THERE'S BEEN roaring and greetin' in the hills and glens of Scotland this backend.

It is nothing to do with the annual speaning of the calves; and it has nothing to with the yearly ritual of stags bellowing challenges to rivals in a search for girlfriends. It's been the wailing of hill farmers distraught at the demise of their favourite vehicle, the Land Rover Defender.

Production of this iconic go-anywhere 4 x 4 ceases shortly (Land Rover are playing hard to get with regard to just when, but early 2016 is likely) and farmers and those with an eye to owning 'one of the last' off the production line at Solihull have been knocking down doors at their local dealerships to get them before the well runs dry. Sales have been up by more than 50%.

It's hard for most people to see why.

The Defender is probably one of the worst vehicles in the world to drive. It should have been notified to the Health and Safety Executive years ago as a likely cause of calf-height varicose veins in many a left leg and constant bruising of the right knee.

Further, it has been the cause of a veritable spate of popped ribs as drivers attempt to pull on and put off the least accessible handbrake of any vehicle in the planet.

It is also not a vehicle for girlies in short skirts to try and gain entry and even fit young men like myself (!) find accessibility difficult without the availability of a step ladder.

It features switchgear similar to that fitted to an Austin Maestro in the 1980s and your driving position is best maintained with an open windae with which to prop your right arm out of, even in the face of a tempest.

It shoogles bits that shouldn't be shoogled; it renders operators with that buzzing feeling in their hands that pneumatic drill operators get; and it has the turning circle of the Queen Mary.

In short, it should be the stuff of nightmares for anyone with 'normal' driving needs.

But ... and it's a huge 'but' ... it never set out to be the fastest, nor the most comfortable and it has stayed true to the original intentions of its designers, the Wilks brothers, Maurice and Spencer, way back at the end of WW2.

That was to be a go-anywhere four-wheel-drive vehicle, similar to the Willys Jeep, which could handle the roughest of terrain and get jobs done.

Well, it certainly has been getting jobs done for more than 60 years and it remains just about the only vehicle capable of being used in the toughest conditions that the Scottish countryside can throw at it.

It has had unwell calves in the back, tups bought at the ram sale, bags of feeding, various bits of machinery and functions as a mobile 'office/veterinary dispensary' for any self-respecting hill farmer. It can also legally tow 3.5 tonnes, which is something that a lot of the young pretenders, like pick-ups, cannot do.

In short, it's a Godsend for many hill farmers. It can get you from A to B, even when C (a bloody great mountain), is in the way!

I remember driving the 'original' - known to buffs as Huey on account of its HUE166 number plate - at the 60th anniversary celebrations a few years ago. And, to be honest, the ride on modern Defenders is not that much removed from the basic Series 1 Land Rovers.

But, experience shows - and Land Rover has plenty of that - that fancy electronics and conventional chassis do not go well with slurry and snotters; and if there is one thing that sets the Defender apart from its competition (if there really is competition?) then it is its diffidence towards the use of 'software' to run just about everything.

That's why it is reckoned that some 60-80% of all Land Rovers ever built are still 'alive' today. If you go anywhere in the more remote areas of Scotland, especially in areas where there are roads, but no need for MOTs and such like, then the mainstay of the transport system will be Land Rovers.

No ifs, no buts, it's the only thing that can handle the terrain - just ask those in the Knoydart peninsula, where there are dozens of them held together by binder twin, fencing wire and even expanding foam!

They are relatively easy to fix. The lack of all that software nonsense means a three-pun' hammer and a big spanner will sort just about anything.

Recently, I had the pleasure of some long trips in one of the last Defenders in the guise of a limited edition 'Heritage' long wheelbase 'station wagon'. It was not so pimped up that it remained recognisably a Defender, and it did have the distinctive old Grasmere Green body colour, with white roof, old-style steel wheels and rather natty 'Almond' cloth seats all round.

Another nice touch is the little HUE166 decal on the passenger side, with reference to the first Land Rover. The hardware includes the trusty 2.2-litre diesel, which is rated at 120bhp and this is a pleasing enough and well-proven motor which has plenty of torque - essential when towing those 3.5 tonnes - and, even sixth gear had enough back-up from it for periods of almost relaxed motorway driving.

Some relatively 'modern' add-ons include heated seats, a heated front windscreen (essential in my book) and even a Bluetooth hook up for your phone into the sound system.

It has a price to match, though, with the Heritage 110 as tested coming in at £34,200 on the road (a 90 version is about £6k cheaper). Solihull is to make 400 of these.

However, eye-watering as that might be to regular Landie buyers, there is also the Autobiography edition, available as a 90 station wagon only, which costs £61,845 - only 80 are available, though, and they're all spoken for - with the main features there being power uprated to 150bhp and striking duo-tone paintwork.

Last, but not least, is the £43,495 (from) Adventure edition, which has fancy decals and butch wheels and tyres, with a leather-trimmed cabin. It also has a distinctive 'expedition' roof rack and distinct metallic colour options. Land Rover is to sell 600 of these.

Let's hope all this fancy stuff is not on the cards for Land Rover's replacement - or there could be more roaring and greetin' in the hills. The designers of which would do well to remember the old adage of the KISS principle - Keep It Simple Stupid!