Attention All Shipping: A Journey Round the Shipping Forecast

Attention All Shipping: A Journey Round the Shipping Forecast

by Charlie Connelly

This solemn, rhythmic intonation of the shipping forecast on BBC radio is as familiar as the sound of Big Ben chiming the hour.

Since its first broadcast in the 1920s it has inspired poems, songs and novels in addition to its intended objective of warning generations of seafarers of impending storms and gales.Sitting at home listening to the shipping forecast can be a cosily reassuring experience.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Travel
  • Rating: 3.86
  • Pages: 384
  • Publish Date: May 5th 2005 by Abacus
  • Isbn10: 0349116032
  • Isbn13: 9780349116037

What People Think about "Attention All Shipping: A Journey Round the Shipping Forecast"

It seems there is some doubt whether any real life seaman actually listens to the Shipping Forecast, now there is satellite communication. There are warnings of gales in Viking North Utsire South Utsire Thames Dover Wight Portland Plymouth Biscay trafalgar Fitzroy Sole Shannon Rockall Malin Hebrides Bailey and Southeast Iceland. Low 50 miles north of Viking 991 expected Hebrides 986 by that time. The area forecasts for the next 24 hours: Viking North Utsire South Utsire: Southerly backing easterly or northeasterly, becoming cyclonic, 6 to gale 8. Moderate or good, occasionally poor. Moderate or good, occasionally poor. Thames Dover Wight Portland Plymouth: South veering west 5 to 7, increasing gale 8 or severe gale 9 for a time. Rain or squally showers, mainly fair later. Rain or squally showers, mainly fair later. Fitzroy Sole: Cyclonic, mainly southwesterly veering northerly, 6 to gale 8, occasionally severe gale 9 in Fitzroy at first, decreasing 5 or 6. Lundy Fastnet Irish Sea: Cyclonic becoming northwesterly, backing southwesterly later, 5 to 7, perhaps gale 8 later in Irish Sea. Moderate or rough. Rockall Malin Hebrides Bailey: Cyclonic becoming mainly northerly or northwesterly 6 to gale 8, perhaps severe gale 9 later. Fair Isle Faeroes: Cyclonic mainly easterly or southeasterly, 5 to 7, becoming mainly northeasterly, perhaps increasing gale 8 later in west Faeroes.

Who would have thought that a book subtitled 'A Journey Round the Shipping Forecast' would provide such splendid reading. In the words of the forecast read it when sitting cosily in front of a warm fire when outside it is 'south westerly veering north westerly five or six' and there is 'rain then showers' and visibility is 'moderate with fog patches' and you will find it not 'moderate, becoming good' but (not in the words of the shipping forecast) 'very good and getting better'!

Second, I've never been in the British Isles (nor indeed in any of the countries visited by Connelly), and I have to admit that many of the out-of-the-way places he describes would be fun to visit. Connelly is really a pretty darn good writer of this sort of non-fiction. Finally, here's Connelly's take on his solitary walk along the southwestern coast of St Agnes, the southernmost inhabited (pop. (The islands lie off the south west coast of Cornwall, in Forecast Area Sole.)The sky was turning a rich yellow, and the rocks against which countless ships had been dashed over the centuries loomed black out of the silvery sea ...

I should add that I have a strange love of the shipping forecast too...

I think it was also on Radio Four that I heard a very positive book review of Connelly's memoir of a his journey around the shipping forecast map. Connelly gave himself a year to visit one spot in every piece of the shipping forecast map that has an actual town.

I couldnt help but think that many journalists must have looked at what Bryson achieved, and the millions he has made, and thought, For fucks sake, anyone could write that Peoples Friend wank, left the bar, lit a fag up over the word processor and completely failed to replicate that mans populist style and gentle humour. I pay money to read stuff that makes me occassionally think, I couldnt write like this if I tried.

I think this book will please any one who grew up in England and remembers listening to the shipping forecast each day.

The only redeeming factor in this whole unhappy episode is that I purchased the book from a charity shop for 2, so at least they have benefited.

Charlie Connelly is a bestselling author and award-winning broadcaster.