August 22nd, 2018
We get to grips with one of the latest outdoor trends and finds that there’s more to exploring the Snowdonia coastline than a walk on the beach.
“We’re doing what?”
“What on earth is that????”
Hmmmm, that’s the million dollar question! But coasteering is the latest craze to hit the Snowdonia coastline, and it is basically the sport of climbing, scrambling, swimming, jumping and exploring the coastline. And most coasteering guides offer full days or half days so you can choose the length of adventure that suits you. And a good guide will also be able to tailor the coasteering day to suit individual experience and fitness. At its simplest form, it involves scrambling and walking along the bottom of sea cliffs to explore rockpools and coves. For adventurers wanting a tougher challenge, coasteering can encompass cliff jumping and sea swimming – although whilst a good guide should help encourage you out of your comfort zone, they should never force you to attempt anything you’re not happy with. Most coasteering routes will have a variety of different challenges so that there’s something for all abilities in the group.
Snowdonia and Anglesey is one of the hotspots of coasteering in the UK so it’s a popular activity here, and it’s easy to see why. The coastline is beautiful and stretches for over 100 miles around the island. But, unlike the ancient rocks, crevices, coves and caves that we were about to explore, coasteering as a sport is a relatively new phenomena. Of course, jumping off rocks and exploring caves are things that have been done for hundreds of years but its thought that the term “coasteering” was first coined in 1973, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that the sport began to emerge as a guided recreational activity.
And today, guides all over the country are qualified to take groups out to explore the coastline from a different angle than the usual coastal walks or boat trips. Coasteering is about being part of the coastline and discovering it with all senses – rather than just seeing it from a distance. And yes, it does hark back to memories of being a child on the beach, itching to explore the craggy rocks and pools and always swim that little bit further. Perhaps this is part of coasteering’s appeal – it’s a way of safely doing all those things you weren’t allowed to do as a child.
Of course, as with all outdoor activities there are always risks with coasteering – you are exploring a unique and challenging environment and the sea can be unpredictable at times. However, the key to a happy coasteering experience is to find a guide or instructor that you can place your full trust in. Ask for recommendations if you know anyone who’s been before, and check out the company’s qualifications and license. They should ideally be signed up to the National Coasteering Charter or the AALA (Adventure Activities Licensing Authority), or both. They should be really knowledgeable about the local area, especially the part of the coast they are taking you to and they should also kit you out in good quality safety equipment. Don’t forget to talk to the instructor if you have any concerns, and let them know about your abilities and experiences. Most guides will take out complete beginners, so long as you can swim fairly competently.
And one of the best things about coasteering is that it’s suitable for the whole family. Children will get a big kick from the physical challenges, as well as the mental ones, and what’s not to love about splashing about in the sea all afternoon? Happy coasteering…..
Coasteering guides in Snowdonia include…….