Strong Island Co.

Created Local

Created Local – Mica Peet

I think the first time I saw the illustration based prints and jewellery by Mica Peet was at a market a couple of years ago, or more. I really liked the mix of geometry and UK wildlife and bought a print and some other gifts and have been keeping an eye on all the new work on Mica’s Instagram and Etsy. It has been great to see this local university graduate and creative build an awesome design based business in Southsea.

“My design philosophy consists of juxtaposing my love of the beautiful natural world with an edgier, modern and idiosyncratic design aesthetic. My main focus is on how I can be innovative yet commercial with the strong use of my quirky illustrative style and how these translate into print designs to adorn the body and home”. – Mica

Check some of the latest prints and jewellery below and be sure to hit up the MicaPeet Etsy where you can buy these items and support a local creative.

Mica Peet (1)

Mica Peet (2)

Mica Peet (3)

Mica Peet (4)

Created Local: Death Marks

At the turn of this new year a new Southsea based clothing company Death Marks launched with their first drop of garments ranging from beanies through to tees, hoodies and coach jackets. We caught up with owners Sian & Iiona to find out more.

How did Death Marks begin and what are your backgrounds?
Death Marks UK started when Iiona looked through Sian’s sketch book and saw the R.I.P Rabbit design. Sian said how she would love to take her sketches and make a clothing line as it was a dream of hers. Iiona has always had a passion for graphic design and wanted to support her partner Sian and experiment her skills in different medias.

Sian studied graphics design at Portsmouth college and had 2 years experience working for a design agency called Design Image as a website coder.

Iiona had studied graphics from GCSEs to A-level and now works as a multimedia designer creating animations, illustrations and interactive content.

Who creates your artwork and what inspires your designs?
All our designs are created in-house. Sian comes up with the designs and draws them up rough. Then either one of us will digitalise the design and after Iiona goes through each design so that it is perfected and final. Iiona will take the design and create and animation to help tell the story behind it.

We are inspired by the tattoo industry, alternative music scene and other clothing lines such as Drop Dead clothing, Doomsday and Honour Over Glory.

What do you have planned for the label in the coming months?
Over the coming months we have south coast events planned in Portsmouth and Southampton. We have a gig at the Edge of the Wedge in April that we are working with Eyeless Promotions, another independent company who have also just started up this year. In May we have a festival in Southampton called Messtival where we will have a stall, in June we are releasing our summer range. Currently we are organising an event with Southsea Skatepark in the summer with Archie Cole, a world champion scooter rider.

Check the photos below of the current Death Marks range, you can find out more and buy items from the Death Marks website at:

deathmarks.bigcartel.com

Check Death Marks on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram too.

Created Local: Death Marks (1)

Created Local: Death Marks (2)

Created Local: Death Marks (3)

Created Local: Death Marks (4)

Created Local with Aerial Photographer Chris Brunnen

Photographer Chris Brunnen is a local professional photographer who works commercially under CJB Photography and provides a wide range of photography services, including something a little different, Chris specialises in aerial photography. We spoke to Chris to find out more about how he got in to photography and in to this particular specialist field:

Hi Chris, how did you first get interested in photography?
I was introduced to photography when I was about 12 by Neil, my friend and neighbour. He was a few years older than me and was taking lessons at his school when he came home one day with an envelope of black & white prints he’d made and it completely amazed me. I couldn’t comprehend how it was done, I thought the process had to be done in a factory or by a huge company, I had no idea this was something that could be done at home in a darkened room. From that day, I remember the feeling so well, I was hooked, I wanted a camera. I begged my parents but they weren’t about to buy me an expensive piece of kit at that age so they gave me an old Box Brownie. Yes really, that was my first camera! Fortunately Neil’s mum worked in a chemist and knew how to load the camera but he would take the films to school to process them. We would set up scenes in the garden and photograph them, we even re-created the moon landing with Acton Man.

Created Local with Photographer Chris Brunnen (2)

A few years later photography became an option in art lessons at my school and I started using the school’s 35mm cameras and lenses. I learned to process and print them myself and went on to take ‘O’ & ‘A’ Level exams, that introduced me to the practical, theory and history sides of the subject. I also studied art, technical drawing, physics and chemistry, all essential subjects in this field of work.

I went on to study Graphic Design at Art College. I’d originally intended to study Fine Art but I had a falling out with one of the lecturers on the pre-degree course…so I went to Graphics, a department next door to the photographic department where I ended up spending most of my time. The training as a designer I found very useful in photography, composition and layout are similar skills, again very useful background work to becoming a photographer. I find many people get too hung up on the camera, expecting to get great results from buying a big expensive piece of kit, they won’t, any more than buying a Stradivarius will make you a concert violinist. It takes more than that.

What got you in to taking aerial photos?
My first job was at a design & photography firm, I was behind a drawing board one day, behind the camera the next. As that firm grew I found I was spending more time taking photographs than designing and eventually left, with their backing, to set up my own photographic business, CJB Photography, in much bigger premises with a huge studio. Studio work has always been the main stay of my business but aerial photography is my USP.

What was your first experience of taking photos from the air?
A designer client of mine was working for IBM and needed aerial shots of their site at Havant and asked if I could do it…. I said yes. Fortunately they had a significant budget for the job so I hired a helicopter and off I went. While I was up I took a few other shots around Portsmouth and later showed them off to my clients. They met with a great deal of interest and since then, 1987, I’ve been flying virtually every month.

Created Local with Photographer Chris Brunnen (2)
Rare colour aerial photo of Portsdown Park.

Can you describe your go-to camera kit for aerial photography? Any specialist equipment?
With aerial photography it’s all about resolution, the higher the better. Remember the first time you went on Google Earth, I’m betting you went straight to your house and zoomed in as close as you can. Aerial photos are the same and unique in the way they are viewed, make a big print and people just want to get closer, you don’t view portraits or landscapes like that, you’d step back to admire it. With that in mind I use a high res Canon with a wide ranging zoom and image stabiliser, your average DSLR isn’t going to cut it.

Created Local with Photographer Chris Brunnen (3)
Southsea Show from some years ago.

On an aerial shoot are you able to take photos for yourself in the time in the air?
Most of my work is on commission but I do take advantage of my time in the air to build up my Aerial Photo Library, to be found on my web site, where there are now thousands of images for sale.

Any near misses?
The pilots and helicopters I use are all on an Air Operators Certificate for commercial flying and as such subject to strict maintenance schedules and safety regulations so ‘near misses’ don’t happen but I was in a heli with engine failure once, just as we were coming in to land at the airfield so the pilot set it down on the end of the runway, could’ve been worse I guess. Funny thing is, this wasn’t a working flight, I was being taken out to dinner at a hotel by the operator with their other regular clients. All a bit embarrassing for them really.

Created Local with Photographer Chris Brunnen (4)
Close up view of the Spinnaker Tower.

What sort of clients do you work with and where do your photos end up being used/shown?
I’ve been involved with some amazing projects. The construction of McLaren’s HQ at Woking, St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton and recently the Thames Gateway Project. Most other jobs are more mundane but it still gets me up in a helicopter on a regular basis.

Which do you prefer, helicopter or aeroplane?
I don’t use fixed wing, although cheaper, they have wheels and wing struts that obscure the view and are much more unstable. There are some companies that use them but they really are inferior, sorry about the cliché but you get what you pay for.

You can see lots more of Chris’ photography on his website and Facebook page, which he often updates with aerial photos challenging people to guess the location. All photos with this interview are copyright of Chris Brunnen and used with kind permission.

www.cjbphotography.co.uk

Created Local with Photographer Chris Brunnen (5)
North End from the air.

Created Local with Photographer Chris Brunnen (6)
Low tide in Langstone Harbour.

Created Local with Photographer Chris Brunnen (7)
Chris Brunnen.

Created Local with Painter & Artist Chris Webb

Personally, there is something really special about sketching, creating a personal interpretation of a place, a location or even a person through pencil, pen or even on a tablet. The lines flow through a quick look of the eye, straight to the paper, with a real sense of what the artist is perceiving, channelled thought their unique creativity and for many artists done almost instinctually, without being bogged down with second guessing and over thinking. Add to this flourishes of colour with washes of watercolour paint, giving a sense of light and perspective you have an image that captures the location and the moment all through the particular eye of the artist.

The local area has a strong lineage sketch and watercolour artists, over the years including the likes of Gosport’s highly regarded Martin Snape, the very popular nautical scenes of William Edward Atkins and in recent years the striking work of students and locals such as the Portsmouth Scrolls of Arran Mackintosh and the many different sights of Portsmouth captured over recent years by the talented Deane Clark.

Now joining this long and talented list of sketch and watercolour artists is Chris Webb, who’s wide and varied work includes a rather wonderful collection of Portsmouth sketches, awash with colour. I first became aware of Chris’ work very recently with a scene of the old Savoy building on Southsea Seafront but have really enjoyed seeing the previous and new work on Chris’ Urbansketcher Facebook page.

Chris’s work is created either on location or inspired through vintage photographs and Portsmouth itself looks to be a constant inspiration. Many of the original ink and watercolour works are available for sale. Chris updates his Facebook page constantly with works from his sketchbook and much more, be sure to give it a Like, look through the many great pieces of work and get in touch directly if you are interested in buying.

www.facebook.com/urbansketcheruk

Below are a few of my favourite recent works:

Created Local with Painter & Artist Chris Webb (1)

Created Local with Painter & Artist Chris Webb (2)

Created Local with Painter & Artist Chris Webb (3)

Created Local with Painter & Artist Chris Webb (4)

Created Local with Painter & Artist Chris Webb (5)

Created Local with Sam Brandon

Sam Brandon is a 23 year old local illustrator who grew up in Spain and recently last year came to live in the UK, in Southsea, for the first time. Sam currently works as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer with ideas to try to help promote local business, community and culture. Most of Sam’s artwork is completely hand drawn, using a pencil for sketching and then fine line pens or Posca pens for inking and colouring. Serious skills!

You can see some examples of Sam’s work below, including his ‘Keep Southsea Weird’ artwork and you can see more at the following:

Facebook: facebook.com/sam.lewis.brandon
My instagram: @skever
My twitter: @SamuelBrandon

Created Local with Sam Brandon (1)

Created Local with Sam Brandon (3)

Created Local with Sam Brandon (2)

Created Local with Sam Brandon (4)

Created Local with Hoodlum Fang

Chloe Hood is a Portsmouth born and bred punk girl who recently finished her degree at the University of Portsmouth in Fashion and Textiles with first class honours, specialising in digitally printed textiles, jersey garments and pattern cutting. Chloe gets most of her inspiration for her textile design from urban sports especially roller derby, skateboarding and BMX. More than just an inspiration, Chloe is also currently a member of the Portsmouth Roller Wenches Fresh Meat, getting involved with Roller Derby. The Roller Wenches and the friends she has met through them have been a huge support throughout her course, graduation and the launch of Hoodlum Fang.

Chloe creates leggings, skirts, shorts, sports dresses and tees, each piece is handmade with love by Chloe personally in her little studio in her home in Portsmouth. All the companies she works with to create these pieces are UK based too. It is awesome to see someone create a brand that is utilising new technology with digital textile printing and making more than the basic garments like t-shirts.

Hoodlum Fang is currently available through an online shop, but Chloe is on the look out for shops that would like to stock the garments, and also selling at local Roller Derby bouts.

Hoodlum Fang is having a 30% flash sale starting today and going through to Sunday 5pm in celebration of getting to 300 likes on the Hoodlum Fang Facebook page.

To check the full range and buy Hoodlum Fang visit:

hoodlumfang.bigcartel.com/products

Created Local with Hoodlum Fang - Photo by Dominic Smith
(Photo by Dominic Smith)

Created Local with Hoodlum Fang - Photo by Dominic Smith
(Photo by Dominic Smith)

Created Local with Hoodlum Fang - Photo by Dominic Smith
(Photo by Dominic Smith)

Created Local with Hoodlum Fang - Photo by Justyna Kloch (2)
(Photo by Justyna Kloch)

Created Local with Dan Choppen

Dan Choppen is a local photographer and filmmaker from Havant who spends much of his time exploring around Portsmouth with his camera and getting involved up front capturing local bands hard at work too. Below are a few of Dan’s images, be sure to keep an eye on Dan’s blog to see more:

oxfordrobbers.tumblr.com

Created Local with Dan Choppen (1)

Created Local with Dan Choppen (2)

Created Local with Dan Choppen (3)

Created Local with Dan Choppen (4)

Created Local with Dan Pease

Dan Pease is a talented young local designer, illustrator and filmmaker and a final year student at the University of Portsmouth. We asked Dan a few questions about his work:

What brought you to Portsmouth originally?
I never knew much about Portsmouth until I came and actually lived in the city. It was one of my choices for uni as I thought it offered a good course. I had a look around before arriving for my first year and it seemed so alien and scary but after living here nearly 3 years I don’t see it as anything less than home.

How has your work developed in the last 3 years?
I have never had a set way of working, I think that is part of what the course offers, the chance for you to really understand how you work and the style in which you work. I have used a lot more software over the past few years for designing t-shirts and creating logo’s. But I still love going back to paper and just drawing. The resources at Uni are massive, so I have done everything from etching to welding, but right now my style could be rendered to any request.

You have worked closely with clothing brands, who have you worked with and how have you developed your designs to suit their brand identities?
I have done a lot of work with clothing brands. Me and my house mate started out own company which is called Idols and Anchors. We decided to do it last year and it was really fun so a lot of the digital designs that I do are for that. My other house mate recently started a brand called Co-Conspiritors and I did the first design for that which was fun and something new as he wanted it in a completely different style. So naturally I had to change my normal way of working and work to how he wanted the design.

What personal projects have you been working on?
Personal projects are such a big part of 3rd year at Uni. I have been doing live projects, some of these include a mural at the Southsea Coffee Co, an Armed Forces brief portraying being away from home and designing logos for another Uni project. I also enjoy filming in my spare time so I film a few of the locals at Southsea Skatepark and make them edits.

What inspires you locally and further afield?
A lot of artists inspire me but also things that are less obvious like a normal situation but with characters and different mediums. I love watching a really well filmed and edited video, but I also love seeing a really amazing piece of artwork. My Bike has always been something which inspired me and probably led to me having an interest in filming and editing. So the BMX scene in Portsmouth is huge and that gives me a lot of motivation to get out and film but seeing other artists artwork has to be the best for wanting to create. Feeding off all the other practitioners in the world is the best motivation there is.

What do you aim to do once you graduate?
After Graduation is a big question at the moment, my dream would be to work in London and live in Brighton. I just don’t want the last 3 years to go towards nothing and waste what I have learnt and accomplished within them. Possibly working in Portsmouth if the right job came up but to be honest its not something I have given a lot of thought towards at the moment.

Visit Dan’s Facebook Page to see more of his work.

Created Local with Dan Pease (1)

Created Local with Dan Pease (2)

Created Local with Dan Pease (3)

Created Local with Dan Pease (4)

Created Local with Dan Pease (5)

Created Local with Dan Pease (6)

Created Local: Linsey Sinclair

The 10th Hole is a local institution famous for it’s amazing food and in particular…the cakes. In recent weeks though you may have noticed their new t-shirts with an eye-catching piece of design. We spoke with Linsey Sinclair aka Linseymouse about her background and how this design came about.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and Linseymouse?
I first came to Portsmouth for uni and studied video production, but after graduating chose a career in catering and have since managed Rosie’s Vineyard and more recently, The Tenth Hole. After writing countless chalkboards over the years I felt I needed to explore the idea of doing something creative again and so linseymouse was born.

Linseymouse is a relatively new hand-lettering, design and illustration paper goods business based in Southsea. I do a little bit of everything from bespoke gift tags, to on trend greeting cards, wedding stationery, and where it all began, chalkboard writing.

How did the design for the new t-shirt come about?
Since the beginning of the year, The Tenth Hole set out to raise £10’000 for Macmillan cancer support. They’ve offered various fund raising events and staff challenges since January and wanted another way of reaching their target. They came up with the idea of selling a Tenth Hole ‘tee’ and asked me to design an image.

What inspired the new design?
Having worked at the tenth hole and loving it for more than just its cakes! – I wanted to design something that would represent the place in all its glory. I was thinking quirky, coastal and something that would connect with the southsea scene.

Will the tee be available for customers to buy?
Yep absolutely! It’s on sale now at The Tenth Hole. £7 a tee, with all proceeds going to Macmillan cancer support. Only 100 were printed so stock is limited. It’s a get it whilst you can kind of thing at the moment! Hopefully they’ll sell like hotcakes and we can think about continuing the trend!

You can find out more about Linsey’s work on her Twitter (@linseymouse) and on her Facebook page:

www.facebook.com/linseymouse

10th Hole T-Shirt by Linseymouse (1)

10th Hole T-Shirt by Linseymouse (2)

Raw & Auburn at Victorious Festival

Raw & Auburn is a new Southsea based company specialising in hand crafted designs using raw and unique materials. Each item bears it’s own individuality and is different than the last making your purchase all that more special. Using traditional techniques, every product is finished to a high standard and comes with it’s own Mill Cloth bag and they are all finished with the Raw & Auburn signature cross stitch.

If you’re heading down to Victorious Festival this weekend by sure to head over to the Smugglers Market for a browse and check out the amazing products on offer. If you’re looking for something a little different from the norm that’s sure to impress you’re certain to find something that suits over at the Raw & Auburn stall. If you can’t make this weekend you can purchase many of the items over at the Raw & Auburn shop rawandauburn.com.

Raw & Auburn (1)

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Created Local – Victoria Haynes

Friend of Strong Island, Charlie ‘Pet Sounds’ Waddington told me about a very talented work colleague of his the other day and kindly asked if she could send in some examples of her work. Damn straight she can. That’s what we’re all about here, you know that.

I’ll introduce Vicky with the little bio that sent me. “Right, erm. About me, I’m 28, married with a two-year-old little boy, and have lived in Portsmouth all my life. I work three days a week at Paul Smith, where I’m the visual merchandiser and a sales assistant. The rest of the time I spend looking after my son, seeing friends and family, drawing, crocheting, sewing, watching films, listening to music and reading – the dream is to eventually scratch a living from artwork and handmade goods, while living in an old house with the family and a cat or two. I’m socially awkward, and have a knack for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, I’m not very cool and tend to like clothes that everyone else thinks are repulsive – my favourite shop in Portsmouth is Dead Mans Glory, closely followed by any charity shop. I am actually addicted to period dramas, and love anything from the 40’s, 50’s or 60’s.”

Vicky’s print artwork is hand drawn, scanned in to the computer, coloured in Illustrator and usually drawn from a photograph for accuracy. Patterns are then self generated and added after. Inspiration comes from old objects, cameras, typewriters and suchlike – anything from days gone by captures her imagination. Crochet has so far been limited to homewares and childrens hats, but she would love to start making more wearable items to sell.

Undoubtedly a girl of many, many talents, Vicky’s work is eclectic, fun, unique and fantastic. Please add your comments and thoughts at the bottom of the page.

Keep up to date with Vicky over at her Blog www.theowlandtheaccordion.blogspot.com. All the best for the future and I hope you get that old house. Vicky also has prints for sale in the Southsea Gallery on Albert Road. Pop down and grab one.











Portsmouth on Film – Episode 2

A new episode of Jonathan & Matthew Ring’s vintage family footage ‘Portsmouth on Film’ went up this week.

This episode has focuses on Canoe Lake and the Model Village.

Freestylin’

I’m not a BMXer and only cruised on my Raleigh Burner to get to skate spots when I was young, but i’ve always had huge admiration the those guys. They’re freakin’ nuts. I remember Freestylin’ mag when I was younger and would always have a flick through if I could. I loved the whole style thing surrounding BMXing in the 80’s. Mag wheels, crazy colour co-ordinated bikes and big attitude.

Well, you can relive all the that, at least to a visual extent, in the form of the Freestylin’ book. Some of you may have already seen this but may not know you can download the 158 page PDF here.

Go straight to page 106 for an article on Craig Campbell at Southsea Skatepark. Sick.

NatWest Carved Map

The NatWest Bank in Palmerston Road has an amazing carved map of Portsmouth that I must have walked past on loads of occasions and never really stopped to look at. The map has many local landmarks highlighted plus the islands in both Portsmouth and Langstone harbours. Not sure exactly how old it is. Next time you pass by if you have a moment spare stop and have a look.




Hidden Treasures

Steve Bomford gave us the heads up on this wonderful short film made up of old film footage, from the 50s to the 70s, filmed around Portsmouth and Southsea. If you like looking at some vintage Portsmouth and Southsea you will love this (really interesting to see the Guildhall before it was pedestrianised and the buildings were demolished for the council offices).

Vintage Southsea Postcards

You know we love a bit of vintage nostalgia here at Strong Island, and these old postcards of Clarence Pier are no exception. I always pick them up at the Car Boot sale opposite Clarence when I see one. When does the Car Boot start up again? Got to be soon. Answers on a postcard…

h2022

h1924

Transport No. 2: The Hovercraft

Southsea seafront has iconic and familiar structures and views but ever since the mid 60s we also have the familiar sound of the hovercraft engines as it repeatedly arrives and leaves for Ryde. This hovercraft route itself was the first Hovercraft passenger service in the world and Hovertravel Limited, founded in 1965, is the world’s longest established commercial hovercraft operator. The first hovercraft was first developed on the Isle of Wight in 1955 when inventor Sir Christopher Cockerell tested out his idea for a floating/flying craft by putting a cat food tin inside a coffee tin. After fine-tuning his designs, Sir Christopher Cockerell secured funding to build a hovercraft. Saunders Roe, the flying boat firm in Cowes on the Isle of Wight was given the contract. The commercial success of hovercraft was initially huge but subsequently suffered from rapid rises in fuel prices during the late 1960s and 1970s. Since the channel routes abandoned hovercraft the United Kingdom’s only public hovercraft service is now our one operating from Southsea.

In 1972 Hovertravel’s SR-N6 012 overturned off of Southsea with a loss of five lives. This was the world’s first fatal accident involving a commercially operated hovercraft. Apart from this one incident the service has an incredible safety record and is used day in day out to transfer up to 100,000 passengers a year.

The hovercraft is a wonderful and now unique form of local transport and something to celebrate and also to actively enjoy with a trip. Booking and travel information is available at the Hovertravel website.

To discover more about hovercraft we are lucky to have the Hovercraft Museum just down the road in Lee-On-Solent which houses the world’s largest library of documents, publications, film, video, photographs and drawings on hovercraft and a collection of actual hovercraft too including the last two remaining SR.N4 craft, the world’s largest civil hovercraft.

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.


Wez.

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.




Tris.

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.

Irving & Co. Local Brewery

Seeing as Portsmouth has such a rich history for pubs and naval culture I thought i’d bring your attention to something that combines the both.  Irving & Co brewers are situated at Railway Triangle in Farlington and have their doors open for tourists as well as turning out a fine range of real ales to a huge number of pubs in and around the Portsmouth area.

Irving and Co brings the welcome return of brewing to Portsmouth and a brewery to excite the taste buds of drinkers in Hampshire, Sussex and beyond. The company aim is to produce the highest quality traditional cask beers supplying the local market within 45 miles of Portsmouth.

Malcolm Irving ably assisted by Mark Doswell bring together 29 years of combined brewing industry experience to produce beers that they thoroughly enjoy and about which they care passionately. It’s not just a job, it’s definitely not just beer, it is a way of life.

Vintage Portsmouth & Southsea

Awesome vintage photography collection from Pop Olive33 that I found on Flickr a while back. Check out Osborne Road and Guildhall. Epic. Hard to imagine a time when traffic flowed through Guilders, and that was only in 1968 and the shot looking west down Osborne Road is amazing. Trams, horses, grand buildings, a traffic cop, ladies & gents. It’s all going on. To view the full collection head over to Pop Olive’s Flickr photostream HERE and the Portsmouth set HERE.









Strong Island Clothing Co.

Departments