OverviewRockall is a tiny, completely isolated island in the north-east Atlantic, way out 253 miles west of the Outer Hebrides, about 435 miles from Iceland in the north and 270 miles from Ireland in the south east. The exact position of the 21 metre high rock with some 27 metres width at water level is 57°35’48"N-13°41’19"W.
Rockall is, from a geographical point of view, the loneliest island on Earth: Nowhere sits an island so isolated, all others would have at least a minor second island as a neighbor.
First ascent by Basil Hall in 1811. Named after Hall is the only space on the rock where you can comfortably sit: Hall's Ledge in an altitude of about 19 metres.
Second, unsuccessful attempt, 1862 by a certain Mr. Johns.
1904: The "Norge" shipwrecks at Rockall, 600 passengers drown.
18th September 1955: 3 British soldiers land from an airborne helicopter and claim the rock for Britain; void by international law
27th August 1964: H. W. Tilman, the famous combined sailor/mountain climber, fails to land on Rockall
1985: Tom McClean spends over a month on top of Rockall
10th June 1997: Greenpeace activists occupy the rock for 42 days and name it "Waveland"
16th June 2005: A group of amateurs and professionals, organized by Lester Haines and led by Al Baker, succeed in climbing Rockall. See Rockall – Lonely Cathedral in the Sea
Getting ThereGetting there is the main issue. Getting there IN TIME is vitally important as well. A successful landing on Rockall is only possible as part of a joint venture. A seaworthy vessel has to be "parked" in a distance of, say, 300 yards from the rock, manned by a professional skipper and a mate. Access to the rock itself is done on a dinghy that needs to be steered knowledgeably. Rescue from water, climbing and abseiling on a vertical rope have to be trained beforehand.
Equipment: Neoprene dry suit as a protection against the cold water, in case one of the party chooses to drop into the sea. Life vest that inflates upon contact with water. Harness. Ascender, croll and stop (Petzl). Several 20-m ropes. Helmet. Several karabiners.
Finding a group or creating a group is the third main issue. There are no organized journeys to Rockall. There are only few experts who know what the rock has in offer. Prior contact to one of these experts is highly recommended. The internet is absolutely necessary for contact-building
"In time" means in June. Chances for success are little anyway, but chances outside of June are virtually nil. Get a reliable weather forecast from Bracknell and study the development of Highs and Lows. Give the weather 3 days lee time - this is the time for you to travel from the Scottish mainland to Rockall. You HAVE to hit Rockall in good and reasonably stable weather: calm seas, no swell. Calculate with a couple of failures, before you may succeed. The luck that I was granted will not be given to everybody.
Red TapeNone for you. The skipper, however, needs to have an appropriate and valid license for himself and the mother vessel, otherwise, if the voyage began in Scotland, he may face a heavy fine by the Scottish Maritime and Coastguard Agency
CampingOnly crazy people may consider this. It has been done, in fact, but don't assume you will be able doing this. It requires a firmly attached tent, better a buoy. And it is only for those who are aware of the additional risks: Weather may change rapidly - you will be stuck - washed away - good grief!
ROCKALL 2005 PICTURES
More at GIPFEL UND GRENZEN - Europa 135 mal von oben, oder: PEAKS, POLES AND PARAGRAPHS - Europe 135 times seen from above
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