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Motor Mouth articles 2011

Stupidity hits a new peak

The Vauxhall Frontera stranded high on Snowdon

IT was quite a shock to learn that a Vauxhall Frontera had been driven up close to the summit of Snowdon – I’ve never found Vauxhalls to be much cop on hills.

A chap from Gloucestershire is due in court today on a charge of driving on common land and has been telling one and all that it was an impulse act from his list of 50 things to do before he dies.

The other 49 things can only be guessed at but getting his head examined ought to be close to the top, along with acting like a 39-year-old instead of an adolescent plonker and having a little more respect for nature.

The abandoned 4×4 has become quite a tourist attraction since it was spotted neatly parked alongside the Snowdon mountain railway track not far from the 3,560-ft summit of the highest peak in England and Wales.

Walkers have been photographing it and TV crews have filmed it, while the national park authorities and the railway operators have been scratching their heads as to how to get the Vauxhall back to the bottom.

“It could be winched off by helicopter, broken up and brought down in pieces, ramped onto a flat-bed truck and brought down on the railway or driven down,” said Alan Kendall, the railway’s general manager.

Magistrates will no doubt hear the details of the car’s ascent but the theory being bandied about last week was that it had probably been driven up the railway track.

There is quite a long history of odd things being hauled up the mountain, but taking motorised vehicles up the slopes has been outlawed since the creation of the national park in 1951.

Sam Roberts, who was warden there for 40 years, says: “It’s difficult to think of anything which hasn’t been up there. There have been pianos, beds, stilts, a unicycle. People have gone on their hands and knees or backwards, but, of course, they were all there legally.”

Meanwhile old BBC film footage has come to light showing a group of men, clad in heavy overcoats and trilby hats, attempting to get a car to the top of Snowdon in 1917 or 1918. The car looks like an early Riley.

The Frontera driver, who described himself rather bizarrely as an unemployed freelancing vehicle recovery technician, seems to have received little sympathy for his Hooray Henry stunt and has instead come in for a lot of stick.

“This sort of incident is unacceptable and shows a lack of responsibility on behalf of the individual involved,” said a spokesman for Snowdonia national park, echoing the views of the mountain rescue team.

“Along with the obvious dangers posed by this type of incident, it could cause damage to the footpath and landscape, which means added work for the Snowdon footpath teams.”

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