Edge of Existence is a short documentary about the most remote island in the UK, Rockall, and the selection of people who’ve attempted to survive there. The first recorded residence on the rock was in 1985 by SAS veteran, Tom McClean. Now 80 years old, we speak to Tom and the handful of others who have risked the 30-hour boat trip to the rock, to question why we risk our lives for arbitrary accolades and adventure?
Edge of Existence is currently in co-production by the Academy Award® winning Slick Films and WILD Studio. Directed by Aaron Wheeler.
R O C K A L L
Rockall is an uninhabitable granite islet situated in the North Atlantic Ocean. The nearest permanently inhabited place is North Uist, an island in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, 200NM to the east.
The UK claimed Rockall on 18 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”.
Rockall stands at 17.15m above sea level at its tallest point, covering an area of just 784.3 m2.
S T O R Y
In 725 BC, ‘The Odyssey’ was first orally composed, beginning the succession of fables, poems and stories that ensued, telling tales of epic sea-faring adventures and lessons taught by the gods of the time. These stories were the genesis of culture and morality amongst early societies, which were shared around as a way of teaching virtuosity in a more nuanced way than simply writing the moral law on a scripture.
Nearly 3,000 years later and with the distortion of modernity and the battle for power blurring the lines between right and wrong. It’s easy to see how empathy and mortality can be morphed into selfish intent. Now, more than ever, we need to be reminded of our origins, that we are not powerful gods, but merely side-effects of the chaos of the world.
The feeling of standing alone, with 300 miles of raging ocean in every direction would surely bring a feeling of impotence to any man. The power of the entire Atlantic ocean in the face of one person seems to surely be one of godly scale and is as close as we can be to living the real-life tale of The Odyssey.
The story of Rockall appears to be this modern-day fable, with humble adventurers traveling out into the treachery of the oceanic wilderness to face their inner demons as well as the brutality of the seas. Alone, facing oblivion and indifference simultaneously.
Surely at that point, one can truly understand what it means to be a human.
C H A R A C T E R S