Since my last post, I’ve been doing various unfinished projects on Marmalade, hence not posting any more. But some of them are well on the way; in particular, I got the new tent cover pretty much working (although since then I’ve damaged it on an overgrown green lane, and have yet to fix that, of course making some improvements while I’m at it).
Before covering the camping and the laning, here’s a “general status” picture of Marmalade, roughly as he is at the time of writing:
The new tent cover is made from a short-wheelbase Land Rover roof, shortened and widened and fitted to a welded steel frame. I gave up on making fibreglass or plastic wheelarch extensions, and got some treadplate folded to shape, and some brackets TIG-welded to the underside of it. I have some matching metal waiting for complete shaping to make curved front and rear sections to the rear wheelarches, too. These arches are strong enough to stand on, for access to the sides of the roofrack for tying things down.
In April, I went green laning with some friends, camping at the Stonehenge Campsite (which isn’t very near Stonehenge itself). Here is the tent cover in the open position; I’m going to alter the strut supports a bit, and may sometime add side and end curtains to it, to make it an extension to the tent. The tent itself is unchanged; I’m trying to look after it better than I have done before (I bought it with legacy money from my late parents, so it’s partly a Memorial Tent!), and so re-waterproofed it last summer, as well as making the new cover.
The tent cover swings up on four roughly parallel legs, with the front pair shorter than the rear (so that rain will run off away from the tent), and I pull up a pair of more robust struts to for it to rest on at the front. (I’ve started to make levers to pull those up for me.) The struts are stabilized by some channel welded to the roofrack, that they drop into as they move into position; I’ll change the rear leg supports to have stablizers too.
Inside the tent, I’ve taken out the old flourescent tube, and added an LED ribbon, which distorts the tent less in its closed position.
We drove on tracks in the military training area; where we stopped here was nice and dry, but we’d been through some very major watersplashes to get there.
Some of the lanes were muddy, although not enough to cause any real difficulty.
South of the training area, some of the lanes were badly overgrown in places. This one was like driving through the middle of a hedge for about half a mile. I took this picture when we had to stop and cut a fallen tree out of the way. Unfortunately, some previous lane users had pushed through the real hedge and made a detour into the neighbouring field, rather than moving the tree out of the way. We had a chainsaw with us (unplanned; someone had left his in his Land Rover after some gardening), and cut the tree into small enough pieces to drag aside, and used the pieces to plug the gap in the hedge.
Some lanes were rather wet; a bit before this puddle, there was a section so deep I was up to my ankles in muddy water, with my feet on the pedals! That one was a bit alarming; I’m glad I wasn’t the first in the convoy, and I saw the vehicle ahead get through alright, as you can see this dashcam video. I probably wouldn’t have attempted this one if I’d known how wet it was going to be; I doubt we did any actual damage, though; it seemed to be a normal lane surface underneath the water, and any mud we churned up will have settled again fairly quickly.