Tim Jarvis and Lola

Tim Jarvis and Lola

A mountain rescuer is planning a fundraising trip round all of the UK’s national parks, with a 38-year-old called Lola.

Tim Jarvis, the water safety officer with Longtown Mountain Rescue Team in south Wales, is hoping Lola, who is not in the best condition, will make the full 2,000-mile distance without giving out.

Lola is a Series 3 Land Rover rescued from the scrapheap and will, Mr Jarvis hopes, transport him to each of the 15 national parks over a 12-day period in July.

He aims both to raise awareness of mountain rescue and raise cash for both his rescue team and the newly established Mountain Rescue Benevolent Fund which helps volunteers injured during their duties.

Mr Jarvis said: “In 1955, an intrepid team from Oxford and Cambridge Universities completed the famous First Overland expedition, driving two Series 1 Land Rovers from the UK to Singapore by a completely overland route.

“Inspired by their efforts, I will be taking a 1974 Series 3 Land Rover on a 2,000 mile, 12-day circumnavigation of the United Kingdom visiting each of the 15 national parks.”

He has dubbed his venture the First British Overland Expedition.

Mr Jarvis added: “Longtown MRT is part of the South Wales Search and Rescue Association and is responsible for the eastern part of the Brecon Beacons national park covering an overall operational area of 5,000 square miles.

“The team has around 35 members, all of whom are volunteers, on-call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and who receive no remuneration for their service.

“It costs around £30,000 each year to keep the team operational. Despite receiving no funding from Government or police authorities the team is increasingly utilised as a specialist search and rescue resource for incidents far removed from the mountains.”

He said the Longtown team had located and treated an elderly lady suffering dementia who had become disorientated and lost overnight in the countryside; searched for an armed man who had jumped bail; searched for and recovered the body of a young anorexic girl from the River Usk; recovered the decomposed body of a hanging suicide discovered near Llangattock Escarpment; recovered the body of a deceased cave diver as well carrying out the treatment and evacuation of a number of hillwalkers who with minor injuries following slips and falls on muddy paths but who are too far from ‘civilisation’ to walk out unaided.

He plans to meet national park officers and members of other mountain rescue and search and rescue teams during the trip around Britain.

Mr Jarvis admits to being apprehensive about the old Land Rover making the full trip and has spent his spare time preparing the vehicle.

“My best friend Tom came over to help me and together we tackled the ignition timing; taking Lola from a coughing, powerless bulk to a responsive growling hulk,” he said.

“Tom showed me how to check the points breaker gap at the distributor before we then drove around the local area searching for long flat roads to set the timing by ear.

“Simply put, we took Lola to 30mph and then gave a good boot of throttle listening for ‘pinking’ – the metallic noise telling us that combustion in the cylinders is fighting the compression not aiding it – before advancing or retarding the distributor.

“This involved lots of stops and starts, and more besides as we discovered the offside rear wheel is still binding and whipped the wheel off to check it out.”

The Longtown MRT member plans to start his tour with visits to Exmoor and Dartmoor before heading for the New Forest and South Downs before heading north to the Broads, North York Moors, Northumberland, the Cairngorms, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs then heading back across the border to the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, the Peak District and finally back into Wales for Snowdonia and the Pembrokeshire Coast before arriving at his home district of the Brecon Beacons.

More details and a link to Mr Jarvis’s donation site are on his blog.

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