The scenery is superb, the wildlife is wonderful and an indented coastline allows as much shelter as you want from Atlantic waves – or as little.
Jon Haylock, of TYF Adventure and Coasteering in St Davids, Pembrokeshire, explains why coasteering in the land of its birth remains the ultimate aquatic adventure.
It's an incredible way to journey along the coast
There’s something very special about coasteering in Wales. The reason it began here is because of the coastline. On a gently sloping coast, coasteering almost feels pointless – you could get out at any time – but in Wales, you’re committed. You’re beneath these steep imposing cliffs and you’ve got the waves battering in from the Atlantic. It feels like a challenge not just bimbling along a beach.
Because essentially coasteering is an incredible way to journey along the coast. That’s how I see it. Some people get fixated with jumping off cliffs, probably because of the publicity photos. If you want the adrenaline fix of throwing yourself off a 7m cliff it’s there to be had, sure.
Jon Haylock, Adventure Guide
Coasteering is about the journey and exploring the wonderful Welsh coastline."
Coasteering is about the journey and exploring the wonderful Welsh coastline. You’re right down at sea level, in that impact zone where the waves are crashing, and you’re climbing and scrambling and jumping when you can’t scramble anymore and adventure swimming in the rough water.
Us guides love a day when it’s really rough and on those we might not do a single big jump. What grabs you is the power of the ocean; you’re in there being thrown around, using the skills you’ve learned to stay safe. It’s a mind-blowing experience. You get times when you’re pushed down into the green room and spun around before you pop to the surface. Most people come up with a massive smile on their faces – it’s an experience that sticks with you forever.
'Then there are the days when it’s calmer and you’re swimming into beautiful narrow caves to explore the back of them – there’s literally no other way to get into them.
Get closer to nature
Coasteering is also an incredible way to immerse yourself into nature and see all the beautiful biodiversity of the marine life; you get to understand how amazingly diverse the coastline is. And you see the splendour of the coast from a completely different angle. You just don’t see all the little caves, all the intricacies of the coast, from paths. As a guide you get to know sections of coast more than is probably healthy! But that’s what people are buying into when they go with experienced operators.
I can understand why coasteering might sound scary, but the amazing thing about the Welsh coastline is it’s so indented you can tailor coasteering to all levels. You’re in a wetsuit, buoyancy aid and helmet, so you’re warm, comfortable and safe, and it’s so simple that anyone can do it. You don’t even have to be able to swim – we’ve literally taught people how to swim while coasteering. That’s got to be better than a lido!
People are usually amazed at what they can achieve and how little skill they require. So to anyone who’s worried I’d say come and give it a shot – I bet you’ll love it.
Search for coasteering providers across Wales.