Rocky start for Hebrides fundraiser

A CHARITY fund-raiser is facing a race against time to raise the cash he needs to spend two months on the UK’s most remote and lonely rocky outcrop.

Chartered surveyor Nick Hancock is preparing to head to the isolated islet of Rockall – 225 miles west of the Outer Hebrides – next month to set a world record for living on the British outpost.

He aims to raise money for wounded servicemen.

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But yesterday Hancock, who is raising funds for the Help For Heroes military charity, admitted: “I need another £12,000 for the attempt to go ahead and I am fast losing hope.

“If I don’t raise the money in the next two weeks I will have to call it off for this year, though I plan to do a four-day reconnaissance mission to check out the ledge on which I plan to live on Rockall at the end of the month.

“I hope that somebody will come forward but all the companies I have approached have basically said, ‘It’s the recession.’

“There’s no spare money about for something like this, even though a sponsor will get great coverage.”

The challenge is huge. Rockall is constantly pounded by Atlantic swell.

The world’s largest recorded oceanic waves of more than 95 feet – some 19 feet higher than Rockall itself – were recorded there in 2000.

Only four people have ever slept on Rockall. Fewer than 100 have landed on it.

But Hancock, 37, has created a living pod from an 8ft water tank, and made it cosy with spray-on insulation foam in a bid to spend 60 days on the rocky outcrop.

The current record for time spent on Rockall is 40 days. It was set in 1985 when a former SAS soldier, Tom McClean, lived there from 26 May to 4 July in order to affirm Britain’s claim to the islet.