wind, so that means you’re not kept awake by the incessant flapping of the tent walls.
-3 was the coldest temperature I’ve spent in the roof tent so far. My sleeping bag has a 0 degrees comfort level so I kept my down jacket on and with the high R-rating of the mattress I was plenty warm enough.
After breakfast, we teared down camp ready for a walk through the campsite’s gorge and caves. I love this campsite, definitely one to return with my wife in future.
It wasn’t long before we were back on the lanes for an epic day of gorgeous Yorkshire Dales views!
The highlight of day 2 was definitely the icy decent down to scar house reservoir. I’m shocked at how well the Jimny handles such terrain when it was difficult to even walk down it. I go quite slow to be fair, the guys got down in half the time I did ?.
Watch part 2 for all the action.
We ended the trip in the pub for a bite to eat and a pint, a classic British ending to just about everything we do in life. It was a superb few days with a great bunch of lads. Getting the chance to play in our cars where they’re supposed to be driven was a blast.
This trip has given me the motivation to do more off roading and not just camping in the Jimny. I’m keen to see what improvements I can make to the Jimny for off roading too, such as a lift kit, extra underbody protection and perhaps a new style of bumper that is more optimised for off roading (especially now we have damaged ours in a supermarket car park).
Stay tuned for mods and hopefully more trips in the near future.