It's been an extraordinary experience; difficult, hot, cold, lonely, funny, emotional and mentally and physically exhausting in a way I couldn't have imagined. But crucially also hugely rewarding, not just for myself, but also in the raising of the money for Walking With The Wounded, which I hope will only increase (£18k to date). And, thankfully, only truly scary once or twice...
Is Solar Impulse an extravagant toy, built on a whim? Nobody expects photovoltaic to move transport aircraft. Positive spill-over may concern some technical innovation, so it's no coincidence that Google, Swisscom and other big technological industries are among its sponsors. But a viable business model is not the point.
Although the prestigious peak is widely revered as an area of outstanding beauty, it is not actually protected with a conservation strategy consistent accross all three parent countries. In France, Mont Blanc was designated a 'site classé' in 1951, preventing development, camping and also supervises amenities.
It may be a rebalance of the economic powers, but the planet is far from being the place of equality. Oxfam claims that "in 2010, it took 388 billionaires to equal the wealth of the bottom half of the world's population and by 2014, the figure had fallen to just 80 billionaires." If the trend continues, warns the humanitarian group, in two years the richest 1% will have more than the remaining 99%.
There's nothing like a short European break to get you in the mood for Christmas. As the nights draw in and the December days pass by, pop over to Lausanne, Switzerland on a special winter trip--you'll have ample opportunity to get your festive shopping done, and return refreshed and ready for the big day!