Nothing compares to the calmness of a coastal wintry scene. Shafts of angled sunlight cast a soft golden glow across the beaches and rocks. Once the Autumn gales fade the sea becomes oily smooth, but without the intensity of high summer, these shores are quiet and utterly peaceful.

Photo: Sean Jesson

Leaving Rhoscolyn and heading for South Stack was almost spooky with gentle swell surging amongst the rocks. Penrhyn Mawr broke the silence and North Stack presented its usual set of challenges.

Photo: Sean Jesson

We completed our circumnavigation of Holy Island by taking the ebb out of the Cymyran Strait and cruising past Silver Bay back to Rhoscolyn. It seemed that the oily smooth waters were just as we had left them.

The next day, Sean and I headed off to Church Bay aiming for the Skerries. This is where the contrast between summer and winter would be greatest. During the summer months the skerries is a madhouse. Thousands of sea-birds nest here; mostly terns and puffins.

As we arrived, The Skerries were all but silent. The neap tide meant that even the rushing sound of the sea was muted. We avoided the seals because there were young pups among them. One of two of the bravest came to check on us. The only sea-birds were a handful of cormorants and the occasional rock pipit. The remains of the summer vegetation now dead and broken littered the ground. In winter this is a bleak and desolate place.