Thursday, 19 March 2009

One step back and two forward

Unfortunately today I had my first major disappointment. Having been handed around by the Royal Navy, the decision has been made that they will not be able to assist me in getting to and from Rockall as they do not have regular resources in the area. This is a set-back but not unexpected. I am now pursuing other options in addition to yacht charter for which I already have several quotes.
On the plus side, the Rockall 2011 business cards have arrived. These will be a great way of passing on details of the expedition and the website a little more easily.

I have also this week been contacted by and asked to speak at the annual reunion of the Friends of HMS Vidal in September ( HMS Vidal was the survey ship from which the party landed on Rockall in 1955 to claim the island for the UK. The ship was named after the surveyor who originally plotted the position of Rockall in 1831. This is a great contact with the history of the rock and is going to give me the opportunity to meet more people who have landed on Rockall and also to raise some funds for the expedition.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Search and Rescue

This morning I had a telephone conversation with Stornoway Coastguard Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre who confirmed that should I require Search and Rescue, it is available and would be free. They also made some standard kit recommendations which were already on my list. This is great news as it removes the requirement for a bespoke insurance policy, thereby reducing costs dramatically; I can now use a standard UK travel policy!

Friday, 6 March 2009

Rockall Update

Much has happened over the past few weeks and only now have I had a chance to get this update out.

I have finally managed to track down not one but three contacts at the Royal Navy, two of whom work for Fleet Media. I am still awaiting responses from them, but just getting their contact details is an important step forward as the ideal scenario is to get helicoptered onto Rockall by the Navy.
This week Expedition Foods ( came on board as food supplier for the expedition; they are also going to supply me for the Marathon de Sables which I'm running next year. Having a food sponsor will be a massive cost saving, and the nature of their product means a massive weight saving too!

An architect friend volunteered to design a shelter for me which is great. Once designed and costed he is hopeful that his company may well sponsor the build too, which is amazing. Another friend is in printing and is supplying me with business cards for the expedition to hand out at various events and meetings, they have also offered to print any banners I require to put on Rockall during the expedition. I've also managed to convince a local bronze foundry to give me a good deal on a plaque to fix to the rock once I land.

I'm having a few problems getting insurance as I think it sensible to have Search and Rescue cover. However, Rockall as you know is in the British Isles where SAR is usally free and therefore not included in UK policies; I'm pretty sure it won't be at that range. If you have any suggestions for good expedition insurance providers I'd be grateful to hear from you.

I've had several quotes now for yacht charter to get me to the island. Hopefully the Navy will come through as charter cost are huge!

Having met and spoken with Tom McClean, I finally got in touch with Clem Fisher this week. Clem is James Fisher's daughter, it was James who wrote the 1955 book on Rockall and whose research I am in part hoping to update. In addition, I have tracked down the Greenpeace team from 1997. They informed me that they also went back in 1998 and landed an additional 9 people. I'm awaiting confirmation, but they may also have rotated the team in 1997 thereby increasing the known number of people to have landed by even more. Greenpeace still have a similar pod to the one used in 1997 (the 1997 pod was trashed by the Norweigan government)which I hope to visit at some point. They have also offered to advise me on yacht and helicopter charter, shelter design, access and survival.

Finally, I potentially have a whisky sponsor. There's a new distillery on Harris called Abhainn Dearg, whose first release will be in 2011 conveniently. They have offered a case for auction to raise funds, and few extra bottles to help while the time away!

All in all a few good weeks.