Recently, myself and 7 others went coasteering off Anglesey, North Wales.
If you haven’t come across coasteering, imagine yourself in a wetsuit, trainers, buoyancy aid and helmet clambering over wet rocks and leaping off them into a torrid sea. Sounds like fun? It most certainly was.
But it was also a real challenge. A terrifyingly wonderful challenge.
The wetsuit itself was the first challenge. Firstly getting into it and then realising that you look like a string of badly tied sausages in it (or is that just me)?!
Then actually realising that you have no real idea what you have let yourself in for. You could coasteer every day and every time would be different. You could train your strength and flexibility for the event but the sea will always be different, the tides and current different, the weather different. It will never be the same.
We were very fortunate. The weather was amazing but as we had chosen to go on the Autumn Equinox, the tide was up and the water choppy. Our guide Rob, was brilliant and very aware of what was, and wasn’t, a good idea. Coasteering is not something to be done without a guide who knows the coast like the back of their hand.
When I muted the idea at the studio, I was genuinely surprised at how quickly so many people said no. Not, ‘Ooh, I’ll check my diary and let you know’, but an immediate, flat out ‘No!’. And often accompanied by ‘Are you mad?’
But off we went. And what a great day we had, It was hard work – really hard work. Just swimming around the coast in a bouyancy aid is exhausting. Add to that the hauling yourself out of the sea onto rocks to climb to the next point from which to fling yourself off again. Exhausting. But no-one didn’t get involved. Some of us opted out of some of the bigger jumps – I knew that the 45ft jump was never on the cards. My knee injury wouldn’t have made the climb and if I had got to the platform, would I have jumped? Not on your nelly. And then I would have had to climb back down. Even worse than the climb up!! But huge well done to the guys that did. It was brilliant.
By the end of the day, we were tired, bruised, scraped, bumped but high on adrenalin. We had laughed and supported each other every step of the way and once we were finished, we just didn’t want the day to end. What a tight knit little group we had become.
So we went for afternoon tea! And we relived our day and gelled further. There were people in our little group that had never met each other before, but anyone looking in wouldn’t have known that. We were a proper team. And it was wonderful.
You need to do something occasionally that scares the pants off you. But if you do, do it with a group of people that you would trust in Hell and high water.
(Special mention needs to go to Cathy, who didn’t coasteer, but risked certain death several times by hanging off cliff edges in order to get some fabulous photos.)