It's now almost a year since Dave arrived back in the UK from his long drive home from Almaty and Wilson parked up on our driveway in Scotland.
Angela has continued to recover well after her surgery in Uzbekistan and the doctors here are happy with the treatment Angela received and for that we are thankful.
There was no time to rest once Dave arrived back. First thing was to get Wilson imported back into the UK and onto UK Registration. Much to our surprise and delight this was relatively straight forward. The work done with Emre of Overland Anatolia / Dream Defender in Turkey meant Wilson cruised through the MOT with no issues. Not bad for a nearly 20 year old vehicle that has taken the punishment we have thrown at it over the last 3 or more years specifically.
This was followed by a chance to reconnect with family and friends and visiting Dave's Dad for his 80th birthday. Catching up with all our children and grand children has been great. Angela’s son Ryan and his wife Alex who’s wedding we rushed back for last year after Angela had her surgery has resulted in a gorgeous little grand daughter born just this week and a perfect anniversary present for them.
Both of us struggled with the Scottish Winter after we got back. After 8 years living in Cyprus we found it difficult to cope with the cold and rain finding it a real challenge to stay motivated, Dave more so than Angela with the only things capable of raising the gloom was the odd weekend away meeting other overlanders.
We had not realised how much stopping overlanding would affect us. The previous year although back in the UK for a few months we had the knowledge we were there to obtain the required visas, plan our route and build up to our Mongolia Raid trip. But this time we are home with no real idea how long for and this has resulted in a form of depression. Priority is to give Angela a chance to fully recover from her operation.
Knowing this could take a year or more it meant a metamorphosis from Overlander to real life with Dave even getting a job.
Our story of travelling to Mongolia and Angela's subsequent surgery and my solo trip from Almaty created enough interest to be included in the local press and we were interviewed for a podcast with GHT Overland where adventures and stories from experienced overlanders are featured.
Our friend Gerry and his Roof of the World Tour appeared in Land Rover Monthy and a number of our photos were used although we did not get credit due to an error by the magazine editors. Gerry jumped in and reprimanded the editors and for their omission LRM have agreed to feature some more of our photos. Gerry is currently on his Cartels and Condors Trip in South America and you can follow his trip at Celtic Rover
Dave being a member of Overland Bound decided to get more involved so this became his outlet to get an Overland fix. This resulted in Dave being “volunteered” to take on the position of regional director. Stepping into this position the first priority was to get members connecting and start building a community through meets and trips.
I’m happy to say this has gone well here in UK with regular meets ups now throughout the year starting last winter with a Snow Roads trip followed by the Spring Adventure Overland Show where Dave once again gave a seminar this time on our Mongolia trip and specifically the importance of good medical insurance.
At the Overland Show we were introduced to Billy and the guys from Veterans In Action. This is a charity for veterans whereby they are taken on overlanding expeditions in the charities own overland prepared vehicles. Dave being a veteran himself is more than happy to support these guys and the work they do for struggling veterans.
Loch Lomond followed with Overland Bound doing the Forest Roads near the Trossachs.
The Overland Bound community has continued to grow and we have more trips coming up including a winter North Coast 500 trip.
We also managed a Europe trip to the Abenteuer & Allrad Show in Bad Kissingen Germany. This is certainly Europes biggest Overlanding event and a great chance to meet other overlanders and look in awe at some of the vehicles on show.
From Bad Kissingen we headed south to explore towards Lichtenstein and into France. 2 weeks on the road was like a breath of fresh air. The A & A Show gave us a chance to meet up with old and new overlanding friends as well as connect with European members of Overland Bound.
Once back from the Europe trip there followed an Overland Bound meet on Salisbury Plains where Dave managed to fill Wilson’s Alternator with mud whilst Angela’s was visiting her son Daniel and daughter in law Ellie close by. Angela then joined Dave for a trip up to the Lake District before meeting up with more Overland Bound members for a Trail Guardian event at the Galloway Forest cleaning up the Raiders Road. This was well attended and a great success even though the weather did decide to be a little moist to say the least.
Throughout the year we have been making improvements on Wilson. We got rid of the dreaded roof rack mounted on the roll cage that has caused us numerous problems in the past where it needed welding and issues with the clamps gouging the rain gutter. So now a modified Patriot Rack is fitted and we are happy to have taken the weight off the roll cage.
We regularly have thoughts of a bigger Defender especially with the cold wet Scottish weather. So we keep an eye out for a possible replacement for Wilson but somehow it feels like we are betraying him! So in an attempt to improve our bad weather capabilities we have purchased a prototype Tuff Trek Free Standing Awning with sides.
This will give us the ability to use the frontier stove to heat the inside. Additionally Dave has fabricated a means to run the diesel heater into the tent. Both of these upgrades are yet to be field tested so watch this space.
Medically it seems both of us are like a Land Rover. Keep it running and it's fine but stop for any length of time and creaks and groans appear. For Angela this is gall stones and perhaps having to have her gall bladder removed and for Dave it is flaring up an old Navy injury aggravated at Dave’s new job back in February twisting it at the top of a mast on a ship in Aberdeen harbour. So he is looking at knee surgery. Thus for now all our plans are on hold for even longer until we get these issues resolved.
Once we are both fully fit and ready to go we can look at South America and until then we will take the opportunity to enjoy time with family, do small trips whenever we can and hopefully the odd longer trip to the likes of the Pyrenees or the Alps with Overland Bound members.
Both of us are now working so it also gives us a chance to top up the bank account with extra Overlanding tokens.
The journey continues