Taking the scenic route

Before we get carried away , this car can off-road; more than you think, more on that later. So I wanted a Scenic RX4. And when my Alfa 156 was a bit incontinent with coolant leaking from the car, i decided to buy one and to fix that later. A 4 hour drive to Northumberland to pick the car up after an impulsive Ebay bidding session (the buying experience is another story) and it's mine. On the way back I decide to go back to my homeland of Yorkshire, pick up two friends and see what it could do in the open access playground that is the Yorkshire dales. This is the the story of Rex and our first day together.

We had a couple of hours having some fun, being surprised by the capability of the Renault without pushing it too lose to it's limits. after all that unscathed enjoyment, I decided it was time to head home. With this however, I got bullied into trying 'just one more track', and with just quarter of a tank left, I gave in... So down the track we go. about a mile in, the track starts to fade then pretty much becomes nothing. It was at this point I decided I'm going to turn round and head back. I reverse onto what looks like a gravelly area so that I an turn round. But this is where the story starts...

I had reversed back just off the main track to then try to go forward... But what actually happened, is that the car sank and span all 4 it's summer tyres until he was sank and then rested on the bottom o the engine and sub frame. Now we were worried. There was no signal on any of our phones and I was in just a t-shirt, and it was ruddy freezing. In fact, one out the car, we could see that actually, I had driven into a gravel covered bog of some sort. So to summarise, we were on a dale, no signal, no warmth, no way out, not a house in sight and I thought I was going to have to abandon a car I had owned 4 hours in the middle of dale I probably couldn't find my way back to ever again. I reckoned the RAC would not cover this, and even if they did, I couldn't call and I had no breakdown cover.

This is the mess we worked ourselves into...

We made the decision to walk back to the road and to the nearest building we could find. Over an hour walk later which involved my friend falling over and KOing his ankle (which was not good for weeks after...) we came across one little farm. Despite Yorkshire being massive, my friend who was with me, actually knew the family quite well. Some good news I thought. But oh no, that would be too easy to end the tale there. The farmer and son agreed to come out in their brand new defender and gave us a lift up the car, and what they found was a Renault Scenic, pretty much a foot deep into the Earth. So we hopped off and he drove round the back of the Scenic to pull it out. But just trying to get round the car, even the mighty Defender got stuck... I could barely believe this was happening, we had just doubled our problem and we had now been in this situation for 3 hours. I was on the verge of pulling my hair out, which had since greyed through the ordeal.

Holy moley what do we do now. The young lad ran back to the farm while we all huddled in our cars, like Eskimos in an igloo, blowing into our hands. The young lad comes back in the pitch darkness of a February evening at 8pm in a mack off tractor. We were really trying to not get that thing stuck now, and we could barely see. Defender gets pulled clear and the tractor gets into position for the Scenic. I got out the towing hook but due to the thread being corroded it just would not go in and desperation was setting in. So the farmer wraps a rope round the rear driveshaft of my poor little Renault which had probably never set foot off the rod and pulled it out.

The relief was overwhelming. A long story short, I then drove to my Mum's, explained why I had been out of contact for 6 hours, said goodbye and then drove the 2.5 hours back to university with a drivetrain full of mud and steering full of vibration. I got back into my uni house at 1am that night.

You'd probably think I learnt from this experience. But I was adamant the car was capable. So I've since done a large portion of Viking Way in Lincolnshire, Fremington Edge and Beggermans Pass in Yorkshire. And I retained my friends and I never got stuck again, so all's well that ends well. I ended up selling Rex against my wishes, as the Alfa had been repaired and the Scenic was worth more, so I let that go instead. It seems now through an online check, he is no longer with us at all.

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