Neil piloted the world's first road-legal, bio-fuelled flying car, the Parajet Skycar, on the 5,800 km journey by land and air. The car was driven where there were roads available and flown where they were not, notably over the sea at the Straits of Gibraltar and in the Sahara. He flew over the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, above stretches of the Sahara Desert in Mauritania and Mali, and wherever else the road ran out.
Neil had to cope with wind chill temperatures as low as -30C and blistering heat up to 50C, as well as reported threats from Islamic militants in Mauritania. There were also the more friendly nomadic camel caravans of the Sahara. Neil’s destination was the west African country of Mali and the iconic city of Timbuktu, a place which has had a mystical, "middle of nowhere" reputation since the heyday of Victorian exploration.
Neil Laughton is a multi award-winning entrepreneur, multiple world record breaking adventurer and a former Royal Marine Commando, helicopter pilot and SAS Officer.
Neil is passionate about adventure and he has organised and led some 80 expeditions on all of the seven continents, by land, sea and air. He has completed the Explorers Grand Slam, climbing the highest mountain on each continent, the Seven Summits, and skiing to both Poles. Neil climbed Mt Everest with Bear Grylls and was the first person to circumnavigate the UK & Ireland on a jet ski. Neil has also led expeditions all over the world, in some of the most hostile and dangerous environments. He has climbed 12 previously unscaled mountains.
He has also founded a dozen businesses, one of which grew to £40m business and was sold to a FTSE 100 company. Currently, he is CEO of Laughton & Co, a training & development business, Chairman of the Scientific Exploration Society and Captain of the England Penny Farthing Polo team.
The opinions expressed in this talk are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of the Royal Geographical Society - Hong Kong.