Bardsey Island

My first trip to Bardsey this year, and perfect conditions for a gentle day to perhaps the most enigmatic of the islands lying off the welsh coast. With very little swell and a neap tide as well as bright sun forecast, it looked like being a relaxed day...
...and while the fresh northerly breeze was cold, the prospect of wearing a dry suit was distinctly unappealing. Shorty cags then - another first for the year.
In the lee of Porth y Pistill, looking across the tranquil bay towards the Gwylans. I suspected things would feel rather different once we rounded Pen y Cil where we would lose the shelter of the cliffs...
...though the lack of swell meant the overfalls where small. Still, we enjoyed a few surfs on waves of around 2ft...
...before starting the 4km crossing.
Arriving beneath the cliffs of Bardsey's north shore...
...we tucked in and followed the dramatic coast west...
...before turning to follow the west coast down towards Porth Solfach, enjoying some gentle rock hopping along the way, conditions probably as calm as I have ever seen while out around Bardsey.
Brian heads in to the sandy bay where enjoyed a long lunch, basking above the sands on the short, sheep cropped grass.
The resident grey seals, also enjoying the sun though there were a few noisy disputes over this particular rock.
I watched for some time, before heading back to the boats after a last look at the lighthouse, heading out to round the southern tip of Bardsey, Pen Diban.
A sheltered looking channel - though the swell, which was a little higher here, closed the exit quite dramatically as we watched...
...Brian timing his run with some care.
Another sheltered channel and a young, sleepy seal.
Leaving the livelier waters at the south end of the island behind, we were soon back beneath the rugged northern shore...
...watching the razorbills and guillemots wheeling in their charismatically random fashion. I spotted a lone manx shearwater later on the crossing and remembered their more graceful flight from a wonderful trip around Ardnamurchan Point last June.
Chris passes Carreg Ddu on the crossing...
...and in the last of the tide, the cliffs of Bardsey beyond as we approach Pen y Cil once more, to turn the last corner back to Aberdaron. A wonderful paddle which almost felt like summer...

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