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DRIVE 25: Tim Brown and his Land Rover Discovery III

Drive 25, pt. 1: Tim Brown and his Land Rover Discovery III

Name: Tim Brown

Occupation: works for a land-based college; background in forestry and countryside management

Where from: Hawkshead, Lake District

Details of Land Rover: Discovery III, ‘The Chief’

Favourite destinations: The Lake District, his ‘back yard’

Dream trip: Pacific North West

Tim Brown's Land Rover Discovery III
Tim Brown's Land Rover Discovery III

Life in the Lakes

Tim spends most of his time outdoors exploring the Lake District. ‘I’ll try and find an opportunity every day to go out and do something, whether it’s on the bike for sunrise down the lake, or canoeing on Lake Windermere.’

Tim’s Land Rover Discovery, fondly named ‘The Chief’, is central to his family’s adventurous lifestyle of mountain biking and walking. ‘Often, I’ll drop my son off into the forest, my wife and daughter will go the opposite way on a walk, and I’ll be on a bike ride. The Land Rover provides that hub; it lets us all be outdoors but within reach of each other,’ Tim explains.

His previous Land Rover Defender ‘Sarge’ was named after the retired marine sergeant Tim bought it from, and played the same role as his current Discovery. ‘I referred to Sarge as our “mobile family adventure vehicle”, you’d drive somewhere, set everything up and then everybody’s gone!’

When it comes to modifications for his Discovery, Tim prefers the ‘subtle and functional’ look. ‘I’m cautious of pimping it up, but I still like my Land Rover to be non-standard and have its own personality,’ Tim tells us. ‘It’s got a high-lift jack, spotlights, and the airbag failed so I went to coil springs. It’s got a roof rack and a ladder too, so that you can climb on the top. It’s awesome being able to park up and sit on the roof for a brew – it’s like a climbing frame! And it’s practical too, you can just put the bikes on the back, the canoe on the roof and set off.’

In the future, Tim plans to lift his Land Rover up slightly to improve its functionality. ‘I want to lift it up again because it’s standard height at the moment which is slightly impractical for me. Even doing roadside work, I’ve had the towbar wedged in the ground and had to get towed off!’

Having a quick coffee break with The Chief
Having a quick coffee break with The Chief

The Land Rover community

For Tim, his early morning work is where he manages to snap most of his Instagram pictures for his five thousand followers.

His work for a land-based college is term-time only, and outside of this he also works for the local council helping with roadside maintenance.

‘I’ll take a cup of coffee out and inevitably I’ll be parked up somewhere scenic,’ Tim tells us, ‘I guess it’s the old Instagram versus reality, the picture is nice but I probably had my hand down a grid ten minutes earlier!’

The sense of community in the Lakes is an important part of the keeping the area protected, something Tim feels a great deal of responsibility for. ‘Nearly thirty years of my working life are in this landscape; the trees I’ve planted, walls I’ve repaired and fences I’ve put up,’ he explains. ‘When you’re so engaged in the management of an area, you’re duty-bound to take care of it. It’s important for people to respect that, and for people to take care of the area when they come to visit – even if it’s just for half a day.’

Tim is careful with his Land Rover, too: ‘I’m cautious of being seen as damaging the place when driving, so I’ll always go out calmly and just enjoy what’s there.’ There have been occasions when people haven’t been so cautious though. ‘Once,’ Tim recalls, ‘I had to reverse the entire length of a track to let thirteen vehicles through. I told them that they had to be careful; it’s a shame, because if people carry on like that, there’ll be nothing left for anybody.’

Favourite destinations

When we ask Tim about his favourite trip, he’s torn between the Lake District and Scotland. ‘From a logistical point of view, I am guilty of sticking to my bubble,’ he laughs, ‘I’ve got everything I want on my doorstep! Having said that, we have done family trips across France with the four bikes on the back and family tent on the top. This summer, we’ll head to Scotland, this time with our teardrop trailer. We’ve just rigged up solar panels to charge the battery, too, and there’s a gas cooker in the back so we’ll be set.’

The Chief in the woodland
The Chief in the woodland

Dream Land Rover trip

In terms of a dream destination, Tim and his adventurous family are thinking big, having already taken a road trip across the Pacific North West. ‘I’d love to get back out there,’ Tim says, ‘to drive across Northern California, Oregon, Washington State and Vancouver Island. That would be my dream trip, to get out there in the big forests. I suppose one of the restrictive things in the Lakes is that every driving trip is relatively short-lived. But a road trip in Oregon, for example, you could go for days and not see anybody.’

That being said, Tim will always love his home in the Lakes. ‘It’s a wonderful place to live, I never take it for granted. I appreciate daily the lifestyle and freedom it affords us, even in lockdown we can still go for a walk up the hill or take a bike around the forest. We’ve been able to do that – and again, the Land Rover ties into it all, so I never take it for granted. It’s a phenomenal life to have.’

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