Rockall to do: Jay-z and harmonica for Hancock

Nick Hancock (yellow dry suit), on the on the way down the face of Rockall, on his reconnaissance mission for his occupation, in order to raise funds for Help for Heroes.

Nick Hancock (yellow dry suit), on the on the way down the face of Rockall, on his reconnaissance mission for his occupation, in order to raise funds for Help for Heroes.

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AN Adventurer bidding to spend 60 days living in a tiny pod on Britain’s most remote outpost is learning to play harmonica to pass the time.

Nick Hancock is living in a converted yellow water tank - his RockPod - where he plans to stay for two months.

Nick Hancock, with the converted water tank he is living in whilst on Rockall. Pic: Phil Wilkinson.

Nick Hancock, with the converted water tank he is living in whilst on Rockall. Pic: Phil Wilkinson.

But writing on Saturday from the rock, Mr Hancock said the weather was forcing him to learn harmonica and read.

“I retreated to the RockPod and the wind continued to build through the day until it was up past 30mph by evening. It’s just not sensible to be out and about in those conditions, even with a harness and life line, especially when the rock is wet and slippery, so I was pod-bound for the rest of the morning and all of the rest of the day.

“This meant more reading: I finished Jay-Z’s ‘Decoded’ and started Steven (Aerosmith) Tyler’s autobiography, before completing some more harmonica lessons. The basic tunes I’m on at the moment sound to me like they’re supposed to, and there’s some basic technique work at this stage too, which seems to be going well.”

Chartered surveyor Mr Hancock, 39, from Ratho near Edinburgh, is raising money for the charity Help for Heroes. He hopes to spend 60 days on the rock after landing on it on June 5.

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

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

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

Married Mr Hancock and his wife Pamela have a two-year-old son Freddie.

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 less than 100 have landed on it and only five have spent a night - including Mr Hancock.

The first long record for time spent on Rockall was 40 days back in 1985 - when ex-SAS soldier Tom McClean lived on the rock from 26 May to 4 July - to affirm Britain’s claim to the islet, which has been disputed by Ireland, Iceland and Denmark.

His occupation record was broken in 1997 by three Greenpeace activists who stayed there for 42 days in protest at north Atlantic oil exploration.

Those countries who lay claim to Rockall have one eye on the possible oil and gas reserves surrounding it.

Ownership is being examined by the United Nations in the light of the competing claims.

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

But he faces his roughest week yet.

“From Tuesday there are forecast winds in excess of 30mph, gusting up to 50mph, with rain, and remaining that way for several days. I’ve already had winds in excess of 30mph, but only for short periods, so this promises to be the worst weather I’ve experience yet,” he wrote.