Buckie man geared up for bold Rockall fundraising expedition
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A BUCKIE ex-pat is hoping it is second time lucky in a bold bid to raise tens of thousands of pounds for Armed Forces charities.
Chris 'Cam' Cameron, who now lives in Wiltshire, had originally planned to take a small team to the remote setting of Rockall – over 200 miles off the Scottish coast in the Atlantic – last year during Her Late Majesty the Queen's platinum jubilee. However, a number of factors, including the cost of living crisis impact on fuel bills and difficulty finding a vessel to take them out and back, mean that the project had to be placed on hold.
However, the expedition is back on for June this year with the aim of raising much needed cash for the Army Benevolent Fund and the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.
The former Gordon Highlander, who at present is a Royal Navy Reservist where he is Senior Training Officer with the rank of Lieutenant, said: "It's all looking good so far and we're just about there in terms of funding to get us out and back to Rockall.
"However, we want to raise as much as possible through private donations and sponsorship from companies which means we can give more money to charity. All members of the team are making a personal financial contribution to getting out there.
"We'll be getting out to Rockall on a sailing vessel, the Taeping, which is being provided by Ocean Sailing Scotland and the plan is to leave Inverkip, near Greenock, on May 26.The voyage should take us between 24 and 36 hours.
"Once we're there we'll transfer ourselves and our gear to a Zodiac rib and onto the rock."
Once gaining a foothold on the rock, the team will then have to haul their equipment – including a landpod accommodation unit which weighs 115kg when assembled – up a 17m cliff to then set up camp perched on a space measuring just 4m x 1.5m where they will be about as far from the lap of luxury as it is possible to be.
Mr Cameron continued: "We'll basically have to take everything with us we need to survive.
"Our food will be military rations – boil in the bag stuff and dried food – and we'll be taking 150l of water in 5l bowsers. For emergencies we also have a machine which can convert salt water to fresh water which was given to us by the RAF.
"However, one of the biggest challenges will be finding something to do during our time there. I'm still keen to hear from schools and colleges who would like us to conduct weather and other experiments while we're there and I've also been in touch with Aberdeen and Bristol Universities to see if there's any research we can do for them."
Any local schools who would be interested in having the team conduct experiments on Rockall should contact Mr Cameron at firstname.lastname@example.org
While fundraising is the main priority, Mr Cameron is also angling at a world record while perched precariously above the Atlantic Ocean.
"The team are due to stay on the rock for a week, but I'm hoping to stay there for 60 days and claim the world record," he explained.
"That's currently held by Nick Hancock at 46 days.
"I've been trying to get acclimatised to longer periods in the landpod by living in it for a few weeks – I've got it set up in my back garden at home.
"The Rockall expedition has become my life's ambition; it's been two years in the making and it'll be amazing.
"The most important thing is and has always been raising money for the charities, that's why we're determined to pull this off."
Two hardy souls will be accompanying Mr Cameron on this fundraising quest. The role of radio operator will fall to Adam 'Nobby' Styles, a keen ham who originally hails from Dartfort in Kent.
They will be joined by Bulgarian-born mountaineering expert Emil Bergmann, who now resides in Germany. In addition to having extensive mountaineering experience, he is a keen radio enthusiast.
Mr Bergmann was drafted in to the team after the previous mountaineering expert, James Price, suffered frostbite while climbing in the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan, which resulted in him having several toes amputated.
Although the Rockall expedition last year had to be shelved, Mr Cameron led a four-strong team including Mr Styles, to Goose Rock, off Newquay, Cornwall at the beginning of June as a dry run for the real thing. Changeable weather provided a wide-ranging test of their equipment.
To find out more about the Rockall expedition, and to donate, visit https://www.rockallexped.com/