Do you listen to ‘Sailing By’ as you drift off to sleep in the wee small hours of the morning?
Are you a committed landlubber whose only connection with the sea is listening to the Shipping Forecast?
The Shipping Forecast is like a lullaby to many BBC radio listeners, yet did you know there a number Wigwam® Holidays sites locked onto dry land with their coastal fringes dipping into some sea areas?
Broadcast four times a day (00:48hrs, 05:20hrs, 12:01hrs and 17:54hrs), the Shipping Forecast is a crucial weather report for sailors and fisherman as they take to unpredictable seas that lap the coasts of the UK.
There are 31 sea areas surrounding the British Isles, from the tip of Iceland (South East Iceland) reaching down to Spain (Trafalgar).
The coast-hugging shipping areas with Wigwam® sites within them are spread right across the seas surrounding the British Isles.
From the northern-most point heading in a clockwise direction, Wigwam® glamping cabins can be found overlooking the following stretches of saltwater:
Fair Isle, Forth, Tyne, Humber, Wight, Plymouth, Lundy, Irish Sea, Malin and Hebrides. These particular shipping areas take their names from rivers, towns, islands and seas, and are ones which include sections of the coastal stretches of the UK. Wigwam® sites are also located near key weather forecasting stations such as Lerwick in the Shetlands and Machrihanish, near Argyll.
Yet the true magic of the shipping forecast is spelled out when you’re tucked up warm and cosy in your Wigwam® cabin, while others face the raw elements in their ships and boats.
‘The ships’, as the newscasters call it, has its beginnings in the Victorian era. The very first warning service for shipping was broadcast via telegraph in 1861, introduced by Vice-Admiral Robert FitzRoy, who’s since had a shipping area named after him.
Today, the Shipping Forecast has a strict limit of 350 words (increased to 380 words for the 00:48hrs broadcast, the only one to include Trafalgar sea area).
And while the hypnotic words might not mean much to non-seafarers, the historic broadcast of 10th January 1993 warned of a ‘Southwest hurricane Force 12 or more’, thankfully a very rare occurrence, and one that would have been universally understood as bad news for mariners.
While we sometimes forget we’re an island race, the Shipping Forecast reminds us that we are island with a proud seafaring tradition.
During the opening ceremony of the iconic 2012 London Olympics, part of a Shipping Forecast was played to a global audience of millions, representing Britain’s maritime connections.
‘The ships’ have inspired musicians and writers for decades, including The Prodigy, Blur, Kate Bush, and others.
Numerous books, poems and even films feature this legendary aspect of British broadcasting.
And it’s a chance to let your imagination run free as the poetic place names such as Cape Wrath, Gibraltar Point and Mull of Kintyre trip off the tongue, sending you into a night’s restful repose.
There is something truly hypnotic about the Shipping Forecast. If you’ve not heard it before, then you’re missing out.
It’s highly addictive and often signals the start and the end of your day, whether you’re on a glamping holiday or busy with the day job.
And we think the best place to listen to it is in the comfort and warmth of a heated, insulated Wigwam® Holidays cabin. Just remember to bring the sou’wester!