Scotland

Adventurer Nick Hancock sets sail for 60 day Rockall attempt

An adventurer has set out on his attempt to break the record for living alone on a remote rock in the Atlantic.

Nick Hancock, a chartered surveyor from Ratho, near Edinburgh, is to spend 60 days on the isolated outpost Rockall.

Rockall, an eroded volcano, lies 260 miles and an 11-hour boat ride west of the Outer Hebrides.

Mr Hancock has taken all food and water with him, and will live in a 150kg shelter bolted to the rock in his bid to break the current 42-day record.

He set off from the port of Leverburgh on South Harris in the Outer Hebrides.

Waiting game

The father-of-one has taken nearly half a tonne of equipment for his two-month expedition.

That includes the custom-made pod, nicknamed Rockpod, which he built himself.

He will haul the pod on to Rockall using a diesel-powered winch.

Before leaving, he told BBC Scotland: "It's a converted water bowser which has been fitted with hatches and fixing points so I can fix it to the rock.

"I have a daily routine of exercises and safety checks, and I'm also going to be carrying out some sample collections for St Andrew's University and the Hunterian Museum.

"I'm looking forward to it. It's just a waiting game now. I'm out on the Isle of Harris, waiting for the weather."

Marathon runner and climber Mr Hancock said that bad weather could see him stuck in the pod for three or four days at a time.

Record breakers

The earliest recorded landing on Rockall, which is approximately 30m (100ft) wide and 21m (70ft) high, was believed to be in 1810, by an officer called Basil Hall from the HMS Endymion.

In the past Ireland, Iceland and Denmark have lain claim to the rock and to the possible oil and gas reserves surrounding it.

The UK annexed Rockall in 1955, but its ownership is disputed.

The record for longest occupation was set in 1997 by three environment campaigners from Greenpeace.

They lived on Rockall for 42 days and renamed it Waveland in protest at exploration of new oil and gas reserves in the surrounding seabed.

As well as attempting to break the occupation record, Mr Hancock aims to raise money for the charity Help for Heroes, which supports injured military personnel.

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