A beginner’s guide to coasteering
If you love a dash of adventure with your outdoor pursuits and, more importantly, if you love being by the sea, then coasteering is a hobby that you’re going to love.
Our short guide to coasteering will take you through the stages of how to get started, how to be prepared and the best places to flex your coasteering muscles.
What is coasteering?
Coasteering is a multifaceted activity that includes climbing, hiking, paddling, diving, swimming and walking around coastal areas without the aid of sea or ocean going craft, such as boats or surfboards.
Exploration of the coast has always been popular, but appreciation of our coast at home in the UK has really taken off thanks to programmes such as ‘Coast’ on the BBC and survival programmes like Man vs. Wild or Born Survivor with Bear Grylls.
The exciting thing about coasteering is that it combines so many different skills and techniques, including physical fitness, stamina, strength and survival techniques – it is the perfect activity equally for those wanting to get in shape, those wanting to try something different at the weekends or those adrenalin junkies just looking for the next rush!
What do I need for coasteering?
Coasteering requires some basic kit to make sure you’re safe and comfortable. First and foremost it is important to remember that coasteering is, as the name suggests, a water-based activity and you are guaranteed to get wet. Make sure you are wearing a wetsuit; this is an absolute must for staying (a little bit) warmer, and will provide an important extra barrier layer between your body and the often rocky surfaces you will encounter.
For the same reason good footwear is also important; an old pair of running shoes or trainers are often the best bet for this kind of activity, as you will want a decent grip on the rocks when you’re climbing.
If you are planning to go coasteering in a new location it is also essential you do your research, so check online to see if anyone has posted advice or warnings for the area. It is also vital to check tides and weather. If you are travelling in an unorganised group it is also really important to make sure one of your party brings a mobile phone and you let other people know where you will be, just in case of any emergencies. The coast can be a very changeable environment and it is important to respect it.
Where to go
There are so many different spots to go for coasteering, both for the beginner and the professional. Wales is a popular spot, with unspoiled beaches and miles and miles of rugged coastline. Head to Angelsey or the West coast for the best choice of organised trips, clubs and groups.
In the UK it is unsurprising that the South coast is the go-to destination for coasteering, not least for the more temperate weather. Devon and Cornwall boast numerous locations perfect for all levels of coasteering, and you will find many well-travelled routes online along with advice and tips from organisations and individuals.
The coast around the North West is regarded as an ideal location for coasteering with the coast around Cheshire particularly known for the quality of its cliff dives and jumps. If the water is particularly chilly or the day a bit brisk, round off your coasteering adventure with some piping hot fish and chips back on land. They will never have tasted better!