Outrage after British ex-Marine leaves rowing machine on Mont Blanc

Matthew Disney has said he is willing to retrieve the rowing machine from Mont Blanc (Picture: Facebook)

A French mayor has told a British ex-Marine he will be sending a bill to the UK for removing a rowing machine he left while climbing Mont Blanc.

Former soldier Matthew Disney was told someone would have to pay for the machine to be taken away after he was forced to leave it as he attempted to climb the highest mountain in Western Europe last Friday.

He was hoping to take the machine to the peak and then row the same distance as the height of Mont Blanc - 4,810m (15,780ft).

But his plans for his charity climb were ruined by severe weather that made it impossible for him to continue with the rowing device after reaching 4,418m.

Mr Disney, from north-west England, has already said he plans to retrieve the machine from a shelter on the mountain but that did not satisfy mayor of Saint-Gervais Les Bains Jean-Marc Peillex.

Mr Disney (not pictured) left the rowing machine while trying to climb Mont Blanc (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)

The mayor, who presides over the French section of the peak, has said he will send the British embassy a €1,800 (£1,634) bill to remove the rowing machine by helicopter.

He also said he had banned Mr Disney from retrieving the device himslef and added on Facebook he "can't wait for Brexit that you stay on your island [sic]."


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Mr Disney told the BBC: "I spoke to others and I then turned around. Safety is paramount to me.

“Even more so for others and the fact that I was carrying the rowing machine.

“I made a decision that the safety of others' lives was more paramount.”

‘I've been to 13 countries' highest mountains with the rowing machine. I have an appreciation for nature and mountains as a whole.

Mr Disney said he did not intend to make a mockery of the mountain and he felt the mayor had blown the whole situation out of proportion.

The incident happened only two months after two climbers from Switzerland landed a plane near the peak of Mont Blanc and then climbed to the summit.

Both incidents have caused the angry reaction from mayor Peillex, who pleaded with French President Emmanuel Macron to pass legislation that would punish “wackos” and make such acts a crime.

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