I never thought I would say this, but my absolute favourite thing we did on our recent visit to the Swansea Bay area in Wales, was the one activity the scared the living daylights out of me! Ladies & gentlemen, let me introduce you to… Coasteering.
If you have never heard of coasteering, it is essentially the act of climbing, jumping, swimming and exploring, on an adrenaline-filled adventure through some of the worlds most spectacular coastlines.
The guys at Gower Activity Centres describe it like this, “With hidden caves and secret steps an adrenaline fuelled Coasteering journey has never been so interesting. Swimming, scrambling and jumping your way through our breathtaking scenery is a must for any adventurous Gower visitor. This is an activity you won’t forget at a venue you won’t believe.” – And they hit the nail on the head!
Now that you’ve got that vision in your mind, picture yourself doing it along the famous Rhossili Bay, which has been voted Wales’ Best Beach 2018, it came 3rd in the UK in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards AND it has it has been in the top 10 for the last 6 years! There really is no better place to give coasteering a try for yourself!
Now without trying to hype it up too much, I would go as far as to say that this experience changed my life… Yeah, I wasn’t expecting that either!
Lets start things off with a couple of key points so you know what you’re in for:
What do you need to bring?
Firstly, I would highly recommend you pack some nice warm clothes to wrap yourself up in afterwards. The warmer the better!
You will also need a pair of old trainers to wear during the activity (so make sure you’re happy for them to get wet), as well as swimwear, a towel, a drink (it’s tough work out there on the water) and a packed lunch if you plan on enjoying the surroundings after your coasteering adventure.
Don’t worry about the wetsuits or protective gear, Gower Activity Centres kindly provide them for you when you get there.
Can I do it?
As someone who never imagined herself jumping off cliffs, I can safely say that you can do this! Coasteering is suitable for most people and can be adapted for all abilities, so you have nothing to worry about.
The team at Gower Activity Centres provide flotation devices to make paddling and swimming a dream, and their modern wetsuits utilise the best materials to keep you in the water for longer.
These guys are experts and if you need a little bit of a pep talk, you’re in luck! I can only describe our coasteering instructor Stuart as the guardian angel I never knew I needed! I’ve never met a more kind and patient guide in all my years of travel.
Let’s go through it start to finish!
It all started off with a wave and a very smiley face shouting over at us in the Rhossili Beach car park (this will most likely be your meeting point when you visit too). Keen to get into the water as quick as possible, we got kitted out with wetsuits and safety gear as Stuart filled us in on all the safety information for our coasteering adventure.
It takes roughly 20-25 minutes to walk from the car park, along the cliff and down to your first stop of the day, so be prepared for the sexy wetsuit walk ;-)
Once you’ve made it to the end of the pathway, it’s time to start the descent down to sea level, climbing over rocks, and tip toeing around the cliffs edge. This is where things start to get really interesting.
Stuart always recommends coming right down to the sea and simply stepping in at your own pace to start things off. This gives your body time to adjust to the water and for those of you who are feeling a little nervous (like I was!), it also helps to relax your body and gives you a little feeling of security before you decide to go for the bigger jumps.
Once you’ve mastered the waves and figured out how to paddle back to the shore, it’s time to take it to the next level. From our experience, it seems as though you can go as fast or slow as you like. There are endless coastal points to climb and jump from, so it is all about finding the right ones for you. Arua was happy to try the more extreme routes, while I sat back and enjoyed the view, and Stuart always knew the best places for us to jump together.
I could try to pretend that I was a natural at this whole thing, but i’ll be honest with you, at this point I was well and truly freaking the hell out! As someone who has suffered from a fear of heights ever since my skiing accident, I had little to no faith in myself as I stood at the edge of the rocks, looking down at the waves below. I honestly would have walked away and never jumped in if it wasn’t for our instructor Stuart. He is probably the number one reason why I enjoyed this whole experience as much as I did.
Sometimes, fear can take over us and unfortunately, it often has the ability to control us and stop us right in our tracks. Fear wants to keep us locked up in our comfort zones. But… it’s moments like this, when the adrenaline is pumping through our veins, that we can choose to take the power back. When you do, you open yourself up to having some of the most adventurous and life changing moments you will ever have.
Without meaning to sound overly cheesy… that coasteering adventure changed the way I see myself and my relationship to fear. It made me realise that I am the one in control and I am the one that gets to make the decisions around here. Funny how a few hours out on the water with the right people rooting for you, can completely change your perspective on life.
Do I recommend it? I think that’s pretty obvious by now ;-)
Check out the guys on Instagram and find out more about their fantastic selection of activities over on their site. If you are looking for a complete Swansea Bay area itinerary, look no further!
*Huge thanks to guys at Gower Activity Centres & Visit Swansea Bay for inviting me to come and experience everything that Rhossili has to offer!