He’s done it! In one of the bravest and most gruelling feats of endurance of recent times, adventurer Nick Hancock has broken the record for the longest single occupation of the tiny North Atlantic speck of Rockall.
The Edinburgh-based residential surveyor from Ratho, Midlothian, has today (Thursday July 17) been on the storm-tossed rock – one of the most hostile environments on earth – for 43 days, beating by a day the record set by environmental protesters 17 years ago.
His ordeal on Rockall, which measures just 25 metres wide and 22 metres long, nearly cost him his life. He was swept by fierce Atlantic gales and mountainous waves, which swept much of his precious store of supplies into the sea.
However, Nick, who is sponsored by his employers DM Hall, one of Scotland’s largest independent firms of Chartered Surveyors, managed to save a small bottle of champagne to celebrate his incredible charity achievement.
The 39-year-old property specialist was able to send a message to veteran adventurer Tom McClean of Morar, who had held the previous record for 29 years. Nick will now come off the rock on Saturday (weather permitting), as he run out of supplies.
He said: “I had wanted to stay for longer, but I just don’t have enough food left. I am so relieved that I have managed to hang on for long enough to take the record – and raise money for my charities.” He has raised over £7,500 of his £10,000 target for Help for Heroes.
Only four people have ever spent more than a few hours on Rockall since the first recorded landing in 1811. To put this in perspective, more than 3500 people have stood on the summit of Everest since 1953 and 12 have landed on the moon since 1969.
The tiny island which, lying 186 miles west of St Kilda, is exposed to the full fury of the North Atlantic’s storms and Nick’s worst moment came when a freak storm sent giant waves crashing over his tiny shelter – a bright yellow survival pod which he made out of a plastic water bowser – and swept away much of his food.
Allan Scott, partner in DM Hall Edinburgh, said: “Nick has survived a very tough assignment, which tested his physical and mental limits, in aid of a very worthy cause. Everyone at DM Hall will be delighted to see him back home safe and sound.”