Self-declared ‘war tourist’ aims to sail £15 dinghy along Channel refugee route
A provocative “war tourist” has claimed he will sail the English channel in a dinghy, following the route plied by desperate refugees coming to the UK.
“I’m about to do a very silly and impulsive trip but I need some help. Where do the immigrants in France usually put their inflatable boats in the water to paddle to England?” wrote Miles Routledge, who tweets as @Real_Lord_Miles.
He posted an image of an Amazon.co.uk listing for a £14.99 inflatable dinghy with the statement.
Taking the trend for dark tourism - in which travellers purposefully visit locations tied to war, conflict or suffering - to the extreme, Mr Routledge considers himself a “war tourist”. He has travelled to Afghanistan and taken selfies with the Taliban.
In February, Mr Routledge travelled to Ukraine and claimed it was safer to be in than Birmingham and London.
In the same Twitter thread, Mr Routledge jokes that the £15 dinghy has “more leg room than Ryanair” and adds: “For reference, I’m definitely not helping the illegals, if I find them, I’m calling the UK coastguard to stop them lmao.”
Nicknamed the “death route”, the shortest route between the French coast and the UK is around 33km, usually translating to around seven hours in a small boat for those desperate enough to attempt it.
In January, it was revealed that more than 28,000 migrants crossed the Channel by small boat in 2021 - more than three times the total for 2020 - with more than 1,000 arriving on a single day.
Mr Routledge has amassed more than 113,000 Twitter followers with his provocative missions, with many cheering on stunts that appear in poor taste to others.
In his Twitter bio, he boasts of having travelled to “south Sudan, Kazakhstan riots, Ukraine” and having had “tea with Taliban”.
“Most boats don’t make it, it’s really sad and horrendous, trust me don’t do this,” replied Twitter user Will Crabtree.
If a follow-up tweet, Mr Routledge added that he’d have to cross to the Isle of Wight rather than the English coast for logistical reasons.
“I’ve been told even though I’m doing everything legally with the yellow Q flag, radio and C1331 form, they may cause issues for me returning from France so I’ll do 10 miles to the isle of Wight and back,” he said.
As part of the dark tourism trend, some travellers are opting to visit scenes of conflict or political tension, such as North Korea’s demilitarised zone or Chernobyl, which opened the doors to its reactor four control room in 2019.
The Independent has approached Miles Routledge for comment.