Loren Christie goes coasteering on his U.K. adventure
Published Thursday, May 10, 2012 10:04AM EDT
Ever heard of coasteering? I hadn't either until a recent trip to Pembrokeshire on the Welsh Coast. It's an adrenaline pumping combination of scrambling, climbing, traversing, cliff jumping and swimming that was first developed in the region 25 years ago.
Initially I thought I may have bitten off a little more than I could chew when I asked my guide Rob why I had no gloves as part of my wetsuit. His response: "The neoprene might rip on the sharp rocks, we prefer you use your hands as skin does grows back."
I must admit that comment coupled with the anxiety of taking my first leap into the cold Atlantic made the first few minutes of my adventure a little unnerving.
However, after the first couple of plunges, swirling around in the whirlpools under towering cliffs and the first rate instruction from the gang at TYF Adventure I was fully bought in. What a rush! I would highly recommend giving it a try.
Anyone can go coasteering as long as you are in somewhat reasonable physical condition. If you are wary, there are other ways to explore the coast from surfing to kayaking. TYF is located in the historic town of St. David's in Pembrokeshire, a stunningly beautiful coastal region of South Western Wales. www.tyf.com. If you do go, the Warpool Court Hotel is a charming Welsh Inn with a collection of hand painted tiles adorning the common area walls.
If you want to combine your taste for adventure with Olympic spirit, head to Weymouth in England. Site of the Olympic sailing races, visitors can sail or take sailing lessons before and after the Games. www.wpnsa.org.uk. Other Olympic venues will also available for public use including the Lee Valley White Water Canoe Centre.
If soft adventure is more your style, you can now hike the entire circumference of Wales. The Wales Coast path just officially opened and is an incredibly scenic trail that takes you the entire length of the Welsh Coast and then joins up with the Offa Dyke Path that runs north south along the English border.
Check out Scotland's Great Trails, a network of long distance routes across the country that are accessible and easily marked. For dramatic mountain and loch scenery, check the Great Glen Way, Southern Upland Way or the Three Lochs Way.
And if you prefer soft adventure that includes beverages, check out England's Lake District. This beautiful corner of England has a brand new series of "real ale trails" plotted through some of the area's most spectacular valleys. Think amazing scenery, peaceful fell tops, cozy hotels and inns, and real ales from Jennings Brewery. The new trails are a continuation of the series originally produced in 2010 but for the first time the walks have been specifically linked with pubs.