Why the name Rockall?
It has been suggested that the current name is a derivation of ‘Rock Hall’, after Basil Hall, but it appears on a Portuguese chart of 1550 as ‘Rochol’, and one of 1606 as ‘Rocol’. It is possible that it derives from the Gaelic ‘Roc-ail’ meaning ‘all rock’. Other early forms of the name are ‘Rokol’, ‘Rokel’, ‘Rookol’, ‘Rokele’, and in 1698 ‘Rokal, or 'Rokabarra’ (Holland GS & Gardiner RA, 1975)
How do I get to Rockall?
The best way to get to Rockall is by chartering a boat (unless you have your own!). Companies offering charters to Rockall operate from various ports, including Leverburgh and Stornoway in the Western Isles. For details of times and prices, you should contact the charter boat operators directly.
How long does it take to get there?
The journey time is dependent on the weather, as well as the type of boat chartered. A motor vessel from Leverburgh, for example, will take a minimum of 13 to 15 hours to travel to Rockall. A yacht may take anywhere between 16 hours and several days to reach Rockall dependant on the weather conditions and wind direction. There may be times when any boat has to turn back due to bad weather.
Does anyone live there?
No-one lives, nor has every lived permanently, on Rockall due to its size, remoteness, and the lack of freshwater. In 1985, Tom McLean lived on on the rock for 40 days, and in 1997 Greenpeace rotated a team which spent 42 days on the islet. In 2014, Nick Hancock occupied Rockall for a record 45 days.
Where can I buy postcards, photographs, DVDs, etc?
The Rockall Club hopes in the future, to be able to offer postcards, copies of the rare 1957 book 'Rockall' by James Fisher and a DVD about Rockall. Funds raised from these sales will be used by The Club to promote the interests of The Rockall Club, purchase historic memorabilia and artifacts pertaining to Rockall for The Club's archive as and when it becomes available, and eventually provide bursaries for research expeditions to Rockall and present certificates and medals to those who have landed on Rockall.
Mike Schofield offers a range of photographs of Rockall, which can be ordered via his website.