back to article Decapitating Rockall: How a 1970s Navy expedition blasted the top off the Atlantic islet

The Ministry of Defence sent an expedition to Rockall in 1971 to blast the top off the Atlantic islet, a newly released report has revealed. The expedition, code-named Operation Top Hat, was dispatched “to lay a flat surface on top of Rockall so that an all round visual light could be erected in the future,” according to a …

  1. wolfetone Silver badge

    "some 460 km (290 miles) west of Great Britain..."

    It's 90 miles closer to Donegal than it is to Britain.

    1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)
      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        And it's a disputed territory between Ireland and the UK.

        1. BillG Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Very interesting read. Thanks, Gareth.

        2. Stevie Silver badge

          Bah!

          I say! Pipe down Wolftone and stop corking our juices!

    2. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge
      Joke

      "It's 90 miles closer to Donegal than it is to Britain."

      It didn't work for Argentina and the Falklands, it's not gonna work for you.

    3. gbru2606

      I think the Scottish can have it. Ireland has a very nice chunk of clean Atlantic continental shelf in her EEZ. Certainly relative to her size and population density.

    4. AbelSoul
      Facepalm

      Re: It's 90 miles closer to Donegal than it is to Britain

      Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

      Scotland (the nearest permanently inhabited place is North Uist) is still part of Britain.

    5. Martin Summers Silver badge

      "It's 90 miles closer to Donegal than it is to Britain"

      Never before have I felt compelled to say:

      Cool story Bro...

  2. Rodrigo Valenzuela
    Pint

    Made me remember Mr. Lester Haines in 2003 (or about that time).

    R

    1. jake Silver badge
      Pint

      Indeed.

      Rockall will always mean Lester to me.

      Speaking of which ... Whatever became of the "podule" collective noun?

  3. joeW

    A Register Rockall article?

    Interesting read, but tinged with a little sadness. Still miss the great Lester Haines.

    1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: A Register Rockall article?

      He was great to read, a sad loss for all.

  4. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Rockall. What is it good for? Fuck all (it seems) !!!

    1. EddieD

      Extending the UK territorial claims to (possibly exclusive) fishing and mineral rights further into the Atlantic Ocean than previous limits?

      1. gbru2606

        Here's a map of the agreed EEZ's. The UK doesn't have an awful lot considering her population density.Should Scotland claim the Northern part of the UK's EEZ, England and Wales would have very little to play with.

        https://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=cf9a73170fcd41ceb320e1292f5f9035

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

          "Here's a map of the agreed EEZ's. The UK doesn't have an awful lot considering her population density.Should Scotland claim the Northern part of the UK's EEZ, England and Wales would have very little to play with."

          That might be, but consider that Great Britain still has a number of countries under its commonwealth. So take those in to consideration, compare them to what Scotland, Wales and Ireland have got, Britain isn't doing too badly.

          1. Rich 11 Silver badge

            England and Britain are not interchangeable entities.

            Commonwealth countries are entirely independent of the UK, even those which have the Queen as Head of State. You may have been thinking of the fourteen British Overseas Territories.

          2. Lars Silver badge
            Happy

            "Great Britain still has a number of countries under its commonwealth". Easy with the "under", unfair people could take you seriously.

        2. Mage Silver badge
          Coffee/keyboard

          EEZ

          Interesting how much UK loses if Scotland leaves, EVEN if NI stays. If both leave it's a disaster.

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: EEZ

            'Interesting how much UK loses if Scotland leaves'

            It does depend to some extent on how the lines are drawn. Under the applicable UN Conventions where the land border isn't perpendicular to the coastline it continues out to sea in the original direction. This gives England a larger share of the North Sea than you might think.

            Admittedly the SNP don't seem keen on that particular UN Convention...

          2. Schultz

            Interesting how much UK loses if Scotland leaves ...

            That would really depend on your viewpoint and lifestyle. If you are a city dweller using public transport to commute, you won't loose much. If you are a mermaid / merman drilling for homeland gas to power your sports-amphibian vehicles, then you might have a lot to loose.

        3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          >Should Scotland claim the Northern part of the UK's EEZ,

          Wouldn't those go to an independent Orkneys - along with all the north sea oil

      2. CommanderGalaxian
        Boffin

        "Extending the UK territorial claims to (possibly exclusive) fishing and mineral rights further into the Atlantic Ocean than previous limits?"

        It would need to be permanently sustainably habitable - which it is not. Therefore the Territorial Sea gets extended around Rockall for 12 nautical miles - but not the EEZ.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "It would need to be permanently sustainably habitable - which it is not. "

          Why not? If someone lived on it for 45 days they could presumably have stayed forever... Water and other provisions can be delivered. And I assume there is no shortage of fish..

    2. druck
      Unhappy

      "Threre's fuckall on Rockall" was the strap line of the much missed The Rockall Times satirical website.

      1. Martin Summers Silver badge

        " "Threre's fuckall on Rockall" was the strap line of the much missed The Rockall Times satirical website."

        Indeed, remember it well. Poor old Alien is copping for down votes presumably from people who are a bit newer around here than we are!

      2. Andus McCoatover
        Windows

        Get it right, BOY!!

        There's Fuc*k all on Rockall

        Yeah, rename it Haines Island. Deserved title.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not Rockall

    Isn't that actually a series of photos of Napoleon's Piano?

  6. Anonymous Blowhard

    "consider that Great Britain still has a number of countries under its commonwealth"

    I think you must be looking at a hundred year old map of the world; The Commonwealth isn't a political union, and the United Kingdom government has no authority over any of the other Commonwealth Nations' territory, so it makes no difference to the Britain's access to economic resources.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      "consider that Great Britain still has a number of countries under its commonwealth"

      Probably not even NI or Scotland soon...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "consider that Great Britain still has a number of countries under its commonwealth"

        There will possibly be some upheaval when the Queen dies. Apparently King Charles III doesn't inherit that Commonwealth mantle automatically.

        https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/mar/16/what-happens-when-queen-elizabeth-dies-london-bridge

        After BREXIT the Spanish expect to annex Gibraltar.

        1. Old Tom

          Re: After BREXIT the Spanish expect to annex Gibraltar.

          And when is Spain going to give Ceuta, Perejil, Melilla and the other 'plazas de soberanía' to Morocco?

        2. TheVogon Silver badge

          "After BREXIT the Spanish expect to annex Gibraltar."

          They can expect whatever they like. It's not going to happen.

    2. Diogenes

      Statute of Westminster

      The Commonwealth isn't a political union, and the United Kingdom government has no authority over any of the other Commonwealth Nations' territory

      Yeah but nah but err...

      The Statute of Westminster, of 11 December 1931, was a British law clarifying the powers of the Commonwealth Dominions. It granted these former colonies full legal freedom except in those areas where they chose to remain subordinate to Britain.

      Buuuuut as reaffirmed in a recent court case, there is the concept of parliamentary sovereignty (also called parliamentary supremacy or legislative supremacy) is a concept in the constitutional law of some parliamentary democracies. It holds that the legislative body has absolute sovereignty, and is supreme over all other government institutions, including executive or judicial bodies. It also holds that the legislative body may change or repeal any previous legislation, and so it is not bound by written law (in some cases, even a constitution) or by precedent

      1. beerandbiscuits

        Re: Statute of Westminster

        @Diogenes; Statute of Westminster

        Parliament could indeed repeal the statutes that give effective independence to the dominions. It can also legislate to make it an offence to smoke on the streets of Paris (as a famous constitutional lawyer once wrote), but that does not mean that it could enforce those statutes in either case. Canada, Australia, New Zealand et al might just refuse to implement them.

  7. Chris Hawkins

    Not Rockall

    You rotten swine! You beated me to it!

    Indeed, a series of of photos of Napoleon's Piano were left there after the 1st Great attempt to "deaded" Rockall by Messr's Secombe & BlueBottle in 1958.

    Listen Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8I6wbUticic&feature=youtu.be&t=23m45s

    1. Neill Mitchell

      Re: Not Rockall

      You can't get the wood you know.

    2. Andrew Moore Silver badge

      Re: Not Rockall

      Eidelburger: "Strange, four legs on a piano?"

      Eccles: "Hey, I keep falling over..."

  8. DasBub
    Thumb Up

    Rockall guardpost

    Someone in a previous article commented about a photo of two guards and a guardsman's box atop Rockall.

    Well, here it is: https://marccalhoun.blogspot.ca/2013/06/rockall.html

    Silly buggers.

    1. Rusty 1

      Re: Rockall guardpost

      For as long as we are able to temper the insanity of modern life with acts of such utter Britishness, we have nothing to fear.

  9. Runty Dog
    Pint

    I miss Lester

    I'll raise a pint tonite in honor of the late great Lester!

  10. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    Entertainment!

    (There may be oil / under Rockall)

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Entertainment!

      (There may be oil / under Rockall)

      Exactly. If it hadn't been for The Gang of Four I would never even heard of Rockall.

  11. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Nowadays an expedition of that magnitude would seriously weaken the rest of the Navy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They would probably have to crowd-fund it.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Heh that'll be a setting for Cthulhu then.

    1. magickmark
      Alien

      I'm guessing the British Cthulhu would be Sir Walter R'lyeh?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019