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24 x 12 inch acrylic on canvas                                     Rockall off Helen’s Reef  

Rockall is the most westerly point of the British Isles, this 70ft high rock is 187 miles off the St. Kilda archipelago, officially annexed in September 1955. Denmark, on behalf of the Faroes and Iceland also have claims to it, but let them grumble, Rockall is British! It is not entirely alone, being 2km south-west off the Helen's reef, a group of skerries that are often totally submerged, and there is the outcrop the Hasselwood rock right next to Rockall, also often entirely submerged. It is  a threat to shipping that has caused some disasters, especially in 1904 when the New York bound 3,328 ton steamer SS. Norge struck the rocks and sunk there, over 600 people died.

Only about twenty people are confirmed to have actually been on Rockall, the first being Royal Navy officer Basil Hall who led a small landing party there from the frigate HMS. Endymion on 8th September 1811, since then a number of adventurers landed there and the Royal Navy annexation party led by Lieutenant-commander Desmond Scott on 18th September 1955, put there by a helicopter from HMS Vidal to put a brass plaque (now missing) and hoist the Union Jack sealing Britain's claim. It has since been 'occupied' by environmental group Greenpeace who declared it 'Waveland', declaring it a new 'global state' to protest against oil exploration, the UK government basically ignored them. 

Here a Lesser Black Backed Gull considers stopping to rest alongside more common visitors like Gannets, Kittiwakes and Guillemots.

The world’s largest oceanic waves (at that time) of 29 meters were recorded here in the year 2000.  * The Irish rebel singers The Wolfe Tone have a rather anti-British song called Rock on Rockall.

Have you landed on Rockall? If so there is now a club for you! The Rockall Club

This painting as an evening greeting....

 

* How are the height of waves measured and recorded?  With Waverider buoys   

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 All text and images and linked images are © 2003-2013 George Rix .If you require any further information on permitted use, or a licence to republish any material, email me at copyright@seawitchartist.com

 

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