Friday, 22 December 2017


Northern gale expected at Compass Point.

It's well know that we British are obsessed with the weather, it's almost an inevitable topic of conversation when two or more people meet. We've got so used to instant weather forecasts on our phones, computers and at regular intervals on television it's almost impossible to realise that it wasn't always thus. 

Not so long ago those who went to sea would be cautious before setting sail, studying the weather conditions and were usually very skilled at predicting,from the wind and the clouds, what changes were likely. They also looked for advice from those in the know, including the Admiralty and coastguard service. One of the ways the could be informed was by the hoisting of a storm cone. This took the form of a canvas bag in the shape of a cone. If the point was upwards, there was a gale expected from the north and downwards, from the south. If the gales were incessant a drum shape was hoisted.

Interestingly, Rear Admiral Robert Fitzroy was heavily involved in promoting safety at sea, especially with the use of cones, and ultimately had a shipping forecast area named after him.

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