Ex-marine plans record-breaking solo occupation of Rockall

An adventurer who plans a solo occupation of the remote Atlantic islet of Rockall for 60 days will rely on Inmarsat for a communications lifeline.

Nick Hancock, an ex-marine who is raising money for UK armed forces charity Help for Heroes, is due to set out for the uninhabited rocky outcrop on 31 May.

The nearest land to Rockall is 163 nautical miles west in the Outer Hebrides. The volcanic outcrop – widely described as the most isolated oceanic rock in the world – measures just 25 metres (82 feet) across and is 18 metres (59 feet) high.

Survival pod
Nick has built his own compact survival pod from a plastic water bowser, which will be secured to a narrow ledge near the summit.

Inside will be all his supplies for the record-breaking attempt, including an Explorer 700 BGAN terminal and IsatPhone Pro satellite phone provided by Telespazio Vega UK. The Inmarsat service provider is also sponsoring Nick with free airtime.

The Inmarsat equipment will give Nick an emergency lifeline as he contends with isolation and Atlantic storms that can produce 40-knot winds and five-metre (16ft) waves.

Weather forecasts
“The BGAN from Telespazio Vega is an essential piece of kit for my expedition as it will allow me to get up-to-date weather forecasts, as well as confirm my safety to my shore-based expedition team,” said Nick.

“Furthermore, in this modern age with a desire to keep up to date with what's happening, the equipment will allow me to tweet and blog direct from Rockall.”

Nick will be posting video blogs and diary updates for the Guardian newspaper throughout his occupation.

Ecological study
During his stay, he will also carry out a study of bird, insect and plant life, details of which he will be able to share on his website and Twitter feed.

He added: “In addition, having the IsatPhone Pro is an essential back-up should my power supply fail.”

The Rockall challenge has been three years in the planning. Nick hopes to beat two longstanding records – for solo occupation and longest occupation.

Rockall Solo: www.rockallsolo.com