Coasteering on Anglesey

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Article Printed In Daily Post Wales 7/10/13
Rob Murray of Outdoor Adventure Wales takes a group Coasteering around Anglesey’s stunning coastline, an adventure playground millions of years in the making.

One of the best things about adventure activities in North Wales is that not only is there so much to do, so much is available in such a relatively short distance. The last article I wrote on adventure activities was set deep underground exploring a mine near Blaenau Ffestiniog, an hours drive later you can be in bright sunlight on the stunning Precambrian coast of Holy Island. To my mind on the right day the setting on Anglesey’s coastline can compete with any in the world. The angles and swirls of the volcanic rock giving a dramatic and very atmospheric backdrop for the adventures to come.

Holy Island is an historic place. It is said that this is where Roman General Suetonius Paullinus caught up with the druids in AD60 and the sands ran red. Porth Daffach where we are headed for a Coasteering session has certainly had some drama over the years and the many shipwrecks laying off the coast, testament to the smuggling that went on here. Alcohol and tobacco then later guns and explosives. It certainly is a popular destination for divers. On a calm summers day the waters are very still and clear, almost turquoise. You can see fish swimming and you may be lucky enough to see a seal or two and if extremely lucky maybe one of the basking sharks that have been spotted recently.

Coasteering or Sea traversing has been becoming very popular over the last few years and the route we are using today is getting to be a very popular destination for thrill seekers. With good reason! It has enough excitement to test the hardened adventurer along with easy routes to bypass anything you find a bit too exciting!

As an outdoor instructor with Outdoor Adventure Wales I find it extremely rewarding to be able to help people overcome their fears and accomplish what may be a huge personal challenge. There is a huge sense of achievement for people to get through something that is out of their comfort zone.

So what is Coasteering?. Well basically we are following the coastline making use of the natural features for climbing, scrambling, swimming and having a lot of fun on the way. Oh and of course there are jumps, lots of jumps! It is worth saying that I don’t recommend anybody going Coasteering without an instructor that knows the routes. There are many accidents each year with people jumping in the wrong place or being caught out by tides. This is where the term Tombstoning has sprung from.

Today’s group are a good mix of abilities, Mark, from Essex has booked this session as a 50th birthday present for his wife Jane. Some of the group are outdoor enthusiasts, Jason Helen and Paul are regular skiers, scramblers and mountain bikers, whilst it is a new experience for Mark, Jane and Emma. Conditions today are perfect with glorious warm sunshine and a little bit of swell coming in and all the jumps in condition with the tide. After a safety brief we are off, and after a bit of scrambling its time to get wet. The water at this time of year is nice and warm as it has been warming all summer and after the first submersion we hardly notice the temperature for the rest of the session. First we look at shallow water entry and everyone is soon swimming into a huge natural cave with swirling volcanic rock above their heads. Our first jump of the day is a small one maybe two feet into a pool and this shows early on who is out of their comfort zone. Emma finds it difficult to make that first jump but after a bit of gentle persuasion she does and we carry on round the coast. On this trip it is a great feature that the jumps build slowly from a couple of feet right up to a monster 40 footer which is enough to test anybody. About 4 in 10 people make this jump but it really doesn’t matter if you don’t do it, there are ways around all of the jumps and there are plenty of smaller jumps if you don’t fancy the big ones. If you want to see some of the jumps have a look at this YouTube video

Mark, who has organised the trip say he wishes he has done this before and its one of the best experiences he has had. I must admit I have been running Coasteering trips for around 15 years, firstly in Pembrokeshire and for the last 8 or so years in North Wales and it is something I never get tired of, each trip is different and always enjoyable.

We work our way round the inspiring coastline and the members of the group who are used to the outdoor experience are right in their element, attacking each challenge with enthusiasm. What is more enjoyable for me though is watching the confidence grow of the rest of the group. Towards the end of the course Emma and Jane manage a good 25 ft jump and are justifiably pleased with themselves. We come to the hardest climb of the session a 12 ft overhanging boulder problem which requires a good bit of strength, technique and agility, two of the group mange it and the rest fall back into the sea. Personally I think the fall back into the sea is a lot more fun (that’s my excuse anyway!).

Finally we arrive at the big jump, 40 odd foot into the sea which I think from sea level doesn’t look to high. It Looks a lot different when your up there! Emma, Jane and Mark have decided to sit this one out. They have done really well and completed all of the course and as I always say the object of the session is to challenge yourself and have a great time doing it so there is no need to terrify yourself. After a quick refresher of correct technique and a demo, Helen, Jason and Paul are up and as I mentioned at the start its enough to challenge even the hardened thrill seeker. However after a moments contemplation they all manage the jump, hitting the water perfectly and punching the air with excitement as they surface to huge cheers from the rest of us.

As we walk back to the car park the group is still buzzing and extremely happy with their achievements. Jane says it was the most amazing 50th birthday present she could have got. Hopefully she and the rest of the group will carry on experiencing the amazing adventure North Wales has to offer as it really is one of the great adventure destinations on the planet.

The trip around Anglesey’s coastline took us around 2 ½ hours and this is about an average time. Outdoor Adventure Wales run Coasteering sessions from April to the end of October depending on conditions. For more information or to book a trip visit

Place Categories: Coasteering Courses and Things To Do.

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