Welcome back to the second in our series of ‘Have a go’ Guides. In case you haven’t seen them before, these guides are all about discovering the many fantastic, different ways to enjoy the Great British outdoors.
If you’ve always wanted to ‘have a go’ at a particular activity, or just want try something a bit different, these guides should give you some ideas, help decide if it’s for you and if so, how to get started.
So, for the next in our series, we speak to Libby Chivers from Preseli Venture in Pembrokeshire, to get the lowdown on… coasteering.
So what exactly is coasteering?
People have always frolicked along the coastline and I guess that coasteering has grown from there! In a nutshell – coasteering is an adventure that takes place along dramatic coastlines where the land meets the sea; dressed up in a wetsuit, buoyancy aid, trainers and a helmet (add wetsuit gloves and socks to the mix if you’re of a delicate disposition) you’ll find yourself traversing, swimming into sea caves, scrambling over rocks, and of course jumping from the cliffs!
Well, yes! Jumping is really fun, but not an essential part of a coasteering trip. You can choose which jumps you want to do – we always tell our guests that coasteering is about having fun on the coastline, not about making people cry! Some people love jumping, some just want to do little jumps, and some avoid it altogether – there’s a lot more to coasteering than jumping, and on our sessions we check out all of the flora and fauna, wildlife and geology of the coast as we go along. People get a real kick out of feeling close to nature; floating around in an expanse of sea at the bottom of a cliff, being moved around by the waves, with sea birds and maybe even the occasional Atlantic grey seal – that’s a pretty humbling and inspirational experience.
Is it safe?
Is anything? Coasteering has had some bad press in the last few years, in view of the media preoccupation with ‘tombstoning’. Like any adventure activity, it’s important to seek to manage and minimize the risks. I’d really recommend that you go coasteering with a recognized provider, and make sure that they offer relevant equipment and have experienced and qualified guides. There isn’t a national governing body for coasteering, so you’ll need to choose your coasteering provider carefully. RNLI offered a safety brief for those wishing to coasteer, which is definitely worth a read.
Find a great coasteering provider and get booked on to a session – it’s a simple as that! Most coasteering providers will sort you out with all of the specialist equipment, check which kit you’ll get getting when you make your booking (hint – winter wetsuits are warmest!).
Is it expensive?
Half day sessions coast between £40 and £55 depending on where you coasteer and who you go with. Some coasteering providers can offer a range of venues to suit the tides, weather and abilities and interests of the group, and some will just use one venue, it’s worth asking at the time of booking what is included in the price.
Where are your favourite spots in the UK for coasteering?
Well, we’re on the Pembrokeshire coastline in Britain’s only coastal National Park – so I’d have to say here! We’re in the north Pembrokeshire which is very wild and unspoilt, you can feel that you’re having a true wilderness experience. It’s quiet here, and many times when we’re out coasteering it’ll just be us, the birds and the seals. We also have some beautiful caves to swim into, and tunnels and rock arches to swim through – we’re spoilt! Coasteering grew up on the Pembrokeshire coastline but now it’s offered many places in the UK, including north Wales, Devon and Cornwall.
Coasteering with Preseli Venture.
Have you tried coasteering? Are you intrigued or does it sound like total madness?! Let us know what you think in our comments section.
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