A Lonely Isle is a collection of anecdotes about Rockall, a remote island in the Atlantic ocean. Each chapter is based on accounts written by visitors over the last two hundred years.
1. Chasing A Rock
Rockall is a remote speck of land in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. In 1811, a landing party from HMS Endymion became the first people to scramble up its surface.
2. We Waved, They Waved
If Rockall has a personality, it’s one defined by the stormy ocean around it. Two visitors dwell on the swell: William Spotswood Green, writing in 1896, and James Fisher, whose 1956 book on Rockall inspired this project.
In 1904 the SS Norge struck Rockall bank. At the time it was the worst civilian maritime disaster in history. Sailor Carl Mathiesen gave a number of interviews about the wreck, and this piece is based on translations of these.
4. Dead Reckoning
Naturalist James Fisher tried to land on Rockall several times. In 1949 he sailed to the island with two friends, writing an account seven years later for his book about the island (Rockall, 1956, Geoffrey Bles Ltd).
5. Barrier Lands
Rockall is a contested space, politically and socially. John Vidal wrote for The Guardian in 2011 about his landing with Greenpeace in 1997, while Fraser Macdonald has written about the island and its role as a test-bed for post-colonial masculinity.
6. 18th September
James Fisher’s account of finally landing on Rockall after years of trying is misty-eyed and sentimental. He’s charmed by this remote and lonely isle.
Gorgeous and fascinating
This feels like a new kind of podcast. Slow, reflective, beautiful, illuminating. But also really brief and convenient. It's hard to know whether to savour each little fragment or binge on the whole lot. I guess, both!