With its reputation for toughness and go-anywhere ability stretching back more than 70 years, the Toyota Land Cruiser is consistently the vehicle of choice for off-the-beaten-track expeditions. At this weekend’s Adventure Travel Film Festival, 12-14 August, overlanders from opposite ends of the spectrum will entertain audiences with tales of two Land Cruiser journeys made more than 20 years apart.
Chris Scott, the leading authority on adventure and Saharan travel, author of the Overlanders’ Handbook and veteran of more than 50 desert expeditions, will talk on Friday about a desert drive into Libya in 1998, made while researching his Sahara Overland guidebook. He’ll share many stories of the trials and tribulations that he experienced along the way.
On Saturday, demonstrating Land Cruiser’s enduring overlanding relevance, twenty-somethings James Fleming and Jack Scott, freshly landed in the UK from Zimbabwe, will report back on their 17,000-mile cross-continental marathon from Orkney to Harare; coincidentally in a Land Cruiser from 1998 – the year that Chris Scott undertook his Saharan adventure.
Reflecting on his journey into Libya, Chris Scott remembers there being a simple choice of vehicle to use:
“Things rarely run entirely smoothly when you’re travelling through the Sahara so you need at least one element of the trek that’s dependable. I’ve had three Toyota Land Cruisers over the years and driven many more, which tells you all you need to know.”
Between Army contracts and with a desire to make the arduous drive back to his Zimbabwe homeland, James Fleming took a lo-fi approach to kitting himself up for his adventure:
“Land Cruisers are pretty much omnipresent in Zimbabwe. A friend who runs an anti-poaching organisation uses one so we knew what we wanted. Having convinced Jack to quit his job and join me on this journey it was pretty much as straightforward as spending £3,000 on the vehicle we found on Facebook Marketplace, putting on a roof box, snorkel and bull bars and we were off!”
The Adventure Travel Film Festival, taking place in the picturesque grounds of Hatherop Castle School, Cirencester, is the brainchild of adventurers, Lois Pryce and Austin Vince, and is a celebration of travel that brings together independent film makers from around the world. Its diverse programme showcases journeys undertaken using all manner of transport, this year including a 1961 Enfield Bullet converted to run as an electric bike, a refurbished lifeboat from a Scottish cruise liner, vintage Urals and many things in between.
For those wishing to discover how successfully the Land Cruiser made the recent journey to Harare, tickets are available via the festival website, along with a complete list of all films and speakers: https://www.adventuretravelfilmfestival.com/cotswolds-festival/buy-tickets/