Land Rovering at Butterstone Loch

Travelling on a train and a mass of ginger fur peeps round the seat in front. For a horrible moment I think it is the littlest MacNaughties.

You see the Terrier has a habit of following me. I regularly get to the end of the drive to find him charging after the car on his stumpy legs.

One time he followed me out onto the road, barking like mad. I think he was saying mama, come back, come back!

Happily, though, this ball of hair on the Scotrail service is not the naughty Norfolk. On closer inspection it is, in fact, a lady with a large furry collar. A strange thing to wear in summer. However, each to their own.

But a far more exciting journey this week has been an off-road driving course by Butterstone Loch.

Now I am not a speed fiend. Indeed, I tend to panic at anything over fifty miles an hour. But this course between Blairgowrie and Dunkeld is not for the David Coulthards among us. This is measured driving across difficult terrain.

You see, the chief has a new car. Yes, after years of owning near-old bangers, we are going up in the world. The MacGregor has got himself a Discovery and we must both learn to drive it properly.

When we arrive at the land Rover Experience our instructor points us to a very upmarket model. It costs twice what ours does – and this is what we will be going out in.

Stuart takes us through the gadgets. Voice recognition, a fridge controlled through a mobile. Cameras everywhere. Water detection. I think the vehicle can even swim.

The speedometer and dials are reflected on the windscreen. Just like a pilot’s cockpit. You feel like you are driving in a jet. There is International communication onboard.

This car can be lowered or highered depending on ground clearance. There is even a valet control – if you do indeed, need to control your valet.

Now you may already have all these bells and whistles on your car. In which case, I must sound very impressionable.

‘This car can park itself’, Stuart tells us. He once worked in a bank in England. But he gave it up to to come to Scotland, where he shoots and fishes – and takes townies on heart-stopping adventures.

This another view of the countryside. The chief takes the vehicle across rough wooded terrain. Carefully steering down a very steep drop, keeping an eye on S bends.

It is rainy and it is a mud bath. Down through the gulley we go, at one stage driving on two wheels at a thirty-degree angle. I am gasping in the back, but Stuart assures us the car can stand forty-five degrees before it finally tips.

All exciting stuff. And probably more boys’ toys stuff. I was going to have a go, but bottle out at the last minute. I am not a brave driver – but glad to have gone along for the ride.

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