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11 months ago

Land Rover Magazine Issue 40

  • Text
  • Wade
  • Global
  • Programme
  • Podcast
  • Vista
  • Yoonie
  • Dwayne
  • Dubai
  • Defender
  • Rover
In this issue, new Defender is put through its paces by two inspirational young adventurers as they prepare for an expedition to the South Pole. We also celebrate 50 years of Range Rover by taking a journey of discovery to Dubai. As well as looking back, we look to future as a group of visionaries explain the technologies that could change the future for all of us.

I t’s 7.30am, but here

I t’s 7.30am, but here in the Andorran Pyrenees, darkness still reigns. Light from the full moon reflects off the conifers covering the lower slopes. By the time the sun crests the peaks, the Land Rover Defender is making good progress towards our base camp, some 500 metres above the town of Canillo. Driving the Defender is British adventurer Phoebe Smith, who manoeuvres the car up the mountain slopes, while fellow explorer Dwayne Fields plays DJ in the passenger seat. “Let’s get some tunes on!” he declares, cranking up the volume. Phoebe grins and puts her foot down for the straight ahead, cheerily ribbing him about his taste in music. The pair have come to this tiny European microstate on a training mission for their most significant expedition to date, an 830-mile trek from Berkner Island in Antarctica to the South Pole, set to take place in November 2022. At the time of writing, they’ve just completed a 40-day trek from the northernmost point of Scotland to the bottom of England, and you can tell, as they fizz with energy and tease each other. They met in 2017 while giving out Duke of Edinburgh Awards at Buckingham Palace and bonded over shared experiences, including racial and gender barriers, they had encountered in the world of adventuring. Together they have created the WeTwo Foundation, which aims to change the face of adventure, make the outdoors more accessible, and introduce underprivileged young people to the way of life that has transformed both of theirs. But first, there’s a mountain in Andorra to conquer. The Defender, a 110 X in dazzling Fuji White, crunches through the snow towards the starting trail of one of the country’s highest peaks, Casamanya. From there, Dwayne and Phoebe will continue on foot and camp close to the summit, 2,740m above sea level, where the icy conditions, sub-zero temperatures and wild camping expertise gained will provide valuable preparation for their time in Antarctica. Dwayne first developed an appetite for the outdoors as a boy in Jamaica, but a move to London spelled an end to that. “I found it difficult to make friends when I first moved over,” he recollects. “So one day, I dug up a load of insects in the school garden to show my classmates, to teach them what I knew, to impress them. As you can imagine, that backfired – all the children ran away in horror. I’d never felt so alone in my life. That’s when I realised that the world I was now in was completely different to the one I’d known.” To fit in, Dwayne stuck to the status quo and did what the other kids did. As he got older, he fell into the world of street gangs, survived a knife attack and was shot at, twice, at point blank range. Both times, the gun misfired. He then decided to re-evaluate what he wanted out of life, and realised that his fondest memories were of the years spent in Jamaica climbing trees, foraging for his dinner and Off road sequences on dedicated land with full permissions roasting it on a fire – free in the wilderness. From then on, Dwayne made it his mission to make nature a part of his daily life as much as possible. But personal tragedy also played a part: “A friend was killed in 2007 and I wanted to do something that would make the people around me think more about what they could achieve if they didn’t allow their postcode to dictate their boundaries.” In his twenties, Dwayne painstakingly raised money to fund a trip to the Arctic, becoming the first black Briton to walk the 400 miles to the magnetic North Pole. Today, he is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, and his list of accomplishments has only grown, from circumnavigating Jamaica in a kayak, to an expedition with inner-city kids to the summit of Ben Nevis. Phoebe, a travel journalist who edited Wanderlust magazine and now writes for leading UK national newspapers, rarely saw female adventure role models growing up. Her interest was stoked when she was persuaded by a friend in Australia to sleep overnight in a swagbag (a roll-away bed used by local drovers) in the outback. “I was terrified,” she remembers. “I had never wanted to camp. Before I got in the bed, they listed all of the things that could kill you, and I thought, ‘I’m going to hate this!’” Of course, she didn’t – and she has gone on to become the first person to sleep in all of the most extreme points of mainland Britain, overnighted on the summits of the highest mountains in Wales, England and Scotland, and published ten books, including the bestselling Extreme Sleeps: Adventures of a Wild Camper and Wilderness Weekends: Wild Adventures in Britain’s Rugged Corners. The number of women making careers out of adventuring has certainly risen since Phoebe’s childhood, but a vast gender imbalance still persists. As the Defender navigates the narrow hairpins towards base camp, Dwayne and Phoebe explain their core motivation for the South Pole expedition: to take a group of underprivileged young people from the UK on an expedition ship to Antarctica in 2021. “The kids that we want to reach are from backgrounds where they’ve been told, ‘You can’t do that’, or it’s not even on their radar as something they could do,” says Phoebe. “We want them not only to see Antarctica and fall in love with it, but also to understand the issues that are being faced by the planet, and open their eyes to career options that they may have never come across otherwise. Have an ice day Deep snow and bitter cold pose no barrier for the adventurous 31

 

Land Rover Magazine

 

Land Rover Magazine showcases stories from around the world that celebrate inner strength and the drive to go Above and Beyond.

In this issue, New Defender is put through its paces by two inspirational young adventurers as they prepare for an expedition to the South Pole. We also celebrate 50 years of Range Rover by taking a journey of discovery to Dubai. As well as looking back, we look to future as a group of visionaries explain the technologies that could change the future for all of us.

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