October 29, 2008

The shipping forecast

Filed under: A long way from home,BBC radio addiction,misc — Duchess @ 2:40 pm

I guess my last post doesn’t make a lot of sense if you have never heard the shipping forecast, that lovely litany that sends me to sleep and then wakes me up again long before I am ready.¬†

So here’s the latest. ¬†These are the exact words read out on BBC radio at times when only insomniacs and the young have ears to hear:

And now the Shipping Forecast issued by the Met Office, on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, at 1725 on Wednesday 29 October 2008.

There are warnings of gales in Plymouth Biscay Fitzroy Sole Lundy Fastnet Irish Sea Shannon Rockall and Malin.

The general synopsis at midday:
Low Malin 992 expected northwest france 987 by 1200 tomorrow. Low Forties 992 moving slowly east and losing its identity by same time. new high expected just west of Iceland 1031 by that time.

The area forecasts for the next 24 hours:

Viking North Utsire:
North or northeast 4 or 5 increasing 5 to 7, perhaps gale 8 later. moderate or rough. Wintry showers. Good.

South Utsire Forties:
Cyclonic 5 to 7 becoming north 4 or 5, occasionally 6 later. Rough or very rough becoming moderate or rough. Wintry showers. Good.

Cromarty Forth Tyne:
Variable 3 or 4 becoming north or northeast 5 or 6. Moderate or rough. showers. Good.

Dogger Fisher German Bight:
Southwest veering north, becoming cyclonic for a time in Fisher, 5 or 6, occasionally 7 at first. Rough or very rough becoming moderate or rough. Showers. Good.

Humber:
Southwest 3 or 4 backing northeast 5 or 6. Moderate occasionally rough. Showers. Good.

Thames Dover Wight:
Variable 3 becoming south 4 or 5, backing northeast 5 to 7 later. slight or moderate, occasionally rough later in Wight. Showers. mainly good.

Portland:
South or southwest, becoming cyclonic then northeast, 4 or 5 increasing 5 to 7, perhaps gale 8 later. Slight or moderate increasing rough. Rain. Moderate or good.

Plymouth Biscay:
South or southwest, becoming cyclonic then northeast, 5 to 7, occasionally gale 8, decreasing 4 for a time. Moderate increasing rough or very rough. Rain then showers. Moderate or good.

Fitzroy Sole:
Northwest veering north 6 to gale 8, perhaps severe gale 9 later. rough or very rough, occasionally high later. Rain or squally showers. moderate or good, occasionally poor at first.

Lundy Fastnet Irish Sea:
Cyclonic 6 to gale 8, perhaps severe gale 9 later in Fastnet. Slight to rough, occasionally very rough in Fastnet. Rain then showers. moderate or good, occasionally poor at first.

Shannon Rockall:
Northwest veering north or northeast 6 to gale 8, occasionally severe gale 9 at first, decreasing 5 at times later. Very rough or high, decreasing rough at times later. Squally showers. Good.

Malin Hebrides:
Cyclonic 5 to 7, occasionally gale 8 in Malin at first, becoming north or northeast 5 or 6 later. Rough to high decreasing moderate or rough later. Rain then showers. Moderate or good, occasionally poor at first in Malin.

Bailey Fair Isle Faeroes Southeast Iceland:
North or northeast 5 or 6, occasionally 7 later. Rough occasionally very rough at first. Squally showers. Good.

There is nothing, it’s true, about rising or falling more slowly (think barometers), but I promise there often is.

But honestly, if you were snuggled under several quilts wouldn’t you love to hear the words “Bailey Fair Isle Faeroes Southeast Iceland: North or northeast 5 or 6, occasionally 7 later. Rough occasionally very rough at first. Squally showers. Good.”

Good? Bloody brilliant. Zzzzzzz.

7 Comments »

  1. You’re absolutely right. I have no idea what it means but it’s positively poetic!

    Comment by Smart Mouth Broad — October 29, 2008 @ 4:17 pm

  2. I agree with SMB. Positively poetic.

    Comment by MLS — October 29, 2008 @ 6:15 pm

  3. Ah the memories this post brings back! It’s almost 25 years since I last heard the shipping forecast, but I remember as if it were yesterday. My favourites were always ‘Dogger Fisher German Bight’ and ‘Lundy Fastnet Irish Sea.’ And, SMB and MLS, no less than Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heany, agrees with you as to the poetry. He wrote a sonnet, The Shipping Forecast, which opens so:
    “Dogger, Rockall, Malin, Irish Sea:
    Green, swift upsurges, North Atlantic flux
    Conjured by that strong gale-warming voice,
    Collapse into a sibilant penumbra.”

    But but but . . . what’s this Utsire stuff? Are ‘Viking North Utsire’ and ‘South Utsire Forties’ some new coordinates, or have they dropped into a hole in my memory? I could swear I’ve never heard them before now.

    Comment by Tessa — October 30, 2008 @ 6:32 am

  4. Bizarre! Never heard of any of this before, and have no clue what it means, but I COMPLETELY get it! VERY soothing.

    Somehow even the notion that there are people out there sailing the seas who need the shipping forecast is soothing.

    And, I like the sound of this Seamus character, hmmm, need to look him up.

    Comment by Allison — November 1, 2008 @ 6:49 am

  5. According to Wikipedia (“Shipping Forecast”), North and South Utsire appeared in 1984. The big loss is Finisterre. The French is more descriptive and the anglicized pronunciation more poetic than ‘Fitzroy.

    Comment by Exile — November 2, 2008 @ 1:42 pm

  6. Thank you, Exile, for clarifying that. I hadn’t remembered that the Utsires were new comers. I was sorry that we yielded to the Spanish and gave up Finisterre and replaced it with Fitzroy. Makes me cross every time I hear it!

    Comment by Duchess — November 2, 2008 @ 1:55 pm

  7. Duchess, don’t be too hard on poor old Fitzroy. Inspired by your piece, I went looking for some more info on the shipping forecast, and came across this terrific article in The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/now-for-the-shipping-forecast-659160.html

    Fitzroy was an eminent Victorian, whose career highlights include service as Governor General of New Zealand. His claim to commemoration in the shipping forecast comes from the fact that he set up the Met Office: in effect, he invented the weather forecast. As a young man, he captained the Beagle, on which Darwin made the voyage that led to his theory of evolution. In 1865, Somerset took his own life. Some believe that, as a devout Christian, he never forgave himself for helping Darwin.

    As Michael Cain would say – not many people know that, you know?

    Comment by Tessa — November 2, 2008 @ 3:49 pm

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