We headed South and made our way to Shropshire which is a wonderful place with lots of rolling hills and superb villages and towns.
As we'd left Preston late we'd phoned ahead and made bookings at the Smallbatch Campsite in Little Stretton which was a wonderful village with a thatched roofed church, 1 shop and 2 pubs
That night we really only had time for a meal and then to bed, but even with that we had decided to come back again in the future. The ford to enter and exit the campsite wasn't much of a problem - I think I could have done it on a bike ever mind a Land Rover, but it looks nice as you can see.
Before we headed home we knew we had to go into Church Stretton to the antiques market so we headed north into the town. As we went up we came to a junction looking for somewhere to park and to our right was a very familiar looking shape on the road.so I decided to turn down that road and give chase. .As it turned right into a side street my suspicions were confirmed, and it was indeed a 127 ambulance. The first we have seen on the road since we have had Katy.
A moment later we pulled up alongside said vehicle and the initially puzzled look on the face of the driver turned to a beaming smile as he realised what we were driving.
It turned out to be Tony (longmynd127 from the 127 Ambulance Owners Forum) with his Locomotors Ambulance and we had about 1/2 an hour of wonderful chat and a good look around each other's vehicles before the practicalities of the day meant we both had to get on with it
One of the highlights of Tony's 127 has to be his wood burning stove hmmm. ideas are already forming
For those who have not met Tony I can say he's a really nice guy to talk to and knows a lot about Land Rovers (an awful lot more than me.), and he's done a really good paint job.
From then it was a fairly straightforward run home. Katy had run all the way, no issues, but a few more jobs identified as we went. I think Tony said it in the best possible way "The nicest thing about these 127's is the people and sharing of ideas. I've never met one of these that was not still a work in progress"
It was a wonderful highlight to a really nice day - thanks Tony
Leaving Scarborough we decided it may be time to head West over the border to Lancashire again.
We had picked Katy up last February and headed over to see our friends Ceris and Jim who live in Preston and share our first adventures in Katy with them
We picked a route across the A64 and then M62 before heading off through some fascinating landscape and industrial areas talking the words through Hebden Bridge and then to Preston
Last year Ceris had taken some really fun pictures for us on that first night of ownership and it was a good opportunity to share where we had got to in our refurbishment with them over a bottle of wine or 4 (ouch!)
Here she is parked up around the corner where we'd left her that first night she's definitely a lot cleaner and with less flaking paint work she's more acceptable to be in the neighborhood
This time no problems like last time and we were able to come back to Katy in the afternoon (after a nice walk at the Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail (which I'm sad to say has only 2 highlights, the Otter and Sika Deer - below ) and find that she started first time and was ready for off back southwards, and with a good tailwind we were finding she cruised really well down the M6
Frightened Steel Deer - must have seen a Land Rover (steel dog ?)
After our mini disaster with electrics it was good to be on the road, but to be honest we'd lost most of the day with the problems so our idea of getting up to Derbyshire by early afternoon and having adventures was abandoned.
The new plan was to simply drive to the Bakewell area and find a campsite. Nothing much to report except she ran well and we made it in good time
After purchasing some of the authentic Bakewell puddings (not pies or tarts) we headed up to Yorkshire in driving rain and reached there on a single tank of diesel meaning we had done over 350 miles (some of it quite twisty). mind you the £105.00 to fill the tank back up again was a bit painful
We settled on the drive at my sister's house and there she stayed for a few days as a spare bedroom whilst we visited family. The first night was the windiest we have spent in her and there was definitely some movement so we were glad to be in a sheltered spot.
We did some sightseeing including a wonderful day out at Whitby which was simply wonderful to walk around in the sunshine as you can see
Last year we headed off to Yorkshire to visit my family, and we got as far as Hopwell Services before disaster struck since then we've done a lot of work on Katy so this year we loaded up for the trip again and headed off full of confidence.
Tank full of diesel, milk in the fridge and all our clothes and gadgets on board we were full of joy.
One stop I wanted to do was to put some air in the rear tyres as the pressure gauge I used was showing them a little low so we stopped at the local ASDA petrol station, popped another 5 psi into the tyres and jumped into the cab, turned the key and NOTHING... HAPPENED ..
There was a click like I've heard when I had a bad battery, but no electric fuel pump working which was odd as we'd just driven here and she was running fine.
I got the booster pack out and clipped that on, and still nothing. Looked around and I couldn't see anything obvious so after about 15 minutes I gave up and called on GEM recovery who sent Celtic to our rescue
The breakdown guy attached his power pack and the same, checked the battery with a voltmeter and it showed a constant 12v when we tried to start her so the battery was declared fine. He then headed under the bonnet and declared it a starter motor problem despite my protestations that the fuel pump was turned on before the starter engaged, and then decided it was a problem with the immobiliser and tried opening the dashboard and binnacle before being thankfully frightened off by all the wiring. It was decided we needed a specialist and therefore we would have to be recovered.
I decided to go to Steve Walford's place as it would be a safe place to leave her if we had to abandon her because we could move her around with a tractor. Steve was having his lunch, so we got her from the recovery truck and the recovery driver left us.
Then came the magic bit.
Steve said he would take a quick look, tried starting her once, felt the battery terminals and declared he had found the problem to be a loose connection. One twist of the connector and she started.
Not wanting to let us go with such a fix Steve refitted the connector and some auxiliary wires properly and we were off on holiday.
The lessons are to think calmly and logically, stick to the problem, and that there is no substitute for experience