Adventurer forced to postpone record-breaking Rockall attempt

Ex-marine Nick Hancock has been forced to postpone his bid to occupy the remote Atlantic islet of Rockall, where he planned to live alone for 60 days relying on Inmarsat for communications with the outside world.

The adventurer, who aims to raise funds for UK charity Help for Heroes, has decided to shelve the record-breaking attempt until next summer after being foiled by dangerous conditions.

He had been all set to spend 60 days living on Rockall in a self-built survival pod containing all his supplies – including an Explorer 700 BGAN terminal and IsatPhone Pro satellite phone provided by Inmarsat service provider Telespazio Vega UK.

Isolated rock
But his attempt last week to reach the remote rock was foiled by poor sea conditions which made it impossible to land.

Swells of up to eight metres greeted Nick and his support crew when they arrived at the outcrop.

Rockall lies 163 nautical miles west of the Outer Hebrides and measures just 25 metres (82 feet) across, and 18 metres (59 feet) high.

Tough decision
They were forced to retreat to St Kilda where Nick took the tough decision to delay his occupation bid until mid-2014.

Nick, who planned to blog about his experiences for the Guardian, told the newspaper:
At least we could get out to the rock and get a proper look at the conditions and they just weren't there. That was basically out of anyone's control.

“That's the unfortunate thing with expeditions like this: it's like sitting at Everest base camp for a couple of months and not getting a break in the weather."

Deteriorating weather
Nick said his options for another landing were now heavily restricted by the weather and sea conditions – which deteriorate still further each August – and the availability of the leisure cruiser he needs to transport him and his survival pod to the islet.

He eventually hopes to beat two longstanding records – for solo occupation and longest occupation.

Rockall Solo: