Nick Hancock to make new bid to live on Rockall

A SCOTTISH adventurer is making another bid at setting a world record by living solo for 60 days on Britain’s loneliest outpost.

Nick Hancock on a previous expedition to Rockall
Nick Hancock on a previous expedition to Rockall

Nick Hancock, a former Officer Training Corps cadet, had to abandon his previous attempt last May to land on Rockall, a tiny remote Atlantic rock, after heavy seas prevented him from leaving his boat.

Mr Hancock, 38, a chartered surveyor from Ratho, Edinburgh, said he was determined to try again and would be starting out in the next three weeks, depending on the weather.

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He tweeted: “Going back to #Rockall soon! Feeling strong, confident & ready.”

Nick Hancock looks at a model of Rockall as he plans his attempt. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Mr Hancock aims to spend two months on the rock, an eroded volcanic plug 260 miles west of the Outer Hebrides, perhaps best known for its mention in the BBC shipping forecast, and break two endurance records for the longest solo occupation of the rock and its longest occupation in history.

The current record is 42 days set by three Greenpeace campaigners in 1997 and the 40-day solo record set in 1985 by the SAS veteran Tom McClean.

Speaking about his bid and ambition to raise £10,000 for the Help for Heroes charity, Mr Hancock said: “In a way I had wanted to keep this latest attempt quiet for a combination of reasons. It’s very weather dependent, plus I found some of the attention at the quayside last year quite stressful and distracting.

“But it’s all happening again, and to get 60 days on the rock I’ll need to leave home by the end of May, beginning of June.”

Mr Hancock has been practising load winching to ensure he gets his survival pod – created from an 8ft yellow water tank and powered by a small wind turbine and solar panels for charging his satellite communications – up on to Rockall.

“I’ve been doing winching practice at the Ratho Outdoor Centre and concentrating on strength training.

“The only real physical side is the initial climb and hauling the pod and equipment up.”

The occupiable area of Rock­all, named in 1955 as Hall’s Ledge after the first recorded person to land there, is just 11ft by 4ft, and is 13ft below the summit.

The “rockpod” footprint will leave accessible only the flattish platform on the summit for Mr Hancock to scramble up to for exercise.

Survival items include army rations which will be rehydrated with stored fresh water.

While on Rockall Mr Hancock will keep in touch with his wife Pamela and two-year-old son Freddie through Skype and will be in contact with his support team on the mainland.

Bryn Parry, chief executive officer and co-founder of Help for Heroes said: “We wish him the best of luck.”