Strong Island Co.

Seafront & The Coastline

Photos from Photography Walkshop on Southsea Seafront

Saturday’s Strong Island Photography Walkshop on Southsea Seafront went really well and was a complete sell out, with seventeen photographers coming along to improve their photo skills and explore some popular Southsea locations with their cameras. We began looking at nature and macro photography at the Rose Gardens, then looked at light/shadow/geometry at the colourful beach huts before going down to the beach to look at different composition techniques. After catching the sun on the shoreline we looked at different perspectives down by Canoe Lake before returning to the beach and photographing South Parade Pier.

This was our last summer photography walkshop but due to their popularity we’ll be announcing monthly photography walkshops through the autumn and winter, with details on dates and locations (and themes!) on our new photography walkshops website coming soon.

Below are some photos from Saturday, there are more on our Flickr (where you’ll find photos from all of our summer walkshops) and our Facebook page.

Ocean Film Festival Competition

The kind people from the Kings Theatre have donated two tickets for the Ocean Film Festival this coming Tuesday 22nd Sept.

The Ocean Film Festival showcases our amazing oceans filmed from above and below the water’s surface. Brought to you by the producers of the Banff Film Festival UK Tour, this extraordinary collection of short films document the beauty and power of the ocean, and celebrate the divers, surfers, swimmers and oceanographers who live for the sea’s salt spray; who chase the crests of waves; and who marvel at the mysteries of the big blue.

The series of short films will take you on a journey across the planet showcasing the huge waves of Australia, diving with sharks off the coast of Africa and heading north to the far reaches of the Arctic Circle. For more information on the films being shown check the website out here.

ocean-film-festival 1

To win all you need to do to win the tickets is name any of the sea creatures featured on Bored of Southsea‘s ‘Creatures of the Solent’ t-shirt/sweatshirt.

Email your answers to before 6pm on Sunday 20th Sept. The winner be contact directly and announced on social media very soon after. If you don’t want to leave it to chance then tickets are available for £11 for adults and a discount for concessions, you can pick one up via the website

ocean-film-festival 2

ocean-film-festival 3

America’s Cup Racing Week In Portsmouth

I think my first memories of the America’s Cup were from childhood, watching the news and being a little confused about stories of close races, steely eyed crews battling the southern ocean and controversial keel designs on these huge yachts on seas and oceans the other side of the World. Up until recently it still felt like it was an event that happened far from here, glimpsed on TV, racing in exotic locations on distant waters. With the news of the new Ben Ainslie Racing headquarters to be located and built in Portsmouth about a year or so ago, all of a sudden, this race, this event really started to capture my attention. Could the UK win the oldest international sporting trophy, with a team based in Portsmouth? Back in the waters where the race began?

Americas Cup

No longer will these elite teams sailing ‘formula one’ yachts built from cutting edge designs, technologies and materials feel so distant, as the 35th Americas Cup event began to arrive in the city over recent days in readiness for the racing long weekend next week. On Twitter it has been hard to miss the photos from local people of the Land Rover BAR AC45F flying on training sails in the Solent. In recent days our local team has been joined by New Zealand and other teams out on the Solent, with the 45 foot long catamarans flying at speeds of 40 mph all just 50 metres offshore. Our historic dockyard home to the yachts from all corners of the Earth and our city home to the first stage of the cup. Now the stages and stands are being built, the flags are up and in a matter of days the racing will begin! Check below for the detail list of all the America’s Cup events happening in the city.

We’re happy to also announce that Strong Island Clothing Co will be at the America’s Cup race village, be sure to drop by and say hello and check out the huge new summer range of tees. More details on this soon.

Americas Cup Flags in Southsea

Thursday 23rd July

The America’s Cup officially begins on Thursday 23rd July, with Southsea Common, Old Portsmouth and the Solent alive with activity all starting from 9am in the morning. You’ll be able to see the crew and craft prepare for the day’s racing in No. 1 Basin at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in the morning before the race village on Southsea Common opens at 11am. The day’s events are as follows:

  • – 9am to 11am: The race teams and boats get ready in the Naval Base – come and view in the Historic Dockyard
  • – 10am: Race Village opens on Southsea Common and the day
  • – 11am: The America’s Cup ‘trophy’ arrives in style
  • – 11:15am to 12:30pm: Moth racing and kitesurfing displays
  • – 12:30pm: The Official Parade of Sail leaves the Royal Navy base and escorts the race fleet out to the race course area in front of the race village on Southsea Common
  • – 12:45pm to 2:30pm Official Parade of Sail and exhibition sailing by the race teams
  • – 3pm: Skippers come ashore
  • – 3:15pm: Official press conference & presentation of skippers in Fanzone Arena
  • – 5pm: Day programme ends
  • – 6:30pm: Evening programme opens
  • – 7pm to 7:45pm: Official Opening Ceremony
  • – 8pm – 10pm: South Coast Proms concert featuring The Massed Bands of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines

Friday 24th July

Friday sees streaks of colour on both the Solent and the skies above, with the day dedicated to speed. See below planned activities for the day and evening:

  • – 9am to 11am: The race teams and boats get ready in the Naval Base – come and view in the Historic Dockyard
  • – 10am: Race Village opens on Southsea Common and the day
  • – 11am to 12pm: Moth racing and kitesurfing displays
  • – 12:10pm to 12:30pm: Red Arrows Aerial Display
  • – 12:30pm: The race boats leave the Royal Navy base and are escorted to the race course area in front of the race village on Southsea Common
  • – 12:45pm to 1:20pm: Race boats tuning up before practice racing with live MC commentary
  • – 1:30pm to 3pm: Practise starts and two practise races
  • – 3:15pm: Skippers come ashore
  • – 3:30pm: Media mixed zone with skippers in Fanzone Arena
  • – 5pm: Day programme ends
  • – 6:30pm: Evening programme opens
  • – 7:15pm to 9:30pm: South Coast Proms concert featuring The Massed Bands of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines

Saturday 25th July

On Saturday sailing gets serious and points are won or lost with the full official racing of the 35th America’s Cup kicking off. The evening also sees Portsmouth Live! with music on the big stage down on Southsea Common:

  • – 9am to 11am: The race teams and boats get ready in the Naval Base – come and view in the Historic Dockyard
  • – 10am: Race Village opens on Southsea Common and the day
  • – 10:30am: RNLI helicopter display
  • – 11am – 1230: Moth racing and kitesurfing displays
  • – 12pm: Red Bull Matador Aerial Display
  • – 12:30pm: The race boats leave the Royal Navy base and are escorted to the race course area in front of the race village on Southsea Common
  • – 12:45pm to 1:20pm: Race boats tuning up before racing with live MC commentary
  • – 1:30pm to 3pm: Two offical America’s Cup World Series Races
  • – 3:15pm: Skippers come ashore
  • – 3:30pm: Skippers in media mixed zone in Fanzone Arena
  • – 4pm: Blades Aerial Display
  • – 5pm: Day programme end
  • – 6pm: Evening programme open
  • – 7pm – 11pm: Portsmouth Live! Saturday day concert featuring Spandau Ballet, WetWetWet, McBusted and Carly Rae Jepsen

Super Sunday 26th July

Sunday is guaranteed to be ‘super’ – a fantastic finale to the event where the overall winner will be decided through what is sure to be some nail biting racing. As ever a full programme on entertainment on shore and on water and then an amazing prizegiving gala event to end it all. The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge are set to join huge crowds on Sunday to view the racing play a key part in the finale prizegiving event too. See below planned activities for the day and evening: See below planned activities for the day and evening:

  • – 9am to 11am: The race teams and boats get ready in the Naval Base – come and view in the Historic Dockyard
  • – 10am: Race Village opens on Southsea Common
  • – 10:30am: RNLI helicopter display
  • – 11am to 12:30pm: Moth racing and kitesurfing displays
  • – 12pm: Trig Aerial Display
  • – 12:30pm: The race boats leave the Royal Navy base and are escorted to the race course area in front of the race village on Southsea Common
  • – 12:45pm to 1:20pm: Race boats tuning up before racing with live MC commentary
  • – 1:30pm to 3pm: Two offical America’s Cup World Series races
  • – 3:15pm: Skippers come ashore
  • – 3:30pm: Skippers in media mixed zone in Fanzone Arena
  • – 4pm: All skippers and sailors to main stage in Waterfront Festival Arena
  • – 4:15pm to 5pm: Gala prizegiving event in main stage in Waterfront Festival Arena
  • – 6:30pm: Spitfire Aerial Display

These times are subject to change.

Tickets for the America’s Cup are still available HERE.

Waterfront Festival Arena – Free ticket required for day entry.
10am to 5pm Thursday/Friday/Saturday.
10am to 6pm Sunday.

Fanzone Arena – Paid ticket required for day entry.
10am to 6pm Thursday/Friday/Saturday.
10am to 6:30pm Sunday

Fanzone Arena tickets are on sale across all four days Thursday 23rd – Sunday, July 26, which will also give access to the Sunday prizegiving. All current Waterfront Festival Arena (free) ticket holders will also be able to watch the prize giving show.

Portsmouth Live! Music night – Paid ticket required for entry.

Portsmouth Live!


America's Cup World Series Naples 2013 - Race Day 3

Red Bull

The Ship Inn Raft Race 2015

The Ship Inn Pub in Langstone Harbour, originally a mill, recently hosted their annual raft race. This event is historic and this lovely coastal pub has organised this great day for several years now. The race is all about getting people working together as a team by building rafts and trying to complete a short assault course without sinking.

The weather was glorious and hundreds of onlookers supported the event. Team included local clubs such as local dive club Blacksheep Divers.

This nautical themed event not only boasts a real sense of community but encourages locals to get out and about and enjoy the amazing setting that is on their doorstep.

Racers pelted each other with water bombs and clumps of seaweed and children took to the water to attack teams with loaded water pistols. The atmosphere was fantastic and the stunning waterside setting was perfect and enjoyed by all.

The event will happen again next year in July and everybody is welcome to sign up and take part. Contact the Ship Inn for more details on upcoming events. You can find out more about the Ship Inn on their website

Raft Race

Raft Race

Raft Race

Raft Race

Raft Race

Southsea Castle’s Champagne Bar Presents… Beats & Swing

When the sun is out there is no finer venue on the south coast than Southsea Castle. The warm weather looks like it is here to stay, which is perfect for this weekend because our friends at Beats & Swing are taking over the Champagne Bar this Friday evening.

As ever entry is free and doesn’t require tickets and the doors will be open from 6pm.

Entertainment on the night comes from Caós Doble, Wesley Brown, The Random Scarves and the Beats & Swing Soundsystem. There will also be displays from Hoop Shaker, Happy Hula Monkeys and Swing 4 all.

Find out more about Beats and Swing and their upcoming events on their website –

Beats and Swing Champagne Bar

Record Coastal Sounds as Part of a National Project for the National Trust

The Sounds of our Shores project is a joint scheme between the National Trust, the National Trust for Scotland and the British Library and aims to create a collection of sounds from around the Uk shoreline and seasides to form an audible snapshot. With coastal erosion, the changes in tourism, wildlife, fishing, sailing, transport and much more the sounds of the shoreline of the UK have changed over the years and this project hopes to have the public help collect the sounds of today.

Musician Martyn Ware, a founder member of bands The Human League and Heaven 17, will use some of the sounds submitted by the public to create a piece of music for release in February 2016. The National Trust wants to use the thousands of recordings uploaded to build a digital map which will be curated by the British Library.

With Portsmouth being such a mix of wildlife, shipping, tourism and so much more we are in a perfect position to record and contribute to this project. Sounds like the foghorn over the Solent would be a perfect example.

At Strong Island Media we’ve actually worked on a few ‘soundscape’ projects in the last couple of years with schools in Chichester and Bordon. It can be really interesting not thinking about the visual (with photography and film) and to focus on the sounds around you. The project we worked on with Chichester High School for Girls at Chichester Harbour was a soundscape with video clips and a poem filmed and written by the students edited over the top. We’ll be submitting the raw audio to the Sounds of Our Shores project. You can have a watch/listen HERE.

Visit the Sounds of our Shores project website to find out how to get involved.

Photo from our soundscape recorded by Bordon Juniors.

Champagne Bar at Southsea Castle

Last Friday saw the return of the Champagne Bar to Southsea Castle. The sun was shining and the crowd was in equally high spirits.

With lighting provided by Mijaro the castle looked fantastic. On hand to provide music for the evening were Civilisation of the Rough‘s DJ Mark Persaud and Herma Puma‘s DJ Pimpernel Jones. Live music came courtesy of funk band Big Love Soul, they went down a treat and had everyone busting a move in the marquee area.

With upcoming DJ sets from Funktifino, Hipshaker, Gentle Bren, Handsome Dave Rocker as well as live music from Southsea Alternative Choir and The Smiley Campbell Band it’s clear that you are going to be hard pushed to find a better place to spend your Friday evenings this summer.

The Champagne Bar will be open from 6pm until late and be free entry every Friday (apart from the Victorious Festival and Americas Cup weekends where they will be having a week off). You can stay up to date with all things Champagne Bar by following them on Facebook.

Photo’s from James White Photography.

Champagne Bar James White 5

Champagne Bar James White 4

Champagne Bar James White 2

Champagne Bar James White 3

Champagne Bar James White 1

Champagne Bar 2015 Poster

Strong Island Photo of The Year Competition Week 1 Winner and Runners Ups

With the first week’s submissions for the Strong Island Photo of the Year Competition all collected from email, Twitter and Instagram (using the hashtag #SIPhotoComp2015) we’re happy to announce the very first weekly winning photo and photographer, ‘Sunglasses Spinnaker’ by Alessandro Salvatore, an amateur photographer based in Southsea.

This weekly winner will now be entered into the finals of the competition which will happen in December where everyone can vote for their favourite weekly winning photos. This week’s winner was chosen because it showed an innovative new way to capture a familiar landmark of Portsmouth, capturing the city lights at night in a reflection. This image will now become our Strong Island Facebook header image for the next 7 days until next week’s winner.

'Sunglasses Spinnaker' by Alessandro Salvatore
‘Sunglasses Spinnaker’ by Alessandro Salvatore.

Below are just some of the 200+ photos we received in the first week. A huge thank you to everyone who submitted! Don’t worry if your photo didn’t win or make the shortlist, you can enter photos every week until the finals in December. You can now submit photos for this week’s weekly winner selection which will be chosen and shown next Monday. To enter simply email, Tweet or Instagram your photo that was taken in, on or around Portsmouth.

Photo by Tony Benham.

Photo by Paul-Stanley.

Photo by Zac-Austin.

Photo by Tom Jacobs.

Photo by Stefano Pollina.

Photo by Rhys Geehan.

Photo by Liam Ritson.

Photo by Kate Smith.

Photo by Johnny Black.

Photo by Jamie Thorpe.

Photo by James Henderson.

Photo by Hayley Reeves.

Photo by Gemma White.

Photo by Christopher Greening.

Photo by Chris Grant.

Photo by catspaws_22 (on Instagram).

Photo by Catherine Taylor.

Photo by Billie Cawte.

My Dog Sighs Bank Holiday Treasure Hunt

The lucky ones among us have a nice long bank holiday weekend to look forward to, and local artist My Dog Sighs invites you to spend that time on a treasure hunt. He has painted thirty one paintings based on the lyrics of his favourite tune and pasted them up across Southsea.

Your task is to find all thirty one and take a creative photo of each. The first person to find and photograph them all will win a My Dog Sighs hand painted tin can with two runners up winning one of his a tee’s. To enter you need to tag My Dog Sighs to the photo on your chosen social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and send him a message to say you were successful including a link to the photo’s.

My Dog has been kind enough to give you a few clues with an image of each painting on his Facebook page, which you can find HERE.

We do ask that you please don’t try and remove the paintings. The paper is 60 years old and very brittle. It is unlikely you’ll get it off in one piece. Not to mention that you will spoil the fun for everyone else! If for any unfortunate reason any of the paste ups are removed, a photo of the location will suffice.

Happy hunting!

MDS Treasure Hunt 1

MDS Treasure Hunt 2

MDS Treasure Hunt 3

The Champagne Bar Returns For 2015

We are really excited to inform you that the Champagne Bar will be returning to Southsea Castle from Friday 10th April. Mark the date in your diary now because you don’t want to miss live music from Big Love Soul and DJ on the night will be Civilisation of the Rough‘s Mark Persaud.

The Champagne Bar will be open from 7pm and be free entry every Friday, apart from the Victorious Festival and Americas Cup weekends.

To stay up to date with all things Champagne Bar by following them on Facebook HERE.

Champagne Bar

Next »


Local Photographer – Matt Shaw

Louise from the Girls Who Ride crew gave us the heads up on the amazing photos of local photographer Matt Shaw, including some great images on Portsmouth, some in HDR too. Be sure to take your time going through Matt’s Flickr and here are a few to wet your appetite:

Created Local Special: Immy Smith and the Brain Tumour Research lab at the University of Portsmouth

We’ve featured many local artists, photographers, filmmakers, designers & makers under the Created Local series for many years (over 100 in the last 6 years), profiling work touching on many, many different subjects. Immy Smith’s background, artwork and working environment is something a little different.

Immy Smith is a rare creative, working in what initially might be thought of as two different worlds: one foot in science, the other in art. With a PhD in Pharmacology plus a strong arts background Immy has recently been working in the Cellular & Molecular Neuro-Oncology (Brain Tumour) Research laboratories at the University of Portsmouth on a 10 month residency which looks at how to foster better and more creative working relationships between medical science and the arts. The residency, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, aims specifically to create a sense of collaboration with not just laboratory staff but also the patients effected by brain tumours, which kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

“The project I’m working on here at the Brain Tumour Research lab is a Leverhulme artists residency where I work in the lab making art alongside science researchers. Our project aims to tell the story of brain tumour patients, scientists and clinicians, through art. We want to make these stories accessible and share the unique challenges of brain tumours with a wider audience to help raise awareness of this devastating disease.” – Immy Smith

Cellular & Molecular Neuro-Oncology (Brain Tumour) Research laboratories

Working within the laboratory environment sees the research staff and artists working in a shared space, with artwork becoming a part of the laboratory environment. The relationship allowing for artistic insight in to the latest treatment research and the scientist an appreciation of creative processes and different patterns of thought. The project has included workshops with scientists as well as patients, collecting stories and aiming to “fill the gap in understanding”; having perspective on cancer analogies, unique sensory & cognitive effects of these tumours due to their location in the brain and patterns of cells and diagnosis & treatment. The creative work aims to engage with all and to broaden the horizons and enhance the skills of both artist & scientists, through this particular interdisciplinary research.

Staff at Cellular & Molecular Neuro-Oncology (Brain Tumour) Research laboratories

Immy’s work includes ‘Heterogeneity Experiment: Ink, SciArt, and Brain Tumour Heterogeneity’ which explores heterogeneity between brain tumours, through making art at the lab bench. The ingredients used are primarily inks – ultramarine and magenta. Other constituents include water and lab filters. Every filter contains both colours. From this limited palette of ingredients are made an array of unique patterns – more than 120 of them. The components are few but the outcomes are complex, heterogeneous:

“The cellular components of your brain are primarily neurons and glial cells. Neurons get a lot of the limelight, however glial cells – including astrocytes and oligodendrocytes – play a crucial role in brain function, and neurons are lost without them. Other constituent cells include pericytes and endothelial cells in the brain’s blood vessels, microglia (immune cells), and ependymal cells (which line brain ventricles). From a limited palette of cellular ingredients, all the fascinating machinery of your brain is created.” – Immy Smith

Heterogeneity Experiment: Ink, SciArt, and Brain Tumour Heterogeneity

Heterogeneity Experiment: Ink, SciArt, and Brain Tumour Heterogeneity

Another part of work produced during this pilot project are Immy’s Ugly Objects experiments:

“Some of the scientists here expressed a wish to depict brain tumours as something ugly – rather than using images of cells which are often quite beautiful. While this project is about using recognisable or non-exclusive imagery (so I wouldn’t use scientific images of cells anyway) it raised many interesting ideas. I previously discussed the scientists feelings of the dread and awfulness, that they associate personally with brain tumours as cancers. Another interesting idea was; what is ugly? Is what we perceive as ‘ugly’ in any way universal? What are common features in people’s descriptions of ugly? Can we use this as something recognisable, something not exclusive to science or art, with which to communicate about brain tumours? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I know it’s harder to draw ugly than you might think.” – Immy Smith

Ugly Objects

Ugly Objects

Immy is working towards an upcoming public exhibition, with permission to use the event to fundraise for the charity Brain Tumour Research. We’ll let you know more details on the upcoming exhibition and the work included soon. For now, if you are interested in finding out more about Immy’s work you can visit her websites below:

Immy Smith

After skating…

…the boys enjoy a sit down at the seafront on a Sunday. Photo courtesy of the ever busy Quiet Corners lensman Paul Gonella. Perfect days, albeit still cold.

Our Langstone Harbour Trip with the RSPB

On a grey yet thankfully dry Sunday morning if I had a Portsmouth bucket list, I had one of the items near the top ticked off with a boat trip with the RSPB. Personally, I’ve always loved Langstone Harbour. When I first moved to Portsmouth I lived at the Furze Lane Langstone campus of the University of Portsmouth and the harbour was on my door step and one of the first places I explored with my bike and camera. Throughout the years I’ve been lucky enough to explore every yard of its edge plus the sandbank and the Phoenix Breakwater with my camera, from high tide to low, but I haven’t had a chance to explore the islands.

The thing, for me, that makes Langstone Harbour extra special is that it is a wild habitat right on the doorstep of the most densely populated city in the UK. Considering the close proximity to well over two hundred thousand people, the harbour is surprisingly biodiverse and a key nesting location for birds on the south coast. More surprising is that for birds, Langstone Harbour has way, way more calling it home through the seasons than its neighbour Chichester Harbour. So…all of this wildlife shares Portsmouth with us, and us with them. Particularly at this time of year: nesting season. So for the very, very novice twitcher side of me, a boat trip out to see the birds with the RSPB was a fantastic opportunity.

We set off from the slipway at Broadmarsh Costal Park south of Havant with Wez at the boat controls and Dawn to help both myself and Tristan find out more about the wildlife and what the RSPB do in regards to the harbour and the bird populations. It was a good start with lots of Mute Swans seeing us off from the quayside and even a low flying Heron passing overhead. We travelled south, in parallel with the shore of Long Island, one of many different islands in the harbour that have (since the late 1970s) become protected bird preserves of the RSPB. We passed the southern tip of the island, which is one of the few areas where the public can land (we saw kayakers taking a break on the small shingle beach) before moving south west to Round Nap Island.

Long Island.

I’ve always been intrigued by the harbour’s islands and as they are off limits to the public this was my first chance to see them up close. Round Nap Island is quite small and at high tide seemed like a very flat and precarious home to the nesting birds and visiting birds too. On the shingle we saw Black Headed Gulls with their brown, fuzzy and big chicks who will be very soon flying themselves. Also on the island we saw quiet Cormorants taking a rest from fishing and curious Oyster Catchers exploring the shingle and waterline for food.

Round Nap Island.

Cormorants on Round Nap Island.

The RSPB routinely (at times, daily) check the nesting islands to ensure the birds aren’t effected by the many different dangers to them, their nests and their young. At low tide some of these islands are accessible by the mudflats so some islands have electric fences to protect against foxes and other predators. Another serious danger to these birds are storms and surging tides. Recently a storm washed away nests and seriously effecting the breeding of some of the harbours most important visitors.

Black Headed Gull.

From Round Nap Island we set off to the much larger South Binness Island, the most southerly of the islands in the harbour. As we travelled along the southern shore of the island we saw hundreds and hundreds of Black headed Gulls and their young plus the sharp edged Sandwich Terns, Common Terns and our first sighting of the beautiful Little Terns that visit the harbour each year. The Little Terns have struggled in recent years to raise young due to weather and tides and in 2013 this island was raised up with 500 tonnes of aggregate with the hope that their ‘scrapes’ would be better protected.

South Binness Island.

Oyster Catcher and Black Header Gulls on South Binness Island.

South Binness Island.

Black Headed Gull chicks on South Binness Island.

South Binness Island.

Sandwich Tern.

Little Terns are very special visitors to Portsmouth. Unknown to me until fairly recently, Portsmouth and Langstone Harbour is home to one of the largest colonies of these special birds, along with Blakeney Point and Great Yarmouth in Norfolk and Minsmere in Suffolk. You might find the birds in much smaller groups around the coast of the UK, including Scotland…but right here in Portsmouth is a key nesting site in the UK. Sadly these birds have difficulty in producing young as our weather has been bad in consecutive years but they will continue to try through the rest of the season. There are only 1,900 (approx.) breeding pairs in the UK so the work done locally by the RSPB to support and help these birds is vital. To put it in context, on South Binness Island alone in 2008 the island had 4,886 nesting pairs of Black Headed Gulls.

Little Tern.

Little Tern.


We travelled west past the island and out to a place I have wanted to visit for years, Oyster Island. Many years ago this small island was home to an oyster watchman’s house built in 1819. I had heard that you could still see the foundations and remains of the house (which was possibly washed away in a storm) still on this tiny island south of Farlington Marshes. As we approached you could clearly see on this tiny island the timber beams of the house plus bricks and more. Hard to believe that someone could live out here, right on the harbour.

Oyster Island.

Oyster Island.

From here we travelled to Baker’s Island with it’s northerly wild side. The RSPB obviously tries to not disturb the birds but there are occasions when it is necessary to land on one of the islands. Routinely the RSPB need to count the nests and check for any issues. Sometimes they have to fix fencing and maintain signs, etc, on this occasion Wez had to replace the electric fence battery so we grounded the boat on the beach for a few minutes. Obviously it is vital these islands are not visited by the public so this was an unexpected privilege to see this habitat up close for a minute or two.

Baker’s Island.

Oyster Catcher on Baker’s Island.

Surrounding the boat at Baker’s Island.

We set off from here and travelled east across the harbour and midway saw a large commercial vessel leave the quay at the Lafarge Tarmac site and travel towards the harbour entrance. It was a good reminder that despite being a quiet harbour there is still commercial activity on a day to day basis. There are also fishing vessels that work within the harbour too.

Commercial vessel passing Round Nap Island.


The old oyster beds on Hayling Island’s north westerly edge (next to the ‘Billy’) have a long history, from farming huger amounts of oysters for consumption in London (ending due to pollution) to them being neglected until recent years when they were restored and made a protected RSPB area. These interlinking beds are now home to many different birds and access is prevented from Hayling Island as well as from boats. From here we saw a harbour favourite the Little Egret and also a solo Great Crested Grebe before it dived under the water and disappeared. On the way back to Broadmarsh we were lucky to see about a dozen Common Terns feeding, with them circling, hovering and then diving in to the harbour waters. We also saw some Little Terns too, who only feed around one kilometre from their nesting sites.

Little Egret at Hayling Island Oyster Beds.

Diving Common Tern.

In only a matter of two hours we had an incredible trip around the harbour and were introduced to not just the birds that call Portsmouth home but also the dedicated work by the RSPB, who with a very small team have to protect the habitats and birds. If you want to keep up to date with the work done by your local RSPB team be sure to follow their blog HERE. A huge thank you to Wez and Dawn for the trip!

Interested in seeing some of these birds yourself? It is actually pretty easy from the shoreline of the city of Portsmouth. We’re working with the RSPB on a series of articles starting tomorrow and we’ll be running a competition too. More details tomorrow.

It’s nice to be nice!

A new reader of Strong Island recently sent us this email. Glad to hear we’re doing things right and feedback of all kinds is always welcome, as is beer. Of course.

“Hi all at Strong Island

I just wanted to email to say as a recent visitor to your site how great it is to see something that celebrates the creative, cultural and positive life of Portsmouth and Southsea (and I don’t even skate or cycle!). ‘Strong Island’ sums up the spirit of this place so well. Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing the site go from strength to strength and maybe impacting on some of the decision making that goes on.”

Best wishes



Meg and Lynda hug it out with the help of Andy.

Last Day of the Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester

The Creating Balance Project exhibition’s current residency at the Pitfield Pop-Up in Winchester ends today with the exhibition receiving some really great comments and coverage on websites, etc. Below are some photos by our own Claire Sambrook from a recent visit when many of the project’s artist/designer/photographer participants went up for a look. See more of Claire’s Creating Balance Project photos over on here Flickr.

The Creating Balance Project exhibition will return home to Portsmouth on the 10th of January 2014 for an extended exhibition at Aspex Gallery in Gunwharf, with an opening party and a series of other events and activities to be announced very soon. Ourselves and Anglepoise® are all really looking forward to showing the project to everyone in Portsmouth very soon!

To find out more about the project and exhibition please visit:

Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester (1)

Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester (2)

Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester (3)

Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester (4)

Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester (5)

Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester (6)

Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester (7)

Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester (8)

It’s going to be a Strong Movember – Closed at £725

Righto chaps, it’s time to clean shave your boat race and get that mighty moustache on the grow in support of Movember for The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. For 30 days of November you can help support and raise awareness through selflessly parading your top lip for charity.

You can sign up yourself, as I’m sure many of you already have, or you can join the Strong Island team and seek out sponsorship as a team. Through the Strong Island Movember page you can ask people to join the group, make donations, upload photos and post updates via the MoSpace page, Facebook and Twitter.

Head over to if you would like to get involved and grow a Strong Moustache to help raise awareness, or simply head over to and sign up to personally raise money.

The funds raised in the UK support the number one and two male specific cancers – prostate and testicular cancer. The funds raised are directed to programmes run directly by Movember and our men’s health partners, The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. Together, these channels work together to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programmes in line with our strategic goals in the areas of awareness and education, survivorship and research.

Poster: Tristan Savage

Created Local – John Illsley

We got sent a link to John Illsley’s website recently, loads of amazing photos including many from all over Southsea and Portsmouth, be sure to check it out. Here are a few examples:

John Illsley

John Illsley

Snow, Snow, Snow

Snow hit Southsea pretty hard last night and it snowing again this morning. Good luck to everyone battling the elements to get to work, college, school, etc today. Here are a few photos from last night, if you have any please pop a link to them in the comments, we would love to see them.

Adam Wintle (see more here):

Adam Wintle

Adam Wintle

Elizabeth Bick (see more here):

Elizabeth Bick

Elizabeth Bick

Local Photographer – Eamon Lane

A recent arrival to Portsmouth, Eamon Lane has been out and about the city recently shooting photos on the street and at local events such as Love Your Bike. Below are a few examples of Eamon’s photography, visit I Love Slugs to see more.

Strong Island Clothing Co.