May 25, 2024


From Stinky Bay to Sausage Island, local nicknames for British landmarks have long been a source of amusement. But in an emergency, the last thing rescuers should be struggling with is how to find Crazy Mary’s Hole.

Happy Ordnance Survey (OS) added thousands of these unofficial names for cliffs, caves, sandbars, coastal car parks and buildings to a database for the emergency services.

The OS Vernacular Names Tool (VNT) contains the nicknames of over 9,000 places across the UK, many of which have been created and passed down by local people.

Stinky Bay refers to Pentire in the north Cornwall coast, Sausage Island is a popular rock jumping off the coast of North West Wales, while Crazy Mary’s Hole is a deep chasm in Pakefield, Suffolk, said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman whose husband was at sea was lost.

Other locations on the list include Jabba the huta round and colorful beach hut in Mablethorpe in Lincolnshire, the Drinking Dinosaur, a rock formation at Flamborough Head in East Yorkshire that looks like a diplodocus drinking from the sea, and Teletubby Hill, a woodland in Burry Port in Wales .

The VNT is a substitute for FintanAn OS mapping tool created over 10 years ago for HM Coastguard which allowed users to upload the local name for a coastal feature to the database with the accurate location for its existing geographical name.

It was developed to ensure that Coast Guard responders can get to emergencies faster, allowing control room personnel to generate an exact location by simply typing in a nickname.

The Welsh Ambulance Service is a new user of the vernacular tool. Chris Jones, an emergency medical services administrator, said it was “really useful and very easy to use”.

“We want to record as many people’s names as possible, so we’re looking into how the control room can do that now, as well as include it in control room induction training,” Jones said.

“The real value in the longer term will be ensuring that our ambulances will be able to effectively arrive at the scene of an incident with an accurate location provided by OS, regardless of how it is identified by a caller.”

A Coastguard rescue team used the original Fintan tool to find a spot on a beach popularly known as the Tiki Head in Gwynedd in Wales where a caller fell and injured their leg.

In another incident, a coastguard search and rescue helicopter located a missing person nicknamed the Fun Boat, which refers to a location at Mostyn Docks on the River Dee.

During a recent visit to OS HQ in Southampton, Princess Anne added “the wedding cake” to the database, which is an alternative name for the Queen Victoria memorial opposite Buckingham Palace.

John Kimmance, managing director of OS national mapping services, said: “Wherever we live, we all have nicknames for local places and uploading them to a database can really mean the difference between life and death on an emergency call. means, especially for services called from outside their regional areas.”



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