Ready to go

Here we are, not long before we set off on our travels.

We’d done a total rebuild and she was pretty fit at this point.

New chassis, new 1 ton springs, second hand bulkhead, second hand back body, ex-mil doors, a load of others I can’t even remember. We’d even sorted the brakes.

But first up, a few trial trips around the UK.

More later…..


MOT in Gib

This is an easy one.

£20 for the test. Valid for two years. Only catch? This is for Gib residents and people with Gib businesses, ie registered in Gibraltar, only.

So no, you can’t bring your GB reg coche for an updated MOT when you have been living in Spain or anywhere else and out of the UK for longer than your MOT lasts. Nor can you buy some cheap Brit vehicle that has been kicking around on the Iberian peninsula for years and suddenly think you will get an MOT in Gib. Let me repeat, this is a non-starter.

So back to the beginning. If you have a Gib registered vehicle that you are legally entitled to drive – this is how to get your MOT roadworthy certificate renewed.

Go to the MOT station in Eastern Beach at the far end of Devil’s Tower Road.

Take your log book, last MOT cert, and ID to be on the safe side.

Pay your money in advance and you will then get an appointment.

Note, you can not do this over the telephone. You have to turn up in person to make an appointment, with the papers.

If you already have a certificate you will probably get a helpful reminder that your MOT is due to run out, we did.

On the due date of the test, you turn up and you are allocated to Lane 1 or Lane 2 depending on your vehicle.

Sadly we failed, but not on anything mechanical.

We had a broken window that had been shattered one Friday night, some time ago, by someone.

After a while we sourced the glass and put it in. All ready to go again in a few weeks, and it went straight through the test. Good to go for another two years.

Total time to replace glass – three and a half hours.

1) take out the complete frame with the existing good piece of glass

2) split frame

3) insert new glass

4) replace grub screws that hold frame together

5) Haynes would say – complete in reverse order – in other words, lift the frame with complete glass and insert into panel. Note two pairs of hands are helpful at this point.

6) Pop rivet the frame into the panel. On the Santana, some of this also needed two pairs of hands because it was very fiddly.

7) Refit rubber seal.

And – off to the MOT station for new certificate.

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Tarifa – one more time


The Santana hasn’t been to Tarifa before, although the Series III went there some years ago.

So after visiting Parque Centennial outside Algeciras we headed off to Tarifa.

Parque Centennial looking across the Bahia de Algeciras towards Gibraltar.

Parked up opposite the beach at Tarifa.

Costa de la Luz. Atlantic Ocean and beautiful beaches. Love it.


Gibraltar to Tarifa via Parque Centennial and a trip round the nearby housing estate when we couldn’t go back the same way we came in – 117 kms. Also includes driving past Rio Jara camp site in a fruitless search for somewhere to get some tapas on the side of the road…….


Around £10 – in Gibraltar.

The trip – the start of the adventure

Wednesday dawned. As do most Wednesdays. But this Wednesday was the start of our adventure.

I’d gone round the house marking stuff for the removals people about what was to stay. They had an extensive typed schedule of what to move and we had sent them the keys.The theory had been that they actually came and packed stuff before we left but life doesn’t work like that and they claimed double booking. So we told them to come and move us after we had gone. The stuff was going into storage anyway.

We couldn’t change our ferry booking date because everything was finely tuned round the certificates from the vet for exporting the dogs. For anyone thinking of doing this in future – the key combination is ferry booking, vet’s appointment, and getting the certificates from Defra which are posted to the vet for them to complete. When you are in the midst of selling a house – and moving before completion of sale – it is not an easy one to juggle. Believe me.

Our planned early start ended up being lunchtime. In fact we were so late that I ended up shooting out to the organic shop for a couple of sanis just before we left, to keep us going on the road.

The trailer was loaded up to the eyeballs with all the essentials that you need for a European trip. Tents, stoves, ex-mil 6ft trestle table, generator, chain saw, spare exhaust, spare manifolds, brake shoes, seals, angle iron (to feature later..) three spare wheels plus tyres, axle stands…….

We shut the door and got in. This was it. The big moment, and no I didn’t take a photo. The Hillbillies cruised slowly down the avenue, waving regally at the odd few neighbours who were about. It was a great feeling to be on the road.

The good thing about setting off late was that there was no way we could contemplate a detour to see my parents and have a tearful goodbye scene.

We had allowed two full days to get down to Portsmouth to give us time for the unexpected. Which had now become a day and a half. The ferry left at some unearthly hour, 7 or 8 am or whatever, so we were booked into a guest house for the night before.

Leaving the city behind, we cruised down the A1 at a leisurely 50mph. The old girl didn’t seem too bothered about pulling a trailer full of not-so-scrap iron and went well.

Until we got to the services outside Sheffield. The exhaust tail pipe was not looking too good. In fact it was rotto. Adrian twisted it off and chucked it in the bin. I stood there aghast wondering what on earth was happening. We resumed the journey without tailpipe.

As it was November it got dark pretty early. We started looking for somewhere to stop when we got to Loughborough. It seemed there was a conference on and everywhere was full – either that or they didn’t like the look of the Series III and the hillbilly trailer.

But eventually someone directed us to what was presumably the old station hotel. It wasn’t cheap – £50 a night for tarted up tawdry tat, but it was a bed, and we could take the dogs, and breakfast was included. Oh and there was a car park too.

We decided against the unbusy hotel restaurant, had a couple of drinks in the busy bar and then wandered out to find an excellent Chinese restaurant. Another walk for the dogs and an early night was called for.

The next morning, after picking our way through the largely inedible breakfast, Adrian set about finding a garage to weld the spare tail pipe onto the exhaust. (Always handy to carry spare tail pipe we find). As luck would have it, there was a decent garage not five minutes away who agreed to do it immediately – ish. Adrian marked the exhaust where he wanted it cutting, held it in position while the tail-pipe was welded on, and then bolted it on to the silencer.

Even if we had brought the welder with us in the trailer with all the other essentials, we couldn’t have fixed it ourselves. We had no power source and the generator doesn’t have enough power to support the welder.

I sat in the hotel room writing a couple of letters in my unexpected leisure time. The Landy was ready mid-late morning, and we set off again. Just as well we had allowed extra time.

We reached Portsmouth before dark. There was no-one in at the guest house. We parked up and Adrian looked at the electric fan. It didn’t seem to be cutting in. We rang the RAC. They wouldn’t be long.

It got dark. The guest house people returned and I booked in. The RAC still hadn’t arrived. We rang them again. And again. And again. Seemed there was a computer breakdown. We risked leaving the vehicle and walked up the street for a quick take-away pizza.

The RAC guy arrived around 10pm. It was freezing cold at this point sitting in a Series III in November. I had wimped out and gone to the bedroom (which wasn’t much warmer) but not much point in two of us shivering in the Landy.

As with all electrickery it was simple. A cable had come apart due to metal fatigue. Adrian came to bed looking brain-dead and frozen cold.

We were leaving too early in the morning to be served breakfast so there was a sort of offering awaiting us. Some naff cereal, instant coffee and some bread to toast. We toasted a couple of slices of bread and cleared off.

We reached the ferryport and joined the queue – things suddenly looked better. Ports are exciting, and the Landy had got us there in time, in spite of a couple of minor blips.

Time to embark. We drove on, clunkety clunk. Locked up the Landy and went upstairs to explore the ship.

And then we set off. We moved slowly through Portsmouth harbour in the half light, leaving everything behind, and heading out to sea.

Pic courtesy of Britanny Ferries.


Home to Loughborough – 288 km

Loughborough to Portsmouth – 276 km

Total UK mileage: 564 km ie 352.5 miles

Landy problems

Broken tail pipe
Time taken – a couple of hours, but that was mostly waiting for the welder to be free. Cost, can’t remember, but somewhere between £20 and £40.

Electric fan breakdown
Time taken – five hours waiting for the RAC. Five or ten minutes to do the job. Cost nil – apart from RAC membership cost of course.

Camping in Spain (4) – Costa de la Luz

Isla Sancti Petri

We were getting sucked into staying at Tarifa. It’s one of those places where time just passes. And suddenly you realise that a week or more has passed by and you have a slightly surreal existence.

Make friends, they move on, new people come, make new friends. Fortunately some noisy young people arrived and determined to party on into the middle of the night so that was a suitable incentive to clear off and find a more tranquil camp site.

We packed up – it was dry, the weather had improved, and we hit the road. We basically took the main road (N340) up through Cadiz province.

For no particular reason – it was probably lunchtime (ie Spanish lunchtime so halfway through the afternoon) – we decided to stop at Conil de la Frontera. There were little triangles on my maps so there were obviously camp sites and we cruised into town. Being practical we found a supermarket and bought a few supplies and then stopped off at a fine cheap bar for a tapas or two.

Back in the Landy we followed the signs to the campsite. It took us out of the town and along the coast and into some pine trees. Virtually all the campsites along the coast line are set in some sort of pine forest, to a greater or lesser degree.

We booked into Camping Roche and went to find a pitch. The site was pretty empty. Apparently it had only just re-opened for the season. We decided to take up two pitches – hey, why not? One for the vehicle, and one for the tent and the trailer.

We hadn’t been pitched long before Mike and Mary wandered over to speak to us. They came from Yorkshire. Usually they wintered in India but this year they had borrowed somebody’s brother’s campervanflash motorhome or whatever they are called, and were touring Portugal and Spain.

We gave them a few beers. Later they gave us a few beers back and some wine. They gave us some cast-off books which I devoured in no time.

Behind us we had Gunther and Ute. They were Swiss and possessed a rather new 4×4 of some indeterminate brand (all the same to me) and a matching new caravan.

We started with Schnapps over the fence but soon ended up with wine, beer, Schnapps and olives in their caravan. We felt duty bound to finish off the dregs of our malt whisky from the Hebrides with them. (Can’t remember which, but it was probably Jura or one of the Islay ones).

We developed a nice little social circuit. When we weren’t socialising with the Tykes or the Swiss we were chatting with the Brasilian worker who did most of the maintenance and everything else on the site. Or the other couples in tents (there were only three tents including us).

I have no idea what this site is like now, but a few years ago – it OOZED hot water. For washing up, for washing machines, in showers – all at no extra charge. This was truly Paradise on the Costa de la Luz.

A fine social circuit and hot water too? Unbeatable. We walked the dogs along the cliff tops in the morning and the evening, and sometimes we wandered down to the wonderful beaches. And the sun came out and the weather warmed up. Very nice. We watched the Spaniards improvise with bits of plastic and twigs to make amazing sunshades, so we did the same with a groundsheet and a nearby tree.

A groundsheet for a sunshade

Conil was a nice resort. Not hugely touristy, more of a holiday destination for Spaniards than foreigners. We found our way round the shops and got sucked into staying there for over a week. The Tarifa Syndrome had struck again.

We even had time to sort the leaking hub oil seal and fit new brake shoes to the rear wheels.

Then we explored down the coast as far as the Cape of Trafalgar, admiring the absolutely stunning beaches on the way. Barbate was pretty naff looking, and on the way back, Vejer was ok but nothing special, but the unspoilt scenery was lovely.

We went inland. Gunther and Ute were visiting friends in Medina Sedonia which has loads of history and heritage so we went for a look. Seemed like another boring place but the roads around were quiet and the driving was so peaceful.

And we went up the coast as far as Sancti Petri in the Bay of Cadiz. More beautiful beaches and a guy’s coche stuck in the sand.

Could we pull him out? No. Didn’t think so without pulling off his plastic bumper. There was absolutely nowhere to attach a tow rope to. NB. At this point I should remind everyone that towing in Spain is illegal but we were not going to tow on the road, merely get him out of the sand. Anyway we weren’t even going to do that.

So the two guys and the solid strong Spanish woman pushed the coche out. What did I do? Took photos I suppose. They didn’t really need me.

Parked up to help the Spanish car out of the sand

But like Tarifa, Conil’s sell-by date suddenly arrived. Easter. Or more precisely Semana Santa. Holy week. Mega holiday in Spain and half of Andalucía’s noisy youth suddenly descended on Conil. We moved to a quieter spot. We even had to confine ourselves to one pitch.

Our social circuit changed. We were near some charming Germans with yet another flash motorhome. It rained and they asked if we wanted to dry out inside their flashmachine. We politely, stoically, and Britishly declined. So then they came out and assertively insisted we joined them for drinks and snacks which they had already got ready for us. They were teachers. They had a flat in Hamburg, a boat in Turkey, and the flashmachine that they travelled with through Europe. Their English was impeccable. The drinks and the snacks were good too.

But a couple of nights of rain, noise, and a cramped pitch was too much so we left. We said our goodbyes and hoped to see people again. As you do, although never expecting to.

And so we set off on Easter Saturday towards Seville, on our way to Portugal, via Cota Doñana.

Mileage for trip

Tarifa to Conil (approx) – 37 miles
Conil to Cape of Trafalgar (approx) – 28 miles
Conil to Medina Sedonia (approx) – 47 miles
Conil to Sancti Petri (approx) – 37 miles

Landy problems
Replaced hub oil seal and new brake shoes on rear wheels

Landy help
Would have towed guy stuck in sand – but pushed him out anyway


Anonymous said…
dear lord you move about the continent so fast I can hardly keep up with you.We used to camp years ago, met many friends we have never seen again, but it was fun while it lasted.He who is not to be obeyed in any shape or form is going through a Motor Home Phase which I am resisting severely.I have too many memories of caravanning years ago with three kids under 11 – and why did it always rain in summer, in Northern France!I enjoyed your pics and your post.J xfrae the Northern Climes……och aye the noo and all that!

1 APRIL 2008 21:19
Natasha Fernz said…
Hey Katehave you heard? Land Rover has been taken over by Tata!We’re shell shocked by the news… We used to be so proud of our little Freelander… Here it’s a big deal to have a Landy cause it’s an English vehicle and therefore supposedly of the best quality… but now we’re not sure what will happen to the whole manufacturing process etc…Natasha

3 APRIL 2008 12:16
Natasha Fernz said…
Hey Kate,Thanks for the update…I guess alot of ppl here are slightly concerned esp since the only Tata vehicles available in this country are quite err “terrible”… i.e. cheap busses and trucks… that’s all we get. And yeah we knew that the Landy’s weren’t quite english anymore… ours has a BMW engine and electronics… Anyway fingers crossed all will go well… I reckon the Indian technology may give the Landy a boost in terms of electronics… some of our Landy’s electronic functions are quite rubbish… CheersNatasha

3 APRIL 2008 16:27


The alternator seemed to be a bit iffy.

It didn’t seem to be holding its charge.

Bloody alternators cost a fortune in Spain. We know because when we arrived the one on the Series III started playing up.

At the time we got it checked out at a local robo, I mean autoelectrical garage, but they gave us the sad news that we needed a new one and charged us hundreds of euros for it.

As we needed it there and then, we were in a bit of a catch 22 situation, so we couldn’t really order one from the UK and then fit it ourselves. So the garage got the pleasure of doing an easy little job too.

We thought we would have a quick checky out to see if it was the same one on the Series III as is on the Santana.

Just to prove I can actually lift the bonnet….

Trying to see the number

Reading off the number

The Santana alternator

Yes, looks the same to us

Looking very similar here. Both the same French company. If we could see the numbers on the Santana – they have worn off – we could have confirmed it. Anyway we reckoned it was.

So out with the relatively new one (from the Series), and it was added to the ever-growing chest of spares to travel permanently in the back of the Santana.

Tightened up the fan belt in the Santana and it immediately seemed to charge better. Maybe it’s just a short somewhere. I really must buy that Haynes guide to electrics for idiots though.


Kaiser Chef said…
I am duly impressed at your mechanical knowledge.Relieved you can actually lift the bonnet….. ;0)Have gone for a short comment today? But no doubt will not win a prize.

21 MARCH 2008 14:42
El Casareño Inglés said…
Glad you found the Santana alternativor? cheaper.I had the same story with a Suzuki Samurai. I had various local quotes of between 500 and 700 euro for a new one. My local Suzuki dealership (Gallardo, Algeciras) put me onto Santana and got me one for 300 euro including IVA.

15 MAY 2008 16:08

Air filter


Adrian wasn’t looking forward to cleaning out the air filter.

He’d been promising to do it since before Christmas but it seems it was one of those dirty jobs he doesn’t like doing.

Lesson One Adrian. Have Land Rover – get dirty.

Anyway, he finally promised that he really really would do it yesterday. And he did. He didn’t even get very dirty.

Step 1
Unbolt from housing. The bolts were tight but not too difficult to undo. Take out, and give the hinges a quick spray.

Step 2
The bolt on the top of the element cover had been overtightened and needed a shifting spanner to undo it. Take element out, wipe Spanish campo dust off the element and the housing with cloth.

Step 3
Put back together.

Pretty simple really.

Part details
Mann filter no C14179/1 – the same as for a Land Rover Series III 109 3.5 V8.

Taking it out

That didn’t take long

A quick spray of the hinges

Clean element and clean housing

Element, housing and hose

Putting the element back

Screwing the butterfly bolt back

Fitting the top

Screwing the butterfly bolt on the top

All back together in the housing

Putting it back in the bay

Hose connected back up

Last step – tightening up the butterfly bolts


Anonymous said…
I liked lesson 1, I need to use those lessons here………..I have one just like that Adrian.;0)j and M

14 MARCH 2008 21:26