In January this year I was invited to take part in 6 Challenges by Dan Brown of The Kendal Courier, the newly relaunched local magazine for Kendal and the south Lake District, Cumbria.  For each edition I agreed to do an activity that would push me out of my comfort zone, add a dash of spice to life and showcase some of the wide variety of exciting and, yes, occasionally scary, things there are to do in this stunningly lovely part of the world.  Here’s the article that appeared after my first challenge …

Teetering at the top of a steep, slippery slope in The Tank is guaranteed to get the adrenalin rushing.  I was at Holmescales Adventure Centre being taught how to drive The Tank.  Well, an FV432 Armoured Personnel Carrier if you want to be pedantic – but it was a tank to me!  This was definitely one of the quirkiest driving adventures I’d ever had.

The Tank

On arrival I was given a briefing on the vehicle (1960s,British, V12 engine, max speed 22mph, weighing about 12 tons if you must know) and what we would be doing,  Whilst eating the most divine chocolate brownie (locally made, delicious food) I signed the usual disclaimer and then we were off in the Land Rover to the Tank Circuit.

 Zoë Dawes driving Land Rover

The setting for the course is breath-taking.  Holmescales is surrounded by beautiful Cumbrian scenery with the Lake District fells to one side and Morecambe Bay glittering away in the distance.  Wayne hauled me aboard and showed me inside.  It was VERY muddy and basic. The gun had been removed (shame!) so up to 8 people can stand up and look out.  It’s really easy to operate – just two metal ‘sticks’ to pull up or down to turn left and right.  After Wayne had given a demo it was my turn.  It’s on a rough circuit with some ups and downs and was so much fun.

 Zoë Dawes tank driving

“Now pull the stick to the right as we go down the hill,”said Wayne as I felt we were about to topple over and we trundled heavily and safely into the last section of the course.  It took a bit of effort to keep The Tank on track and it was incredibly noisy, but the excitement of being in control of this brute of a machine is priceless.  I can highly recommend tank driving – just make sure you hold tight!