I spent the previous weekend on two jobs – a recce for a more full-on visit to Wadi Shawka in Ras Al Khaimah, and more work on trying to sort a decent Land Rover.
There has been some rain recently in the UAE and this has resulted in flash floods. Fujeirah is the most mountainous of the Emirates and receives the most rainfall, and nearby enclaves of Ras Al Khaimah are subject to the same effects. Wadi Shawka, that I explored for the first time a few weeks ago, got quite a bit of rain on the high ground and as a result the wadi flooded quite a bit. The wadi floor was eroded badly and in some cases washed away, and large rocks were moved around by the force of the floods. It was therefore a different driving experience, and the little Ford Escape had issues with the terrain. The lack of ground clearance held her back because many of the rocks were obstructing the route up the wadi, and the lack of difflock caused some lack of grip and wheelspin in some of the water crossings. Nevertheless she did well, and the big V6 helped with momentum and power when grip started to fail.
It served to highlight, however, (if such was needed) that a more capable vehicle is needed. I’ve been talking to a friend in Dubai who is selling two Mk 1 Discoveries and we have made progress in discussing price and availability. One is a fully-kitted Camel Trophy Edition Discovery (not an event car but a commemorative edition) that has been further modified to make it even more suitable for desert travel.
There is however some doubt as to whether it can legally be registered in Fujeirah due to its ‘non standard’ appearance (despite the dealer providing a letter saying this is how it came from the factory). We shall see. Test drive next weekend!