Once in a Blue Moon… it doesn’t happen every day!
It has to be said, Coasteering in the Sun with blue skies is about as good as it gets. Well now we are going to push the boundaries and do something that hasn’t been done before (feel free to correct us if we are wrong).
We are going to take a few very lucky people on a Coasteering Adventure like no other!
We will meet at Ballintoy Harbour at 11.00pm and get kitted up with the usual Coasteering Equipment as well as glow sticks, torches and a huge amount of adventure!
We expect to be out until 2.00am exploring the Coastline under the watchful eye of the moon!
This really will be special and you won’t get another chance to experience Blue Moon Coasteering until 2015!!!
Cost: £75 per person or £60 per person if booking 2 or more people
20% discount for all bookings confirmed before Friday 17th August!
We have said it many times – Coasteering is the fastest growing Adventure Sport in the UK and Ireland. Great news for us – we just love introducing people to what has to be one of the best natural thrills there is. But with an increase in the sport there are consequences:
Thankfully there are a number of brilliant Coasteering providers across the UK and Ireland and many of these companies have been involved in the development of the Coasteering Charter. Although we have not had the opportunity to get involved we are 100% behind this and are pushing to get in introduced to Northern Ireland. We will keep you up to date on this and in the meantime you should have a look at these videos:
We were delighted when Sarah Nelson from OutdoorNI contacted us full of enthusiasm to take her sister Coasteering and blog about the experience. And now you can read about it here…
Having exhausted all the usual birthday ideas for my sister an afternoon spent clambering over the rocks of the North Coast and jumping into the sea seemed like the perfect gift. Not only did it mean there was no need to attempt to wrap anything, it also gave me an excuse to free load on the birthday bandwagon.
Realising we wouldn’t be able to go until October, I was pleasantly surprised to find that coasteering is offered all year round, a quick email to CoasteeringNI and we were good to go. The meeting place of Ballintoy harbour was a treat in itself with spectacular views and a beautiful sandy beach making this whole jumping into the sea thing seem surprisingly very appealing. We met Stephen, our instructor for the day, and two others who had booked on to the session. After our introductions we were kitted out with wetsuits, buoyancy aids, helmets and gloves. There were wetsuits for all shapes and sizes and Stephen made sure everyone was comfortable and happy with their kit.
A short cross country walk (where everyone took great care to stay away from the puddles despite the fact we were minutes away from being submerged!) brought us to our starting point. On the beach Stephen gave us a safety briefing and then came the question – is anyone afraid of water or heights? A water baby at heart, the crashing waves and salty sea water I could handle, but heights on the other hand…The question was met with silence, nobody wanting to admit they weren’t the ‘cool adrenaline seeking types’. Even so we were all assured that if there was anything we didn’t want to do then there would always be another way – we were all there to have fun!
Before getting into the water there was time for a quick photo opp (because who doesn’t want a photo of themselves in a skin tight wetsuit complete with MJ style white socks and Bob the Builder helmet?). Then the moment everyone was waiting for – time to get wet! After the initial cold first waves hit us it wasn’t long before the wetsuits had us nice and warm. We swam towards our first challenge of the afternoon – a climb up a rock surface protruding from the sea. Once everyone was assembled at the top we were briefed on the proper way to jump so we wouldn’t hurt ourselves. Before we knew it Stephen had jumped off the edge and was preparing to film our not so elegant jumps into the secluded pool. Somehow I had managed to be first up. A deep breath and a leap of faith and I was in. So this is what an adrenaline rush feels like?! – having a fear of speed, heights and a hatred for anything that remotely reassembles a roller coaster, this was something that had so far eluded me.
The next hour was spent amongst the waves, climbing out onto the rocks – which sometimes proved quite the challenge. With the waves constantly changing the water level it was all about timing. Every time you thought you’d made it the waves came down around you and you were left dangling attempting to hold your body weight – unless you have Madonna like biceps this was not an easy task! We all soon got the knack, realising it was all about using the force of the water to lift you up – third time lucky and a few laughs later I had made it. Once out it wasn’t long before we were back in and time for our next challenge; imagine the travelator from hit 90’s show Gladiators – only the water version and this was what we were up against. The narrow passage into a rounded pool had created a forceful suction that seemed impossible to swim against, however timed right you were easily pelted into the calm waters beyond. Once in it was time to float about and laugh as everyone else tried with all their might not to be defeated.
It was now time to jump off our highest point yet; thankfully during the steep climb to the top everyone had great patience for me and my slow rock climbing! Every sport I have ever tried I have been told ‘you are going to hurt yourself’; my cricket coach begged ‘please don’t try and catch the ball’, in my short lived hockey days I had my fair share of falls, and let’s not forget that time I managed to injure myself whilst waiting to even get on the boat! Unfortunately for me coasteering was looking to continue my trend ‘I think you are going to face plant’ are the reassuring words I heard from Stephen as we assembled at the top of our 15ft drop. All joking aside we were reminded how to jump safely and avoid the dreaded belly flop. One by one we stepped onto the ledge, composed ourselves (some taking longer than others!) and took the plunge. After building our confidence with two jumps from this height it was time to go higher! How high is ‘higher’? was my immediate reaction before deciding to at least climb on up and see for myself. Once at the top I was most definitely certain that I would fall attempting to climb back down so jumping of the edge seemed like the best option. Wobbly kneed and heart racing I tentatively steeped towards the ledge, a deep breath and a scream later and I had faced my fear.
The session flew in and before we knew it, it was time to head onto the shore. On the walk back we still didn’t enter the puddles – after you’ve just gone coasteering, jumping into two inches of water just isn’t going to cut it! All in all it was a great way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon and I can’t wait to do it again, so if you’re reading this sis – I think I know what I want for my birthday!
Read more Northern Ireland Adventure Blogs here – http://www.outdoorni.com/blog/
Coasteering sessions are never the same. The tides, wind, sun, waves and the ability/craziness of the people taking part all make each session different – that’s why we love it!
And now and again, someone will say something or do something that will stand out and make us all smile, laugh or occasionally shake our heads in despair (usually laughing too).
Walking back to the Jeep one day after a “Watersprouts” session was one of those such moments. The kids kept talking about how awesome the session was. The rocks were awesome! The sea was awesome! The waves were awesome! The jumps were awesome! Coasteering is awesome! The helmets and wetsuits were awesome! We were awesome! The Jeep was awesome! Everything was awesome!
The awesome part for us though was when they agreed that they all loved being awesome!
It was Christmas Eve and while most of the rest of the population were busying themselves with last minute preparations for Christmas Day I was heading towards Ballintoy for a Family Coasteering Adventure. The family on this occasion was a 50 year old Dutch woman who is volunteering at Corrymeela, her 20 something son and her son-in-law.
As I approached the harbour I could see that the sea was rough but not too rough. I can hear the conversation I had in my head as clear as day – “I’ve Coasteered here loads and have been out when it’s been worse. Yeah, it might be rough but there are always rough sea/weather routes to choose. This is going to be class! Hope they all like a bit of adventure.” I was also planning the session around the cold weather and icy-wind although it was nowhere near as cold as I thought it would have been. And with that I parked the jeep and got everyone kitted up in wetsuits, buoyancy aids, helmets and gloves.
From the car park it takes the guts of 10 minutes to walk to the start point, the local feature known as the Elephant. It is a huge lump of rock and from a distance one can clearly see the trunk, ears and eyes of an elephant – really cool! As we walked down to the beach for the standard safety brief and equipment my thought process about the session changed quite dramatically.
I could now see waves crashing over the first scramble that we use. For any of you reading this that have been out with us try and remember the V in the rocks before the first jump in to the pool – there were huge amounts of spray coming through here.
My eyes were busy studying this and the waves while I chatted to the group – evaluating and contemplating. Decision made, we can easily head up to the top and steer right – the waves and spray won’t reach us there – and I was right!
As we approached the top of the scramble we were all in awe at the powerful waves crashing in. “The washing machine” was completely washed out – there was absolutely no chance we would go anywhere near it! Again, I was studying the sea and after a while I was satisfied that we could do the first jump and then move right towards the plateau.
Everyone did the jump and we timed the scramble perfectly and moved right. As we moved across the rocks I pointed out where we were going and, as I usually do, threw my safety bag across the small inlet and on to the rocks high above the sea. I was somewhat shocked though to see a wave come roaring in and grab my bag.
So where were my thoughts at this stage? In the short space of time since we had reached the top of the first scramble I could see the sea getting angrier and more volatile. At the time of throwing my bag across I had decided that we would swim across to the plateau and escape from there to the safety of the shore (one of the many escape routes available which is why we like Ballintoy so much). As soon as my bag got swept away I decided I would retrieve it and then we would escape without going to the plateau.
I got the bag and got my three buzzing participants in the water and BOOM we were hit by a big wave and carried to the shore. From here I explained the seriousness of the sea and even though they were all buzzing they understood why I was calling an end to the session.
We had a good chat about it on the way back to the car park and agreed to heading out on Boxing Day before the lads went home. Incidentally, it has been postponed until another time as the sea was just as bad then!
Is there a moral to the story?
Of course! The group loved it and described the experience as exhilarating but they understood that their safety, and mine, was more important than the adrenaline rush. For me, I found it very interesting to get back to the harbour to find that the sea state there was the same as when we headed off – just goes to show how changeable the sea can be or how a few 100 meters can make a difference.
At no stage did the group feel that they had lost out, we arranged to reschedule and I know that they have even more confidence in our ability to look after them.
Are you up for some Coasteering? Give us a call on 08455213145 or email [email protected]
Coasteering is an exhilarating combined rock and water activity that can be delivered to every individual level which makes this activity suitable for those with no fear of heights or water as well as those who may not be quite so confident.
During your Coasteering trip you will learn rock climbing and scrambling techniques as well as how to jump from great heights safely.
Wearing sturdy footwear, wetsuits, buoyancy aids and helmets, participants travel along a section of coastline; sometimes swimming in the sea, sometimes scrambling on rocks and jumping from rocks into the sea.
Cost: £45 per person
To book your places give us a call on
08455213145 or email [email protected]
As you know Coasteering involves traversing and climbing over rocks and wet rocks are slippy!
So, what can you do to stop slipping?
Well, we advise wearing sturdy boots or trainers with good grips (avoid vibram soles if you can) and we do not permit neoprene booties, sandals or crocs! Yes, they are designed for water sports but they lack angle support, toe protection and fall off your feet!
In an ideal world we would all own a pair of 5:10 Canyoneer 2’s! We have been huge fans of the Canyoneer for years now and the Canyoneer 2 is even better. In our opinion if you are serious about Coasteering you need to own a pair!
Why should I own a pair of Five Ten Canyoneer boots?
Without a doubt these are the stickiest boots you will ever wear! Sticky boots mean you know that when your foot lands on a wet rock you are going nowhere and that confidence is second to none.
Stephen is on his third pair in 6 years and he swears by them. Recently he turned up for a Coasteering trip and realised he forgot his Canyoneer’s, luckily he had a couple of pairs of approach trainers in the Jeep! Unfortunately, they did not give anywhere near the same traction and Stephen certainly had to work hard to ensure he didn’t slip. Stephen said it was a class trip but he had to concentrate where he positioned his foot whereas he normally is looking well in front or back as he strides and jumps across the rocks. We doubt Stephen will make that mistake again!
So, what makes the Canyoneer so good?
The Canyoneer 2 is sleek, adjustable and comes with a lightweight upper that provides superb support with ergonomic flex for precision and control. Leaving nothing to be desired, these shoes are made with Stealth rubber soles that grip like nothing else on slippy rocks and boulders.
Where can I get a pair?
For local stockists check out http://fiveten.com/ but it is also worth looking on ebay – we recently saw new pairs being sold for only £50 instead of the standard £90 – we have even seen them sold for more than £100! And in fairness, we would pay that if we had to!
Coasteering comes with thrills and with thrills come a certain level of risk. However, choosing the right Coasteering provider is very important and will ensure you have a brilliant day out whilst remaining safe.
Below you will find some advice and thoughts which you should consider when deciding who is going to take you on your Coasteering Adventure:
Ask them do they have insurance and can they email you a copy of the insurance certificate.
Coasteering like all other Adventure Sports carries a certain level of risk and it is important that you make sure you are looked after should anything go wrong. As standard, you should expect your provider to have £5 million public liability.
It is not common practice for providers to include personal injury cover and this is something that you may wish to look in to yourself.
You may also ask your provider for copies of their Risk Assessments – especially if you are working with a group of young people! Please note that there are responsibility issues should you review the Risk Assessments.
Ask them what equipment they will provide.
Any Coasteering provider worth their salt should provide you with a 100% neoprene wetsuit, a well fitted helmet and buoyancy aid. It is usual for you to provide your own swimwear for underneath the wetsuit, shorts for over the wetsuit, warm socks and old trainers or boots with good grips.
In winter you should be provided with neoprene socks and gloves although a deposit or hire rate should be expected.
How much are they charging?
There are a number of factors that must be considered when deciding how much to charge for a Coasteering session:
Providers offering coasteering for as little as £10 or £12 per person can not be providing what we view as minimum standard – BEWARE of cheap Coasteering!
Some other questions you may wish to ask:
One last thing… Coasteering is a brilliant adventure and suitable for a wide range of ages and abilities – get up off your sofa and try it!
Coasteering is the fastest growing Adventure Sport in the UK and we are at the forefront of its development.
Our Team have been delivering Combined Rock and Water Activities for over 15 years and have explored miles and miles of our coastline in the pursuit of finding the best coasteering venues for our customers.
We are keen to share our knowledge with other practitioners and those who are interested in the delivery of Coasteering. We are also keen to learn from all those who attend this weekend – this is a best practice workshop not a course.
We are going to have an immense time jumping off cliffs, swimming and scrambling and we are going to learn – together.
When is it?
23rd – 24th September 2011
Day 1 Times: 9.00am – 7.00pm
Day 2 Times: 9.00am – 4.00pm
Cost: £180 per person
Accommodation and catering are not included
Participants must have logged a minimum of 5 coasteering trips before joining this workshop. If you are less experienced you may be allowed to participant following an assessment of your experience and ability via telephone.
At this level we expect participants to have their own equipment but are happy to supply whatever is necessary.
For more information or to book your place call 0845 5213145 or email [email protected]