"And now here is the shipping forecast issued by the Met Office on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency at 03.50 on Thursday 4th February.
HUMBER southwesterly gale force 8 imminent, increasing severe gale force 9 later.
WIND southwest veering west 7 to severe gale 9.
SEA STATE very rough or high, occasionally rough.
WEATHER rain or squally showers.
VISIBILITY good, occasionally poor."
We are essentially an island of sheep with diverse terrain, changeable weather patterns and many rich traditions.
The British Isles are divided into 31 sea areas where shipping forecasts have been issued four times a day since 1911 via radio transmission, except during World War I (1914-21) and World War II (1939-45). This too is woven into our heritage of island life as ships today still use this service to check against their onboard data. I hear my heritage too; the tales of deep sea fishing and the harsh weather as fishermen and sometimes families toiled the seas into the Arctic Circle and back to land their catch.
British sheep also have resilience to graze alongside these coastal beaches and meandering marsh plains, through to pastures and heathland then climbing to moors, dales and mountains. Our woollen traditions and innovations continue the heritage story forward as if pushed along by the elements and seas which shape the British Isles and the sheep which inhabit these terrains.