An expedition to stay for a week on the wave-lashed oceanic outcrop of Rockall this June aims to raise £50,000 for charity.
A three-man team hopes for favourable weather conditions to scale the lonely rock, officially part of the Isle of Harris, and set up camp.
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).
The expedition is led by Chris “Cam” Cameron from Buckie, a professional seafarer and former member of the Gordon Highlanders. He is a marine biologist and oceanographer and has worked at sea since 1992.
The expedition radio operator is Adrian “Nobby” Styles. He has been a radio enthusiast since his teens. He is relishing the prospect of broadcasting from what is regarded as the world’s rarest and most difficult places from which to broadcast.
The third team member is Bulgarian radio expert and mountaineer Emil Bergmann. He has scaled many major peaks in Central Asia as well as El Capitan and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park in the USA.
They plan to leave Inverkip around Friday, May 26, for the 36-hour voyage to the rocky outcrop.
Rockall lies some 200 nautical miles west of North Uist. It is an almost vertical slab of granite that stands completely isolated in the North Atlantic. It is just over 17 metres at its highest point and covers an area of 784 square metres.
The rock is notoriously difficult to access due to the weather. It 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 the islet 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 the rights attached to this tiny rock are disputed by Eire, Iceland, and the Faroes due to its fisheries and suspected oil and gas reserves.
However, tensions over Rockall run deepest with the Republic of Ireland. In 2019, then Scottish Minister for Culture, Tourism and Foreign Affairs Fiona Hyslop threatened to remove Irish fishing vessels from the waters around Rockall.
The Irish maintained they would continue to fish there as they had historically. The international dispute arose again in January 2021 when a fishery protection vessel blocked an Irish vessel from fishing in the area in what is considered Scottish territorial waters.