Recreating the heyday of Victorian exploration

Just in case lack of daylight hours, extreme weather, worldwide recession, war in the Middle East, the march of government intrusion and Windows Vista’s impasse with your printer are making life hard to bear this grim Monday morning, here’s a bit of steampunk magic:

By flying car from London to Timbuktu

A voyage to fabled Timbuktu in a flying car may sound like a magical childhood fantasy.

But this week a British adventurer will set off from London on an incredible journey through Europe and Africa in a souped-up sand buggy, travelling by road – and air.

With the help of a parachute and a giant fan-motor, Neil Laughton plans to soar over the Pyrenees near Andorra, before taking to the skies again to hop across the 14-km (nine-mile) Straits of Gibraltar.

The ex-SAS officer then aims to fly over the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, above stretches of the Sahara desert and, well, wherever else the road runs out.

But forget Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – this flying machine is based on proven technology. Full story here…