Britain gets slightly bigger as two blokes lay claim to tiny new island
A new half-acre landmass has formed in the Solent and has been “claimed” by two sailors who got on it first.
Setting off from the Royal Lymington Yacht Club at 6am, Chris Fox and Nick Ryle made landfall on the 330ft by 65ft shingle bank off the south coast.
They named the isle Lentune Island – the original name for Lymington centuries ago – and planted the flag of their yacht club on it.
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It is the product of a gradual build up over the last few months and is fully visible at low tide.
The formation of the isle is believed to have come from work being done to protect nearby Hurst Castle from ocean erosion.
One of the walls of the castle collapsed in 2021.
The operation has seen bolstering efforts made to Hurst spit in the form of the sea floor being dug up and deposited.
The new bank has formed as a result of the changes in tidal current from the work as shingle has moved around, eventually leaving the newly deposited island.
Mr Fox said: “We had been monitoring the island for a while. It started as a strange lump in the sea and just kept growing.
“Nick had the idea that we should head out there and try to see exactly how big it had become.”
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The man, in his 50s, added: “We were very careful, we sailed over in a small fishing boat with life jackets on and took every precaution.
“We were surprised by how big it was in the end, about 100 metres long and 20 metres wide.
“We took a flag for a bit of fun but in all seriousness, I think it is dangerous for any visiting sailors who don't know the area very well.”
Chris continued: “We're trying to spread the word with the RNLI that this is a new hazard which could prove disastrous for someone unaware of it.
“Everyone has been talking about it and we're not really sure why it has emerged or what could be causing it.
“We have decided to call it Lentune Island after the ancient name for Lymington in the Domesday Book.”
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The manager of Lymington Lifeboat Station, Alistair Mackay, said: “We are trying to raise awareness of this new danger for sailors.
“We know that the local sailing clubs are aware of the problem but we worry about visiting sailors.
“It definitely will be a problem, in storm conditions being grounded on the shingle would be disastrous.
“You wouldn't be able to swim to shore and the rocks and waves battering the boat would cause real damage.”
It is thought some 7,500 tonnes of shingle was added to Hurst spit as part of the erosion project following the wall damage in 2021.
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