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Experience | Coasteering

Many people have, over the years, experienced coasteering without even realising it! The process of travelling from one point along the coastline to another, whether it’s between two beaches or coves, or from a rocky outcrop or harbour, simply by scrambling across the rocks or jumping into the sea beneath and swimming.

Young people in Devon have been enjoying and experiencing their adventurous-side by taking part in such activities before coasteering became such a recognised outdoor pursuit or, simply because they have been cut-off by the tide and needed to find a way home!

It was 1973 when John Cleare and Robin Collomb wrote in their book Sea Cliff Climbing, "A few enthusiasts believe that coasteering will become popular and has a big future" but it wasn’t until the 1990s that the sport became recognised as a recreational activity.

As the adrenaline sport has grown, instructors and guides are available to ensure you take the safest route, supply equipment and maintain the element of fun whilst testing your endurance, based on your level of fitness.

The important thing is that no watercraft are used and no ropes are utilised for climbing. Security to high climbing is given by ensuring this is only attempted when above deep water.

It is vital that you are a good swimmer, as currents around the North and South Devon coastline are notoriously strong and recognise the signs of a rip-current - listen to the advice of your guide at all times. As you will be traversing rocks by climbing and scrambling, some degree of upper body strength is required and dexterity for maintaining grip.

You should be suitably dressed and equipped - a wetsuit, buoyancy-aid and helmet. Gloves are also useful to prevent abrasions from sharp rocks. Footwear is usually lightweight trainers, to provide traction on slippery surfaces and to protect your feet from injury.

Coasteering carries the obvious safety risks associated with swimming in the sea and free climbing (without ropes). However, it is an incredible way to experience the rugged Devon coastline, providing the opportunity for spotting marine wildlife and being part of a team.

Ensure you respect the sea and the environment. It is not recommended to try coasteering alone - always go with someone or as part of a group and preferably with a suitably experienced and qualified instructor.

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