GR Direct - Sony - Save up to £300 on selected Bravia OLED & LED TVs
Tuesday 28 May 2024
 11°C   SE Light Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Community / Army truck-turned-campervan catches the eye on visit north

Stuart Pirie and Charlotte Cooper with their truck in Shetland. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

THERE will be an unusual sight on Shetland’s roads over the next few months – a former army truck which has been converted into a home-on-wheels.

Orkney couple Stuart Pirie and Charlotte Cooper have already taken their souped-up ex-RAF vehicle to mainland Europe, and they have now arrived in Shetland.

The pair have been living in the ‘Orkney Overlander’ – which they converted into a large campervan themselves – after leaving their jobs last year to take up a somewhat more nomadic lifestyle, first heading to Spain.

Pirie had planned to come to Shetland to take part in Delting Up Helly Aa, and while that has been postponed again they will make the most of their time in the isles by working to build up funds for the next big trip.

The truck on its travels.

The truck in question is a Leyland DAF T244 4×4 GS, which was first put into service for the RAF in January 1991, based in Germany.

“It was later returned to the UK in 1999 and eventually cast from service 2010 having only covered 17,265km in its service,” Pirie said.

“It was bought by a collector at auction in 2011 where it stood in a field until we bought it in 2020, since then it has been registered for the road by me and we designed and built the accommodation from scratch to what it is now.”

One of the most asked questions is the truck’s miles per gallon rate, with the vehicle holding 200 litres of fuel.

“It does average around 13.7 but there are upgrades planned while we are here that should see us achieve anything up to 18,” the 38-year-old marine engineer said.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


The truck makes use of solar power, and the “house batteries” can be charged while driving. On board there is a toilet and a shower – and even a multifuel stove to keep things warm.

Around 400 litres of water can be carried in an interior tank, “which will last a couple of weeks if we’re sensible with it”.

The only complication with food tends to be fitting into supermarket carparks.

The couple have been living in the truck since June last year, but they have called self-converted vans home for a few years now.

The desire to live in the moment and explore the world saw the pair try the different lifestyle.

“There might come a time where we decide to go back to ‘bricks and mortar’ instead of living nomadically, but not any time soon,” Cooper said.

“We have bigger plans to travel further afield to places like Mongolia and Africa first.”

Their adventures can be followed through the Orkney Overlanders website and on social media.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.