Procynosuchus skeleton

Tom Kemp

Recreation: Land Rovers and Aeroplanes

I purchased a Land Rover Discovery in 1990, the then brand new model recently introduced by Land Rover to compete directly with the Mitsubishi Shogun and Toyota Landcruiser that had been dominating the comfortable end of the 4WD market. Having built a ‘dexion’ angle-iron frame that could replace the rear seats, support a mattress and bedroll, and add plenty of storage space below, I ventured all over Europe, as far afield as North Cape and the tundra at the top of Norway, the Baltic States, the Black Sea, and also into Morocco, the Atlas Mountains and edge of the Sahara Desert. In Summer 2001, with Malgosia my wife, we got as far as the 2000 year old rock-carved Nabatean city of Petra in southern Jordan, via all sorts of exciting places in Turkey and Syria.

After a tough 200,000 miles, it more or less gave up the ghost. Its replacement is a Discovery 2, which has an even more comfortable and elaborate interior. Improvements are a very lightweight aluminium frame inside, a roof rack with an ‘Expedition’ box and 20 litre water tank, and an 18 litre Waeco compression frig and auxiliary battery system. Our longest trips to date have been around Albania, Moldova and Ukraine.

I gained a Private Pilot’s Licence in 1993, bought a two-seater Piper Tomahawk PA38, and changed it for a rather ancient but beautiful four-seater Piper Warrior PA28. It is kept at Enstone Airfield near Chipping Norton. There is no satisfaction I know of quite like drifting around the skies of England, perhaps crossing the English Channel with Malgosia and landing at little grass airfields deep in the Normandy countryside. How unimportant the bustling and minor irritations of daily life seem to be.

The Discovery at North Cape View photo album