Monday, 25 February 2013


One of the many perks of being a ranger with the National Trust is the opportunity to learn new skills and gain vocational qualifications.

In late January I, along with rangers Doug and Al completed a 4 wheel drive course in Holmfirth. Driving across the Pennines to the training centre after a night of heavy snow was a good warm up for what lay ahead.

The two day course covered the basics of off road driving, from the mechanics of different types of transmissions and differentials, to driving techniques in various extreme conditions and self-recovery.

All was going quite swimmingly, until we got to the part of the course where we had to drive through water. After an initial reccy of the icy plungepool, we decided to give it a go. Getting into the water was not a problem, and neither was driving through it…

 …but getting up the deeply rutted track on the other side was not quite as straightforward…


So, it was time for plan B. Another pickup was on hand to tow ours out. Well, that was the theory anyway. But with the all terrain tyres spinning on polished ice, it was time to throw the towel in and opt for plan C. A tractor made quick work of towing the vehicle out. Ah well, all part of the learning curve!

At Lyme Park, occasions often arise where we need to drive off road, such as responding to accidents and incidents, and retrieving deer from remote locations. Our team of patrolling volunteer rangers keep us updated with reports of damaged boundary walls, which we drive to in order to fence off to keep deer from escaping.