Anna’s Trip with her Northants 4×4 Family to the French and Italian Alps 8-16th July 2016 – By Anna Griffiths, JGS4x4
So I went away with the Northants 4×4 crew to the French Alps for an overland trip. It was all planned very well by the genius of Mike, I don’t think he will really realise how much we all appreciated how much time and effort he had put into carefully planning each days routes, as you would say Mike, you are a Legend!! It was definitely an amazing experience, where words could not explain how awesome the scenery and the laning truly was.
I was very lucky in the fact that Nick from Northants 4×4, let me drive his defender 90 on some very precarious roads where I could not even look to my right because of the fear of the drop! Every corner we went around, the views would change and would be more stunning from the last.
It was great to see different years and models of land rover with different technology all do the same thing, from the noisy Defender up to the D4 and Range Rover Sport and more importantly the Toyota Land cruiser showed us how it was done!
I was amazed at how quick my French came back when it came to ordering chocolate, fresh bread and cakes!
The weather was amazing whilst we were all away, with only the odd night of snow and torrential rain with hail the size of golf balls….Sadly I learnt that you don’t pick appearance when it comes to buying a tent, as my beautiful pink tent quickly turned into an aquarium on the coldest, wettest night!
We came across some amazing wildlife from bugs the size of your hand to some real horse power of native horses roaming the roads! It is amazing how quickly a horsey girl can jump out of a land rover defender to cuddle a horse, also another excuse not to eat an apple and share it with them. I did also fall in love with the prairie dogs, but sadly I could not catch one to take home!
We became quite the little family unit over the 8 days away, sadly I was the feral baby bear of the group where my madness could only get worse each day. Every day was different from photobombing each other, to having snow ball fights! It was incredible, although using my only towel as sledge in July was great at the time but then I soon learnt it would not dry due to the rain!
We did have one night I will never forget, where we did some wild camping in the Italian Alps, it had stunning scenery and the most beautiful sunset. The boys then became in their element, collecting wood to make a fire and to top it off, we used old baguettes to keep it going! We got to watch shooting stars as the night went on. When it became sleep time, it then became very eerie and I quickly learnt that wild camping in some places definitely needs a teddy bear for a safety blanket! Sleeping with three hoodies, gilet and my riding coat under a duvet and sleeping bag was still nowhere warm enough but I survived…thanks to Nicks tea making skills with lots of sugar in the morning!
I still cannot put into words the experience, it was a once in a lifetime adventure that I will never forget, spent with the most amazing people. More importantly all the vehicles made It there and back safely and no break downs!
It was such a success, that the brains are already planning an Eastern Pyrenees/Northern Spain trip for the members. Hopefully by then I will have enough confidence with my Discovery 2 and be able to drive myself. But for now I am preparing it for the trip to the Yorkshire Dales.