Coasteering is an adventurous sport pioneered in Pembrokeshire where it has become a popular activity enjoyed by tourists and locals alike.
It was introduced to Pembrokeshire 25 years ago by TYF (Twr-y-Felin) Adventure Centre, based in an old Windmill at St Davids. The acronym TYF stems from the Welsh name for Mill Tower. TYF don’t claim to have invented coasteering but it is their proud boast that that they did pioneer it in this country, and it has since spread thoughout the world.
Their description of the sport is appropriate. They say that coasteering consists of everything you were told as a child not to do, such as swimming in rough water, jumping off rocks and climbing cliffs. But the oft-repeated advice given when risky activities are being demonstrated - “Don’t try this at home,” - can be varied to “Don’t try this alone,” for the sport, which is the marine version of orienteering, is safe when supervised by trained and experienced experts, yet still challenging, exciting and an adrenalin rush.
Whitesands Bay, St Davids, is the coastal HQ of TYF and it was from this popular surfing beach that coasteering was developed.
The Pembrokeshire coast provides the perfect playground for the sport, which enables participants to explore every creek, cove, cave, cliff, rock and beach along a chosen route, seeing and enjoying the coast and its wildlife from an entirely different perspective. It gives coasteerers a seal’s-eye view of inaccessible places which hitherto have ony been seen from boats, and then often at great risk of capsize or stranding unless the boatman is highly skilled.
TYF adventure sessions begin at 9am and 1.30pm and last approximately three-and-a-half hours. After an introductory briefing the participant changes into a hooded wetsuit, trainers buoyancy aid, helmet, gloves and other safety equipment before taking a short minibus ride to the chosen venue.A £59 voucher lasts 10 months and, if the weather conditions are unfavourable, it is possible to choose an alternative activity or re-book another date.
No experience is required to start learning and the minimum age is eight, provided the child is a competent swimmer.Participants are grouped with people of their own age and ability, unless they request otherwise.Groups are restricted in size to 10 participants and spectators are welcome to watch although there is restricted viewing by the very nature of the terrain.
TYF Adventure can be contacted at 1, High Street, St Davids on 01437-721611 and the office is open between 9am and 6pm, and the coasteering contact is Julia Bradbury.
Other providers are also available in Pembrokeshire and elsewhere and their leaflets and flyers can be picked up at all Information Centres and most libraries and in many community halls, shops, and supermarkets. Adventures Wales is another one point of contact on email@example.com or 02920-291685, as is the National Coasteering Charter whose Regional representatve is Chris Jex on firstname.lastname@example.org.