Suited and booted for Bardsey

Despite an early dose of the usual springtime delusions involving shorty cags and sunshine brought on by an optimistic forecast for the Lleyn Peninsula and Bardsey Island, there was a notable absence of debate about the dress code before setting off from Aberdaron. A bitter breeze from the east saw everyone suitably dry-suited and booted on the beach, keen to get moving in the chill air.
In fact the sun did make an all-too-brief appearance as we crossed the sound, rising on gentle swells running across the tide.
Beneath the cliffs of Mynydd Enlli on the eastern side of this enigmatic island, we paddled close in, using the eddies to work our way south.
In places the race was unavoidable, playful waves making for a sporting passage towards the calm of Henllwyn and its sheltered landing.
Here the usual suspects were gathered among the kelp beds, watching our departure lazily as we moved out of the bay to round Pen Diban. It is a name I doubt I will forget, my first experience of this headland involving a 2m swell which, on colliding with the not insignificant tidal flows, led to one of those character building moments that remains clear in the mind's eye for many years.
Turning the north-eastern corner of Bardsey, before heading directly to Pen y cil - the four km crossing took around 45 minutes - a brisk headwind and surprisingly little tidal assistance slowed our passage before turning into the broad reach of Aberdaron Bay.
A clear cold night left the tents wet, though the high level cloud formed again soon after dawn resulting in some desperate measures to get the tents dry...
...before heading back to the beach to check out the surf - another optimistic forecast had called for 3ft at 14 seconds - and sunshine. Of the latter there had so far been precious little, but it seemed worthwhile checking out the former.