After years of mini adventures I have finally managed to find time and a reason to take on something resembling a proper expedition. I am not going to a pole, climbing a mountain or crossing an ocean but all the same in distance alone I think this classifies as something close to major expedition.
London to Lisbon in my 20 year old Defender. The journey is mapping out to be nearly 4,000kms as I am planning on taking in all the highest mountain passes Andorra, the French and Spanish Pyrenees and Portugal. I will be crossing 5 countries and driving through some of the most incredible scenery in Europe.
The end goal is to deliver Ventura to her new home in Lisbon. The preparation for this epic has been quite a ride, having been over run with fan mail about how entertaining my stories of the defender’s facelift have been, I decided to hold off a blow by blow account.
Suffice to say now with every single major component of the truck having been revived in one way or another this is quite a different beast to the one I bought a year ago.
A quick video for your viewing pleasure.
The route is the only real thing I had to decide on, how to break up a 4,000km journey into fun bite seized chunks without breaking the vehicle or my will power! I pulled out the giant atlas and began the fun part of planning how to make this journey exciting.
The Pyrenees is the obvious highlight, I’ve never been and who doesn’t like the idea of a road trip through the mountains. I quickly latched onto the idea of making the trip all about hunting mountain passes, so started to map out the highest mountain passes in France (Pyrennes) Andorra (Pyrennes) Spain (Pyrennes) and Portugal, I also discovered Spain has a vast desert area in the North called Bardenas Reales, surely this needed an explore.
Can I really stitch together a journey that takes in the high mountain passes across 5 countries and 4 mountain ranges in just 6 days. Now that feels like a worthy challenge to get expedition status! Will the Defender survive the journey, how much off road can i really do, can I camp all the way to Lisbon?
I clicked away furiously at Amazon to stock up on cheap nasty camping equipment, I loaded my luggage from Doha with sleeping bags and anything I could get my hands on to make on the road more comfortable and I set off for England to finally take Ventura on our first major expedition together.
Watch this space for “The Captains LogThe Captains Log”
See below for my rough planning map.