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The Rockall Expedition set off from Inverkip today (Friday, May 26) for the 36-hour passage to the lonely rock 200 miles out in the North Atlantic.

The three-man team are bidding to smash the world record and live on the tiny islet for 60 days.

As well as setting a record for the longest continuous occupancy, the expedition aims to raise a million pounds for veterans and sick children charities.

The intrepid adventurers plan to scale the lonely rock, officially part of the Isle of Harris, and set up camp in the hope of beating Nick Hancock’s record of 45 days of continuous occupation of Rockall.

During their time on Rockall, they will broadcast 24x7 by ham radio as they raise funds for The Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity and ABF The Soldiers’ Charity (formerly the Army Benevolent Fund).

However, reaching Rockall is a feat in itself; scaling the almost vertical cliff face depends entirely on the weather and the sea state.

This morning, Expedition spokesperson Harry Brayford said the landing on Rockall is yet to be confirmed and will depend on weather conditions.

However, there won’t be a live stream of the landing as the expedition team is being filmed for a documentary expected to air later this year.

The slab of rock was first claimed for the UK in September 1955 when two Royal Marines and a civilian naturalist, led by Royal Navy officer Lieutenant Commander Desmond Scott, raised a Union flag on Rockall and cemented a plaque into the rock.

Of the 110 people who have successfully landed at Rockall in the past two centuries, only five have endured more than one night.

Most notable was former SAS member Tom Maclean who managed a 40-day stay in 1985, Greenpeace activists in 1997 who were protesting against oil exploration, and Scotsman Nick Hancock, who set a new 45-day record in 2014, his target of 60 days being thwarted when a storm washed away some of his supplies.

Rockall was incorporated into Scotland in 1972, but Eire, Iceland, and the Faroes dispute the rights attached to this tiny rock due to its fisheries and suspected oil and gas reserves.


Main image: Expedition member Emil Bergmann settles in aboard the boat taking the expedition to Rockall. His expertise will come in handy for tackling Rockall’s near vertical cliff face; he has scaled many major peaks in Central Asia and El Capitan and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park in the USA.

This article has been updated since it was first published.