Sunday, 8 June 2014

First blog from Rockall

It's been an eventful first few days. The landed went well, we arrived onsite around 0630hrs after 15 hours cruising in reasonable weather. Myself and Ruaridh landed and made our way to the top where I rigged the ropes and we hauled up the extra rope bags and Portable Winch. The winch wouldn't start as being bounced around on the haul had caused oil to leak into the cylinder, but R got that cleared and the practiced process of winching the RockPod up the side of Rockall continued without a hitch. Peter, one of the crew of Kilda Cruises' Orca 3 then also landed to help with man hauling the remainder of my kit in the blue Smiths of Dean drums and my water jerry cans, up onto Hall's Ledge. Once all that was done, Alasdair, another crew member, joined us as the landing conditions were so good, before the rest of the guys left the rock at about 0910hrs, and I was on my own!


It was a hot a still day and I spent the afternoon, once Orca 3 had left, lashing down the RockPod with ratchet straps to the stainless steel fixings that Greenpeace left in situ, and organising my kit drums so they were all secure. Once the safety essentials were finished, I set about bringing food, clothing, electronics etc into the RockPod whilst I had dry weather, and I'm glad I did as its been raining all day today, and was fairly wet yesterday morning too. By the end of the day, I was feeling a bit down and homesick, so I called my wife Pam and having spoken to her and my son, felt much happier. It was then time to eat and sleep as I was fairly knackered after an early start and a physically demanding day.


Yesterday, I awoke to foggy conditions which were a change from the day before when there was not a cloud in the sky, I could see the horizon, and it was circa 25c in the RockPod! It was drizzling too, and being fairly groggy after a long, much needed sleep I slowly went about making breakfast and a hot drink. I read some more of 'Winchman' by Chris Murray QGM, which I had started the night before and have just finished, whilst I waited for the weather to clear, which it did in the late morning. I also used the black bucket for the first time - a loo with a view (Charlie Stayt take note!)


As the afternoon warmer and clearer I decided to get on with some important jobs: security of the RockPod and power. The Greenpeace fixings look and feel sound but are pretty old, so I added four more, one almost at each corner of the RockPod, to which I today secured two three-tonne ratchet straps over the RockPod running in moulded grooves in the shell. I also went up on top of Rockall and recced a spot for my Ampair wind turbine. The holes for the base plate fixings and the security fixings were quite easily drilled with a Bosch drill kindly leant to me by Webster Power Products. I then resin fixed the base plate to the rock (resin supplied again by Websters) and left it to dry overnight. The final task was to go through the kit drums in a bit more detail and fish out more kit and dry clothes that I would need over the next few days. The RockPod is now fairly full, although I can still stretch out to sleep, albeit in a space only the width of my body – glad I'm not too tall!


Today its rained most of the day, visibility is low and the winds fairly high. I was awoken by the gannets fighting for space on top of the rock and one unceremoniously flopping onto the deck of the RockPod and regurgitating a large pellet of fish! I had a fairly quiet morning, but in breaks in the weather managed to build my Ampair wind turbine head and my weather station. I decided not to do any more work on the turbine mast today as it's just too wet and windy to be safe on top, even though I am tethered when I'm up there. Hopefully there'll be some decent breaks tomorrow so I can get the turbine up and running.


Oh, almost forgot, I also got shat on by a bird today for the first time here. It was going to happen eventually as there's so many around; I'm taking it as a lucky omen!

Nick Hancock FRGS
Twitter: @RockallNick #RockallSolo
Sponsor Nick in aid of Help for Heroes at

Please forward all Press and Media enquiries regarding the expedition to Iain MacIver
Tel: 0845 860 2411


Fifi Friendly said...

Loving hearing how you are getting on. Hope the weather lets you get your jobs done soon x

Willyeckers said...

Congratulations on a successful landing Nick and Good Luck for your stay!

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