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back to article Brit adventurer all set to assault ex-Reg haunt Rockall

A Brit adventurer is poised to occupy the North Atlantic granite outcrop of Rockall - once described as "the most isolated speck of rock, surrounded by water, on the surface of the earth".1 Nick Hancock plans to spend 60 days atop the sacred islet - which lies some 480km off the west coast of Scotland - during his Rockall Solo …

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Happy

Rockall Times

Bring back the Rockall Times.

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Happy

Re: Rockall Times

You beat me to it!

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Re: Rockall Times

Me too. I also wonder if it's time to bring back the Rockall Post Office too.

I've still got some of those stamps around from the 2005 expedition Lester was on.

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Re: Rockall Times

The shenanigans following that escape are still hidden on the web, accessible by a bit of googling. I must admit from the tone of those conversations I'm surprised to see this article. I suppose what happens on Rockall, stays on Rockall. I do wonder what happened to 'exciteable office girl Jemma' though, I rather like the sound of her!

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Joke

At least he'll have an internet connection. Will it meet the UK target speed of 2Mb/s?

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Happy

A net connection will also help in his other time killing diversion.

He'll be red raw at the end of 60 days...

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Why not use a helicopter?

Is it too far, or just cheating?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why not use a helicopter?

I often asked myself the same question regarding climbing Everest ... after all I am sure there are some rich folk who like the idea of having their picture taken at the summit without actually doing any hard work.

Then I saw a programme (in the last couple of years) and for some reason it had a piece about some climbers who had to be airlifted off a much smaller mountain than Everest.

Turns out it's fiendishly difficult, and not the sort of thing you'd do for fun. Would you like to dangle swinging in 10m arcs whilst facing a piece of solid rock ?

No, neither would I.

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Happy

Re: Why not use a helicopter?

Helicopters don't work well at high altitudes. The thin atmosphere is pants for engine power and the rotors provide limited lift. To reach high altitudes you end up massively overpowering the craft just to maintain minimal maneuverability and your maximum load is severely constrained so you don't have much capacity for equipment or personnel.

As far as Rockall, it simply wouldn't be as cool to use a helicopter.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Why not use a helicopter?

I believe the density of the air at that height is the limiting factor - helicopters just can't get enough lift to remain aloft. Flying into Everest Base Camp is pretty much as high as they can go.

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Re: Why not use a helicopter?

I have often considered that those who claim to have climbed Everest actually haven't. They've only climbed part of it. They normally fly into Nepal, then go by truck or whatever to base camp which is 20 something thousand feet up. Then they just walk the last bit.

That's like getting a lift to 99th floor of Taipei 101, nipping up two flights of stairs and then claiming you walked to the top.

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Re: Why not use a helicopter?

Fascinating. So to claim to have climbed (say) Mt. Rainier, must one start from the tide marks in Seattle or Takoma and walk the 50 miles or so to the national park? At least the volcanoes along the Pacific rim are within a few days' walk of salt water--Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, Fuji.

At that rate, damn few people can claim to have climbed anything in particular.

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IT Angle

Re: Why not use a helicopter?

Then they just walk the last bit

You make it sound like a Sunday afternoon stroll.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why not use a helicopter?

@cap'n. You are being silly and why don't you try it.

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Re: Why not use a helicopter?

quote: "They normally fly into Nepal, then go by truck or whatever to base camp which is 20 something thousand feet up. Then they just walk the last bit."

As long as they state the frame of reference in the claim (climbed Everest from the base camp), I have absolutely no problem with it.

It's all relative, whether you claim the start is the base camp, or should be sea level, or some other arbitrary point. A "proper" zero reference would need to be from the centre of the planet; good luck starting a climb from there ;)

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Re: Why not use a helicopter?

@NumptyScrub, who wrote:

>A "proper" zero reference would need to be from the centre of the planet

And then climbing Mount Everest wouldn't be the supreme achievement anyway, because on that measure Chimborazo is the planet's highest peak. I refer the honourable gentleman to my post of 2010-10-30.

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Would it be unsporting....

To get a framework made up that slipped over Rockall like a dental crown over a tooth and then fix a small motor boat to the top of that?

Nice and snug and if you did get washed off...

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Coat

Washed off

fnarr fnarr

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More Info Please

As nominal IT site - can we have a follow up on the contents of his Rockpod and the rest of the kit he is taking?

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Re: More Info Please

My company has equipped him with a Fast Find Personal Locator Beacon (emergency distress beacon) in case the worst happens and he ends up clinging to the rock after a wave has washed away all his supplies and shelter (which having viewed the ITN news report seems extremely likely!

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Re: More Info Please

^-- This

I'm particularly interested in how much power his sat/radio will need and where he's going to get it from.

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Re: More Info Please

Seconded. His blog has some info but is a little lacking in techie detail for my liking ;-)

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Mushroom

Cheating

It looks like that route's been bolted - that's cheating in my book!

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Holmes

James Cameron?

Lester, you took THE James Cameron to the rocky outcrop, or just a happy name coincidence.

I would like to believe you took the director of Aliens out there :)

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: James Cameron?

Just a coincidence - luckily for Cameron the celluloid botherer, because we may well have thrown him overboard in the name of all those film lovers who sat through Titanic.

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Joke

Re: James Cameron?

Given his well known predilection for ocean bothering he'd probably have enjoyed being tossed off into the sea...

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Hooray for science!

This reminds me of a documentary I watched on the Galapagos Islands. It was a similar shaped rock. Darwin didn't bother to visit because landing was so hard.

They held their boat to the bottom of the cliffs on engine power, while fixing some pitons into the rock, and got climbing. Looked like a rather tricky operation. Climbed the virtually sheer cliffs, to the flat top.

The first scientist up there sits down for a breather. There's quite a decent sized cut in his leg, and a bird lands on it, and starts drinking his blood. Does he shout, and shoe it away? No. Without making a noise, he points the camera at the thirsty finch, and films it. Nice discipline.

This is the first blood-drinking finch discovered, missed by Darwin because he obviously didn't like climbing. Perhaps his beard got caught in the ropes...

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Where are the "Where the Sea is British" tee shirts?

Hey Lester...and chance of a rerun of the old tee shirt? I'd buy one. Can Cash 'n Carrion reopen on eBay?

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Happy

Hmmmmm Rogue Waves......

Going back a whiles, I saw a report on how a combination of waves, weather and currents, etc., can result in "not that rare" waves big enough to knock the tops off oil rigs..

Personally, as long as I had a 50mm thick steel cabin, stuck to a flat cement base, and rock bolted with say 16 or 20 bolts, 50mm in diameter and 1 meter long, at 45* to the perpendicular of the radius, into the rock; with a down wind door with a set of fast locking submarine hatch style multi point locks, and a picture of the virgin Mary stuck to the ceiling over my bed, and some fishing lines and all that...

I'd be quite happy staying out there for ages too.....

But otherwise many the sad tale of light house keepers and rock fishermen come mind. Ships disappearing permanently into the gloom of ocean storms etc.. do too.

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=lighthouse+wave+picture+jean+guichard&num=50&safe=off&hl=en&biw=939&bih=424&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=WpmLUZW-Do60iQfrnIGQCg&ved=0CDgQsAQ

http://blog.geoiq.com/2008/09/11/wave-heights-and-risk-for-oil-platform-damage/

http://www.livescience.com/14600-freak-waves-spring-clash-wave-patterns.html

A 100' ROGUE WAVE HIT THE OIL TANKER ESSO LANGUEDOC, ANOTHER SANK THE OIL PLATFORM OCEAN RANGER AND A THIRD HIT THE NORTH SEA DROVNER PLATFORM, MEASURING 90' WITH LASER MEASUREMENT

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCxr_XzyGO8

http://www.yachtforums.com/forums/yacht-transport-ships-dockwise/5007-yachts-vs-rogue-waves-2.html

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Re: Hmmmmm Rogue Waves......

50mm seems a bit OTT

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Re: Hmmmmm Rogue Waves......

"Personally, as long as I had a 50mm thick steel cabin, stuck to a flat cement base, and rock bolted with say 16 or 20 bolts, 50mm in diameter and 1 meter long, at 45* to the perpendicular of the radius, into the rock; with a down wind door with a set of fast locking submarine hatch style multi point locks, and a picture of the virgin Mary stuck to the ceiling over my bed, and some fishing lines and all that..."

I found this in our website's images folder; forgive the plug for our product, his shelter is in the background:

http://www.fastfindplb.com/images/news/rockall_fastfind2.JPG

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Joke

Re: Hmmmmm Rogue Waves......

Looks good!

not so sure about the pallet though!

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Trollface

Re: Hmmmmm Rogue Waves......

Sounds like a good plan, though personally I find that the Virgin Mary doesn't exactly <ahem> do it for me. Each to their own.

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Re: Hmmmmm Rogue Waves......

Curious as to the geology that led a significant pimple of granite to sit just nowhere, I headed to the wiki pages and found this <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rockall_wave_March_1943.jpg>. For the hard of clicking, it's a wave breaking against rockall, being thrown up to at least twice the height of the rock itself. Many, many tons of water in that one.

And if they got a photo of it, such waves may not be so rogue.

I do hope his rockpod is as macho as it sounds.

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Must ask

Since he's doing this for charity will he also live on chickpeas for a quid/day?

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JLH
WTF?

Re: Must ask

Chickpeas? The bloke is living inside a converted plastic water tank. Which will be almost airtight. And you expect hom to live off CHICKPEAS? Its dangerous enough living on storm-lashed Rockall, without the risk of suffocation.

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Mushroom

Re: Must ask

Just strike a match to cover the smell...

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Mushroom

Re: Must ask

...and suddenly Rockall briefly has a lighthouse, or at least a signal beacon

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Re: Must ask

You could also get bulk Flax or Quinoa (Keen-wah, its Andean. I dunno how its availability is in the UK though) pretty cheap and they don't have the noxious gas side-effects that Garbanzo Beans do, add some mushrooms for extra protein as well as flavor and some Seaweed for extra nutrients and there you go.

Im pretty sure that a pound or even a dollar a day would be enough to get you by on diet like that, especially since I'm assuming he won't be doing much most of the day.

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Re: Must ask

Quinoa - you can buy it in Tesco at about 50p per 100g

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Re: Must ask

I add a bit of epazote to nearly all the pulses I cook. Result is no gas.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Must ask

Kombu added for the first few minutes of cooking is supposed to soften the indigestible outer skin of beans, too, and make it slightly quicker to cook. It's the outer skin that generally causes flatulence. Definitely don't add any salt to the cooking water, though.

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Re: Must ask

Sort, and then rinse the beans three times. Salt the soaking water (make it taste like the sea, just like pasta). Soak overnight, or at least 10 hours, then rinse three more times. Bring up to a simmer, with just enough water to cover (can use any unsalted stock or broth, if you wish). Season to taste as they come up to heat. I use my "house" bean spice consisting of 1 part each Ancho, Chipolte and Cumin powder, and 0.5 parts each fresh cracked Tellicherry pepper and Mexican Oregano.

For two pounds of dried beans, I use about 1 large onion, grated (box grater, large holes), six large cloves of garlic, microplaned, a third of a cup of the above mix, and six or seven large fresh-picked Epazote leaves (about an ounce if dried) (4 or five dried or fresh bay/myrtle/laural works, too, but it's not carminative). Sometimes I'll spike 'em with "some" habanero powder. If I'm not feeding grazers (vegans ... this is California, after all), I'll throw in a couple of unsalted smoked wild turkey wings or wild boar hocks. Top up the water with boiling water as needed, to keep the beans barely submerged. Slow simmer at a low heat with the lid well cracked, about 50 minutes, then add salt to taste. Start checking for doneness after another ~20 minutes. Drain immediately, and allow to cool lid-off. Use as you would any other cooked bean. Makes for wonderful black-bean refritos.

Save (freeze) the drained simmering water. Makes for good soup-base. Some people make rice or bread with it, but I always find that the added protein makes for a scorched product. For soup, mix 50/50 with any un-salted stock/broth/water that suits your fancy. Bring to a fast simmer, add veggies of choice, longer cooking bits first. When the veg is nearly done to taste, add pre-cooked protein of choice (meat, beans, tofu, mix&match, leave out the added protein, whatever), then check for seasoning, adjusting as needed.. Ladle the soup over cooked noodles or rice, serve with homemade bread. Can easily make a healthy lunch for under US$0.15/head.

Apparently, the salt in the bean soaking water replaces some of the potassium & magnesium from the seed coat, replacing it with sodium and allowing easier/faster rehydration during simmering. The salt later in cooking is for seasoning. Sounds weird, but try it.

Gut feeling, judging by the smell when pouring off the soaking liquid, the salt also encourages the fermentation of the sugars in the seed coat, thus cutting back on the flatulence issue ... perhaps because it makes it more permeable because of the chemical reaction with the potassium & magnesium? Dunno. As a brewer, winemaker & baker, that amount of salt should be an anathema to fermentation ... I'm sticking with the Epazote ... besides, I like the flavo(u)r ;-)

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Get off our land!

Camp out there all you like, sasanachs. Everyone knows Rockall belongs to Ireland.

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FAIL

Re: Get off our land!

The United Kingdom and Ireland have signed an EEZ boundary agreement which includes Rockall in the United Kingdom area.

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Re: Get off our land!

Who cares? It's worth sweet rock-all.

(Was that The Goon Show? Or somebody else from that era?)

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