Coasteering (or sea level traversing) is a great adventure activity to do whilst on holiday in South Wales. Travel writer Sue Bland stayed in the Swansea Bay area and went coasteering on the Pembrokeshire coast – voted one of the world’s top coastal destinations in a National Geographic poll. These are her recollections of what proved to be a wonderful day:
“I discovered I was no Spiderwoman when I went coasteering, which should be ancient Welsh for cliff-clinging. My cliff-clinging was done off the coast of West Wales, near St Davids. Before I went, I was unsure what the activity was, but by then it was too late – I was hanging on for dear life. The adrenalin-charged activity lasts a couple of hours, but you will remember it forever, and your hands will momentarily clench involuntarily into a claw-shaped grip when you do. Coasteering is a heady mix of free rock climbing and swimming, mixed with jumps and falls into the sea.
The water is the perfect landing mat, far better than another rock, so coasteering is an excellent activity for the novice rock climber. It is rock climbing for the fearful or uninitiated – if anything goes wrong, drop into the watery landing pad beneath you, and have a refreshing dip before clambering back up.
Small instructor-led groups form a disorderly line, scaling along the cliff faces of the coast like massive spiders, with legs akimbo and arms outstretched, all limbs pawing for purchase on the next foot or hand-sized rock hole. There are scheduled jumps and special whirlpools, tidal reaches to jump into and swim in, and a wave pool, this was a gap between two pointy rocks, where you leap in to be flung back and forth with the tide. One other especially memorable one, named the ”˜toilet’ is a handy little pool sandwiched between two slices of rock. So-called for the way the tide roars in suddenly, and flushes out again as quickly. Each person jumps in the pool as the water swirls in, then as the tide rushes forcefully out is unceremoniously popped out onto the rock floor, skating along on the back of his lifejacket like an oversize turtle. Great fun!
At the end of the activity there are three impressive leaps of faith into huge expanses of deep water, which fill what was an old quarry, just in from the sea. The largest of the three is XXft high, but with your lifejacket strapped on tightly you pop back up like a cork almost as soon as your head touches the water.
Make sure you are wearing trainers with good grips, especially if you aren’t a climber, with those in-built suction pad feet they appear to have. To my horror, I found my feet were not at all goat-like, but for all the grip they gave were as useless as slippery eels attached to my ankles. My hands were not interested in clinging on, even though it was meant to be, I persuaded them, for dear life, they would keep letting go.
If rocks are your thing and you like the water too, then squeeze into a wetsuit to join the cliff-hugging brigade – and circumnavigate a little bit of Britain’s coast.”
Top Travel Tip: Pembrokeshire is not the only place to go coasteering in South Wales. Adventure sports specialists, Adventure Britain, run this activity in the picturesque Mumbles area of Swansea Bay. Guests at Swansea Valley Holiday Cottages enjoy discounted rates for adventure activities provided by Adventure Britain across South Wales.