Surfers in Pembrokeshire came up with coasteering as they scrambled around cliffs in the early 1980s. It's come a long way since then and today coasteering is an adventure for families as much as adrenaline-junkies.
What is coasteering?
Probably the best liquid refreshment in the world. Or extreme rockpooling. Or an aquatic nature-trail. In a nutshell it is an all-in-one experience that treats the foreshore as an eco-adventure playground. It’s about rock-hopping, shore-scrambling, swell-riding, cave-exploring and, yes, cliff-jumping. But it’s as much about discovering our wildlife and coastline at close-quarters; an intimacy that walkers never experience.
Is it dangerous?
Would be if you went alone. That’s where accredited operators come in. Not only do their guides teach the techniques to go coasteering safely, they have explored their coasts at all tides, which not only keeps you safe it guarantees the most thrilling wave surges, the most interesting caves and stacks, the most fascinating wildlife. In short, the most fun. Guides also know to avoid coastlines when seabirds and seals breed.
Who can do it?
Are you aged eight or over? Can you swim doggypaddle? Then you can take the plunge. Although it helps to be confident in the water, you’ll have a wetsuit and a buoyancy aid for warmth and flotation and you’ll wear a safety helmet. Most operators run short family adventures as well as full-day adventures for older teenagers and adults.
Do I have to jump off a cliff? I’m scared of heights!
Don’t worry – guides put no pressure on you to jump. Friends and family might, though, and you might surprise yourself if you don’t look down.
Is it healthy?
Only the ultimate all-round fitness activity to build strength and co-ordination, and burn calories. Who needs the gym?
A thrill a minute?
Changing tides, waves and wildlife make every coasteering trip unique. One minute you might be swimming lazily past the scenery, the next you could be rinsed in Neptune’s own washing machine. You might see peregrine falcons and swim with a seal. Over an average two-hour session you’ll probably scramble over rocks, swim into canyons, explore caves, bodysurf the breakers, peer into rockpools, learn about geology and leap off a cliff.
I’m sold. What do I need?
Along with a sense of adventure the crucial kit includes; a swimsuit to go under your wetsuit, a pair of old trainers to protect your feet and grip the rocks, a bouyancy aid and a helmet.
We always recommend you go with a trained guide that can supply all the right equipment and be well experience in terms of the local coastline, the weather and tide times.