IT MAY only be a tiny piece of rock – but for one adventurer it poses a very big challenge.
Nick Hancock is preparing to head to the isolated island of Rockall as part of an adventure he hopes will lead to a world-record breaking stint on the rock face.
The 36-year-old, a former pupil of St Annes’ Heyhouses Primary School and King Edward and Queen Mary School, will spend 48 hours on the rock next year alongside four ham radio operators.
Only four people have ever spent more than 24 hours on the rock, and Nick said: “I was planning my own solo expedition this year but because the economy’s not great funding has not worked out.
“That’s in the background and in the meantime there’s been quite a bit of interest around Rockall and this group have asked me to join them because they’ve got no climbing experience, so they want me to help them land. It’s an ideal chance for me to reconnoissance the rock, get on and see the size of the areas where I will be planning to stay.”
As part of the trip next May the Islands on the Air (IOTA) amateur radio activators will be aiming to broadcast to as many other ham radio operators as possible during their stint on the island, while Nick sizes up the challenge facing him on his solo trip.
The current record for time spent on Rockall is 40 days back in 1985, and he hopes to spend 60 days on the rock – 225 miles west of the Outer Hebrides – to raise money for Help For Heroes.
Nick, a chartered surveyor, said: “I was looking for a challenge and I came across Rockall and it captured my imagination. The more research I did I realised there were records that could be broken and I’m aiming to do that. The biggest thing about going next year is it will give me something concrete to show potential sponsors – I know what I’m getting into it and it is possible to land.
“I don’t think anyone else has tried to break the record – for everyone else the challenge has been simply to get there.”
For more information about Nick’s trek – or to sponsor him – log on to www.rockallsolo.com