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11/02/21: ‘Beast from the East’ amphibious vehicle drives through Welney Wash

Trials continue of the £100,000 ‘beast from the east’ that could provide support for the emergency services during Cambridgeshire’s worst floods in recent memory.

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Flooded out in his own logistics company before Christmas, farmer and entrepreneur Ross Taylor bought the Sherp ATV (all-terrain vehicle) to support the wider community.

Already he’s offered it for use by CamSAR – the county’s lowland rescue team – and has even provided a base for them at his farm near Ely.

Today he took it for a ‘spin’ through Welney Washes, exploring both the potential of his amphibious purchase but also seeing for himself the depth of water across the A1101.

He hopes his experiences will show motorists it’s not a safe option to attempt to cross in a more conventional vehicle.

CamSAR chair Barry Carter said: “We are pleased to report that the team will be able to use a Sherp ATV in extremely adverse conditions for any search and rescue operations in water, snow, ice and floods as and when required.

“The team is excited to have access to such a fantastic piece of kit that can only help to enhance our capabilities across the county.

“The region is increasingly threatened by flooding and we are most grateful to Ross for this cooperation and greatly appreciate his kind support to our efforts".

He added: “Our teams were out at Christmas helping residents mainly in the Alconbury West, Ramsay and St Neots areas affected by the flooding.”

Mr Carter said the offer from Mr Taylor to provide a base for CamSAR means “we have our first proper home for the first time in six or seven years”.

Mr Taylor said: “There isn’t any other vehicle around like the Sherp. It’s one of a kind and the most capable off-road vehicle in the world.

“A lot of people lost their homes in the flooding at Christmas and needed saving. At least with the Sherp available and ready to be used, we can be prepared.”

Mr Taylor has also ignited a wide-ranging debate on flooding issues, and how various authorities have handled this winter’s crisis.

He recently helped to launch a new Facebook group – east of England Flood Prevention- and already 3,000 people have joined.

Meanwhile startled villagers enjoyed watching the Sherp emerge from its trial run through the flooded Welney Wash road.

“He could make a fortune by launching it as a ferry service,” said one.

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