Jump to content

Just How difficult is a lane


gazelle
 Share

Recommended Posts

I am fairly new to greenlaning, and have been enjoying some of the lanes around where I live in Surrey.

Green Lane and Silkmore Lane have proved easy (bar the usual ruts, blocking logs and fly tipping).

Climbing London Lane was not quite as straight forward as expected (but the Defender coped without problem). Sheepwalk lane was fine. Drove Road was easy (but I see what you guys have been saying about the damage from other irresponsible users).

Descending Beggars lane though was a bit of a blood pressure raiser for someone not expecting the deep cuts in down the middle of the road and accross the path.

All so far have proved possible, more due to the design of the Land Rover than my skill, and I have enjoyed these slow moving challenges.

Now to my question:

Is there any system of grading that has been undertaken for lanes to give some idea of difficulty? Climbers have a system which grades routes; Is there something similar?

I have found some comments on Wayfinder about potential for damage for shiny motors, but nothing that I have found giving hints as to how challenging a lane is to drive. The maps don't really help either.

Any ideas?

Martin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess there are two ways and wayfinder is the first and probably best known recorded method which is used by bikes as well as 4x4.

However, a guy in CRAG has devised a new system called track explorer which is like wayfinder but easier to use. When you go into track explorer you simply click on a lane in the area you want which then gives you details.

Biggest problem with wayfinder is there are two versions which both look the same and its worth bearing in mind that a lot of lanes are now restricted byways due to NERC.

The other way is join your local club and either GLASS or CRAG. GLASS as you probably know is countyrwide whearas CRAG is stronger in Wales, Shropshire and West Midlands.

Both have web sites, take a look.

OR you could become rambler!.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Find someone locally who knows the area, don't go alone, groups of two or three are great.

I see you say Surrey, where? I am Surrey Hants border near Hindhead and we have a local group who go out on a regular basis.

Let me know if you want to go out sometime.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Beggars is one of the worst, but much of that is due to the fact that you can see exactly where youre going, and where you may end up if you get it wrong!! If youre new lanes like this will cause a shrap intake of breath, but dont worry you will soon get used to them :)

The views from the top are great though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know most of those lanes in Surrey and you are right, there are a wide variety of surfaces and terrains.

The trouble with anyone providing a list of the lanes along with a "difficulty" rating is that it is an open invitation to the "wrong type" to go and drive all the more challenging lanes to death, to the detriment of the decent, considerate user - such as us. Getting to know and understand the lanes as well as the issues as part of a club or group is the best way, IMHO.

Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The other point is that a lot of lanes will get overgrown and whilst still fairly easy will either slow you to a crawl whilst you cut back undergrowth or give a few scratches and dents (found this with some in Devon the Mr Lovejoy marked up for a few of us when he had his party last year.

I tended to avoid laning in the P38 due to its size and the fact that I didn't want to damage the paint too much. I'd like to do some non-damaging lanes in the 110 but being new I'd be not best pleased if I ended up scraping through branches etc with it.

I guess I'll mostly stick to using ALF for laning - it just adds more character :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How difficult is a lane is like saying 'What car do you drive"?

I've been on many green lane days, mostly organised through clubs, and no matter how "shiny" it is - if there are any rutts you know everyone will want to be in front of the Freelander!

It'd be virtually impossible to rate lanes without going into so much detail that people just wouldn't want to read it - "a picture paints..."

Lanes are seasonal and machine specicific. Give us back our coutryside.

N.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Points well made Nigel_H and GBMUD. And excellent and useful input from all of you. Thank you.

Local knowledge seems to be the most important source of information.

Wayfinder is good to find lanes, but not as detailed as club members on what is possible or sensible.

I still think though that a simple grading like ski slopes with the top bar (equivalent of black slopes) fairly low, would be helpful to keep newbies out of trouble without encouraging the darker side of our hobby! :) :) :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some clubs tried it in the past but got into all kinds of problems

As stated and i agree with most of the comments, local up to date knowledge is the best, but it needs to be up to date n even within seasons they change, what could be overgrown one week is cut back the next.

hence why its differcult to grade, with newer shiner ones people perfer clear mountian moors, but even here gorse bushes can T-cut a side very well, they grow fast too.

In north wales there is some good blog sites written and keep up to date shared among the commuity and not just a few in national clubs, at least some attempts to name the lanes as some have serveral names.

Luckly in the area most are hard rock, open all year round and don't suffer the mud pluggers as much, very few go though bogs so getting stuck is less of a problem, your more likely to breakdown and been remote you take others along to help

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If there is only one piece of advice you heed from all the very good advice already offered, DO NOT go greenlaning alone. I am 100% positive that most of us have done so in the past and "got away with it" but it is a recipe for disaster. Always take a mobile phone at the very least and let a friend (with a 4x4 and the same map as you) know you are going. At least then you may be recovered. Take a decent safe jack and a spare tyre too, and a change of clothes and some drinks and blankets at the very least. I dare say there are people on this very forum who have had a bitter experience, I personally know of two lads who spent a very long cold night outdoors before a local 4x4 chap came out the next day to recover them. A simple breakdown on a greenlane can become a logistical nightmare, and most recovery companies simply refuse to help.

But just dont do it alone, there are clubs all over the country and it seems many jolly decent chaps on this forum too. Find one near you and nag said victim into showing you the ropes as it were.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very well said serendipity, its what i carry now as a matter of course plus a sleeping bag even in summer it get cold up high at night. Its not just alone but i've come across, or gone to the reasue of a few groups, yea it happens, one gets stuck then the others trying to help him do, and then they all get stuck. If in a convoy then a golden rule is to make sure at least one truck can get home. As for moblies most places in wales have no signal, they do exist but again local knowledge can tell you were to get one, just moving over a brow of a hill and perfect signal. Again Wales is slightly different there are some long lanes and very very remote where the nearest homestead or working phone could be a good 3hour hike over rough ground. So don't forget a good pair of walking boots and water proofs in fact think like a well prepared rambler

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If there is only one piece of advice you heed from all the very good advice already offered, DO NOT go greenlaning alone...A simple breakdown on a greenlane can become a logistical nightmare, and most recovery companies simply refuse to help.

Having had quite a close shave with this one, this is good advice. It could catch you out even on an easy lane - couple of years ago I had the timing gear fail on the rangie. As it happened it went outside Sainsburys in Leamington Spa, and I was recovered without a problem - however, the day before I'd been laning near Brecon... I was accompanied on that trip, but it would still have been a pain recovering the truck from the middle of the Gap Road...and there are far worse places to get stranded!

Guess I haven't learnt, seeing I was laning solo the week before last...and that nearly ended up with a very long walk home, courtesy of my fathers driving (not even on a lane...).

...in fact think like a well prepared rambler

Red socks? :unsure:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The problem with rating a lane is also about driver abililty, which cannot be measured!

I have taken people out on what I consider to be a 'medium' for their first go and they complained it was boring, yet I've gone out with people on their 2nd or 3rd laning trip and they get stuck on a relatively simple section.

Even local knowledge can give you a false impression. "ooh you don't want to drive lane from hell" (incidentally, there's virtually one of those in each county) will really make you apprehensive.

The only real yardstick is look at it and walk it first if you are unsure of anything.

Finally as mentioned, never go laning alone if avoidable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The problem with rating a lane is also about driver abililty, which cannot be measured!

I don't see how driver ability affects the difficulty of a lane, only how sucessful someone is at driving it. There are grading systems in many ability oriented sports, skiing, rock climbing, white water canoeing for example, and the last is one where conditions can vary hugely with the grade changing accordingly.

However I'm not convinced grading lanes is a good idea for other reasons, ie honey pot over use.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I disagree, Do go laning solo if that means you can get out more. 99% of situations that get you stuck on a lane can be overcome with a spade, Hi-Lift some waffle boards and patience. I go laning on my own every week. (sad git, billy no mates! ;);) )

If you are prepared with walking boots, correct clothing etc then even laning in Wales solo is ok. Like walking or climbing if the weather is bad, flash flooding predicted etc then don't do it, but that leaves a lot of other times when it's ok. In most places the nearest house/farm is 10-20mins walk away, in Wales it could 1-2 hours, but it's not the end of the world.

Cheers

Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Had a graphic example today of the comments about the difficult of a green lane being vehicle specific. I took a short-cut up Green Lane West, and was surprised to find White Van Man following me up the lane!

As I bimbled up the lane past the slippery chalk on my BFG Mud Terrains, I watch him get the MB van with a wheel down each rut across the chalk.

As I offered to recover him from his predicament, he told me that his sat-nav had sent him up there!!!!

I got him to the top of the lane, but it clearly made the point about lane difficulty being different for different vehicle capability!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The simple rules are as follows:

If inexperienced never lane alone

Even if experienced always go prepared - you would be amazed how many people don't even carry a shovel

If in doubt don't drive it

If you are not happy to drive it then don't

Always walk it if you can't see the whole lane (common sense here guys)

Always carry mobile communication that works and enough kit to let you walk out {water, powerbars, decent foot wear, dry socks, map, compass, first aid kit etc etc)

Don't be cocksure, sh*t happens you can easliy get into a world of trouble on a simple greenlane.

Nice example: I have a bad habbit of 'laning on my own, been doing it on 'bikes and in 4x4's for 25years. A few years back in a well prepped RRC with all the kit and caboodle I was putting together a road book for TOR over by Buckies Emporium of Bolt On Goodies. Just me and my 6 year old (as she was then). Drove a simple BOAT, nice hard standing for about a mile then it gets a bit tight. I walked it, all was okay but it was a bit of a squeeze then nice and easy again after about half a mile. Slight sideslope to avoid too much 'central reservation' and grounding out. problem was I hadn't allowed for ripping out a sidewall on a tyre, needing to use the winch and a big oak branch to lift the vehicle (no jack access) to change the wheel, then punching a hole in the alloy rim on the spare not twenty yards later. No phone signal. 2 mile walk with small child. Ring mate for spare wheel. Huge P*sst*ke for weeks... These things happen.

Best advice is be prepared and if you hear of a 'difficult lane; go with friends

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry to disagree here but shovels......

I have stoped carreying a shovel, havnt carreyed one for about 10 years.

Why you ask i must be mad.

The answer is when i did carrey a shovel when ever i/we got stuck or had a problem going any further the people who were with me saw the shovel as a cure all.

The first thing they all did was break out the shovel and start digging. All this dose is damage the lanes surface there for helping the anti's cause even more.

Since being shovel less i have found that self recoverys have become quicker as i have a quick think and get my self out of trouble using the kit i carrey (i have to admit i do carrey quiet a lot of stuff).So far i have not come accros a situation that i havnt been able to get out of with out some thought, and that includes some of the worst terrain you can find in the UK.

What i am trying to say is go prepared with people that know the area and asses the situation sorry but i just dont like digging dosnt make sence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I disagree, Do go laning solo if that means you can get out more. 99% of situations that get you stuck on a lane can be overcome with a spade, Hi-Lift some waffle boards and patience. I go laning on my own every week. (sad git, billy no mates! ;);) )

Cheers

Steve

My reply was directed to Gazelle who asked the question, rather than those who may have the kit, the confidence and the experience. It's a free country and if you want to lane alone cos you have no chums, thats fine by me :D

A pet subject of mine is manufacturers advertising of their 4x4's in relation to off-road capabilities. I have personally seen and heard of so many people who have picked up some second hand info, or spotted a By-way (or lesser) on a map and decided to give it a go because their vehicle can go anywhere (after all the ads and the mags tell you it can) only to get caught out on the first bit of wet stuff.

We have to remember that there may well be people reading this who don't have a winch and a load of self recovery kit, have AT tyres and armed with an OS map and a copy of LRO or TOR go off to green lane. Whats likely to be the first thing they struggle with? (apart from a burnt out car or anti traveller chipping mounds) - ruts. Whats the easiest and fastest way out of a rut? Shovel. Whats the lightest and cheapest between a shovel and winch?

Neither common sense nor experience are supplied as factory fit accessories. Any of those people fitted with common sense prior to their ownership of the vehicle, seek guidance before setting out. This is why we should take our responsibilities seriously and offer sensible meaningful (ok, I'm not so good on that) advice.

Whilst it may be your choice not to carry a shovel it doesn't mean one shouldn't be carried. It may be someones choice to lane solo, but it shouldn't be the advice given in answer to a relative novice question (apologies if you are not a novice gazelle).

If you go out green laning prepare to get stuck and always stop and go home at the point when you say " I'll just do that last one before going home" :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been laning for nearly ten years now, mostly self-taught in a cautious way. I've been out on my own and in groups - sometimes on local stuff which I know well and sometimes being stupid in remote locations. The most important thing is common sense, as everyone above says. Going solo there's no peer pressure to dive in, and there's no face lost in walking ahead or turning back if it looks like you won't get through. Be careful to walk far enough though, I once walked a short, sharp descent and found it would be quite possible downwards, slithered down it and then found half a mile on that I couldn't go forward (deep ruts) or back (too steep to get back up). While not stuck, I was still knackered. God bless the high-lift winching technique.

Experience tells you when 'easy' becomes 'hard' - sometimes much earlier than it looks too! If you have confidence in your experience or your common sense, go out alone and play safe.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry to disagree here but shovels......

I have stoped carreying a shovel, havnt carreyed one for about 10 years.

Why you ask i must be mad.

The answer is when i did carrey a shovel when ever i/we got stuck or had a problem going any further the people who were with me saw the shovel as a cure all.

The first thing they all did was break out the shovel and start digging. All this dose is damage the lanes surface there for helping the anti's cause even more.

Since being shovel less i have found that self recoverys have become quicker as i have a quick think and get my self out of trouble using the kit i carrey (i have to admit i do carrey quiet a lot of stuff).So far i have not come accros a situation that i havnt been able to get out of with out some thought, and that includes some of the worst terrain you can find in the UK.

What i am trying to say is go prepared with people that know the area and asses the situation sorry but i just dont like digging dosnt make sence.

Always carry a shovel, cover it in tinfoil, place on gas burner, get bacon on, never leave home without it now! part of the essential kit along with kelly kettle and tea bags, if you get stuck, get the kettle on whilst waiting for help!!

seriously though, no-body has mentioned a cb radio, very cheap and effective means of communication.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience. By using our website you agree to our Cookie Policy