Out There column

Mark makes a splash.
Mark makes a splash.

In a quiet corner of North Wales, celebrities, royals, racing drivers and the great British public have been going wild in 4X4 vehicles for the past 28 years.

Motor Safari is a company which enables anyone to get a taste of what it’s like to tackle some of the world’s toughest driving challenges.

Most recently Motor Safari has been training celebs including David Baddiel, Ben Fogle, Hugh Dennis, Angus Deayton and Lisa Tarbuck in preparation for the BBC2 TV show World’s Most Dangerous Roads.

For anyone who hasn’t seen the TV series, it features two celebrities every week tackling killer roads in countries including Ethiopia, Madagascar, Bolivia and Georgia. The owners of Motor Safari told me David Baddiel was particularly charming.

The centre has also been featured on Top Gear and contestants from Cilla Black’s Blind Date show used to go there as part of their ‘date’.

Off roading is one of my husband Mark’s great passions so I bought him a Motor Safari voucher for his birthday. We took his Land Rover Discovery along with us but you don’t need to have a 4X4 – Motor Safari has its own vehicles.

Mark was taught by a friendly instructor who explained how to tackle every obstacle. They lurched along bumpy tracks, scaled steep slopes, plunged into the quarry lake and crept down precarious hills.

It was exciting to watch but I didn’t fancy being a passenger as when the vehicle was crawling along a side slope, Mark’s face was inches from the ground.

I could see why the makers of World’s Most Dangerous Roads had chosen Motor Safari to guide them – they knew how to get the very best out of a 4X4.

It was also an idyllic location; the lake was picture perfect and a rare red kite circled overhead. #

The large site had a wide variety of terrain and the hospitality area incorporated an impressive rustic barn with the biggest wood burning stove I’ve ever seen.

After his one-to-one tuition, Mark said he felt much more confident at driving off road and we’re planning to make a return trip for one of Motor Safari’s ‘Pay and Play’ days.

And after that? Who knows? Ethiopia, Madagascar, Bolivia...