Adventurer pulls plug on yellow sub charity bid

Nick Hancock
Nick Hancock
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AN adventurer who abandoned his plan to spend two months in a “yellow submarine” on the UK’s remotest outcrop for charity is already planning to try again next year.

Chartered surveyor Nick Hancock, from Ratho, had been preparing to head to the isolated islet of Rockall – 225 miles west of the Outer Hebrides – later this month to set a world record for living on it and raise money for wounded servicemen.

Rockall Island

Rockall Island

While Nick will still make the trip, he will only make a reconnaissance of the lonely outpost in hope of a record attempt in 2013, having failed to reach his £15,000 fundraising target.

Being in such an isolated location, only four people have ever slept on Rockall, which is constantly pounded by Atlantic waves. Fewer than 100 have landed on it.

Mr Hancock, 37, had created a yellow living pod from an 8ft water tank, and made it cosy with spray-on insulation foam.

He said: “I will still be departing for Rockall at the end of May on a much shorter reconnaissance expedition.

“This will allow me to recce the rock, test kit and equipment, as well as attempt a landing and check out various aspects of Rockall itself. Until now, I have had to rely on other people’s descriptions.

“I hope that this reconnaissance expedition will raise the profile of the main objective, that of setting a new occupation record in the future. This will also hopefully bring the expedition to the attention of future sponsors, who can help with the funding for the next attempt.”

The current record for time spent on Rockall was set in 1985, when ex-SAS soldier Tom McClean lived on the rock for 40 days.

Father-of-one Mr Hancock had hoped to set up camp for 60 days to raise money for Help For Heroes and said he was disappointed his plan had fallen through.

“Unfortunately, the cash required has not been forthcoming, despite some very generous pledges,” he said. “So, like so many other adventurers, I have had to officially postpone the record-breaking attempt for another year.”

The world’s largest recorded oceanic waves of over 95 feet were recorded in Rockall in 2000 – some 19 feet higher than the outcrop itself. Last year, TV adventurer Ben Fogle said he wanted to lead an exhibition to “reclaim” Rockall for Britain.

Belgian radio enthusiasts landed on the North Atlantic islet – Britain’s loneliest outpost – in October. They transmitted for more than 15 hours.

The volcanic rock is 100ft wide and 70ft high and in the past Ireland, Iceland and Denmark have laid claim to Rockall and to the possible oil and gas reserves surrounding it. Ownership is now being examined by the United Nations in the light of competing claims by Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Ireland.

The earliest recorded landing on Rockall was believed to be in 1810, by an officer called Basil Hall from the HMS Endymion.