What’s the Adventure?
In 1965, while working in London, I received a phone call from a friend, saying he and two others were planning a trip to Afghanistan and would I be interested in going. How could I refuse? James and Neil were at university, so the trip was to take place in their summer holiday.
We bought a secondhand Series IIA and James and Neil went to Land Rover for a short course on how to look after it. We took basic camping gear, a Primus stove and some food. We had two jerry cans on the front wings, two canvas water bags and a rather insubstantial roof rack. Seating was cramped; one of us had to sit in the back – on top of the luggage. Still, we were on our way, at least. So, to Turkey...
Our Favourite Bit?
From Tabriz the road ran very close to the Russian border, which was marked by a high wire fence with frequent watch towers. We met an Iranian family who invited us to go with them to the Caspian Sea resort of Bandar Pahlavi. There, we stayed with them in a bamboo hut on the beach.
Making it out alive
Fifty years on, and the world is a very different place. Many of the countries through which we travelled have been torn apart by war or insurgency. Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq are in turmoil; the Swat Valley in Pakistan has been the scene of fierce fighting; the Shah is gone and Iran is under a strict religious regime; Lebanon and the countries of the former Yugoslavia have had their share of strife. However, there is one constant. We still travel the Australian outback in a Land Rover, a somewhat more sophisticated Defender 110. But it’s easy to see it is directly descended from the trusty Series IIA that took me 12,000 miles over some of the roughest roads from London to Karachi and back.
The full story can be found in the Spring 2015 issue of LRO. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.