Mayor Outraged After Climber Leaves Rowing Machine on Mountain

'Bring on Brexit,' French mayor says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2019 4:37 AM CDT
Mayor Outraged After Rowing Machine Left on Mountain
A competitor runs up the Grand Col Ferret as he competes in the 170km Ultra-Trail of Mont-Blanc, Saturday, Sept 1, 2018.   (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

A British ex-soldier has outraged a French mayor by leaving a rowing machine near the summit of western Europe's highest mountain during an unusual fundraising drive. Matthew Disney, a former Royal Marine, has been climbing mountains carrying the machine on his back, then rowing the height of the summit. But on Aug. 30, he was forced to leave the machine in a shelter near the summit of Mont Blanc due to bad weather, the BBC reports. Furious local mayor Jean-Marc Peillex called Disney a "wacko" and accused him of "polluting the summit," reports the Local. With a name like Disney, "you'd think he thought he was at an amusement park," the mayor said in an open letter, adding that he "can't wait for Brexit."

The mayor said he had banned Disney from returning to the summit to retrieve the machine and would send the British embassy a $2,000 bill for the cost of bringing it down. Disney says the mayor has blown the incident out of proportion. He says he left the machine in a corner of a shelter 1,500 feet from the summit and fully intended to retrieve it. "I wouldn't litter anywhere, let alone a mountain," he tells the Telegraph. "This is my 13th country’s highest mountain with a rowing machine and 21st without a rowing machine, so I have a lot of love and passion for mountains." Disney says he can understand the mayor's concerns about "foolish people" on the mountain, but police cleared his climb after he convinced them of his "experience, skillset, my fitness level, and my intention to raise awareness for two military charities." (More France stories.)

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