Storm wrecks Scots adventurer’s Rockall record bid

Nick Hancock pictured testing out the pod he slept in for his record attempt at staying on Rockall for 60 days. Picture: TSPL
Nick Hancock pictured testing out the pod he slept in for his record attempt at staying on Rockall for 60 days. Picture: TSPL
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AN ADVENTURER living on Britain’s loneliest outpost may be marooned by the weather for several more days before he can abandon his record-breaking bid to live on Rockall.

Nick Hancock, 39, has been in touch with his support team to confirm that he has survived the severe storm in the early hours of Wednesday but he has lost vital supplies which will cut short his attempt to stay for 60 days.

“Got battered by weather last night. Lost 4 barrels kit inc food. Need to come off early. Looking at options with @kildacruises,” tweeted Mr Hancock on Twitter.

But Stornoway Coastguard said today that the sea swell was likely to make it difficult for Mr Hancock to get off until at least the weekend.

There may be nothing he can do but sit it out in his RockPod - a converted water tank.

The Edinburgh-based chartered surveyor will make a final decision later on what his options are after he has spoken to the cruise boat operator who took him to Rockall.

Captain Angus Smith, who skippered the boat taking Mr Hancock to Rockall, has been researching the various weather systems which could affect the adventurer’s stay.

He said: “I am not a professional forecaster but he should now be over the worst. For the immediate future, the winds should lessen and move to the west so they will not be straight on to Nick’s side of the rock.”

Mr Hancock is on day 29 of his attempt to get into the record books and raise funds for the armed forces charity Help For Heroes.

The current record for a solo occupation of Rockall is 40 days set by ex-SAS soldier Tom McClean in 1985. Three members of Greenpeace also stayed on for 42 days in 1997 in protest at North Atlantic oil exploration.

Mr Hancock’s attempt to break the record for living alone on the tiny, remote Atlantic rock ended before it began at the end of May last year when heavy seas stopped him leaving his boat.

Mr Hancock was forced then to make the 15-hour return trip to Leverburgh on Harris.

Rockall, an eroded volcano, lies 260 miles west of the Outer Hebrides.It is just 100ft wide and 70ft high.

Mr Hancock has taken all food and water with him and plans to live in a 23 stone shelter bolted to the rock in his bid to break the current 42-day record.

He is married to Pamela and they have a two-year-old son Freddie.

Mr Hancock in 2012 stayed for a short while on Rockall as part of a reconnaissance mission for last year’s mission.

Rockall is constantly pounded by 3,000 miles of Atlantic swell. The world’s largest recorded oceanic waves of over 95 feet were recorded there in 2000 - some 19 feet higher than Rockall itself.

Being in such an isolated location, only five people have now ever slept on Rockall. Less than 100 have landed on it.

But Mr Hancock created a yellow living pod from an 8ft water tank, and made it cosy with spray-on insulation foam in a bid to spend 60 days on Rockall.

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

Mr Hancock aims to set both the longest solo occupation of Rockall and the longest occupation in its history.


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