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Climbing and Coasteering in the English Riviera Geopark

PUBLISHED: 19:56 11 July 2011 | UPDATED: 19:41 20 February 2013

Climbing and Coasteering in the English Riviera Geopark

Climbing and Coasteering in the English Riviera Geopark

The English Riviera Tourism Company together with Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust came up with this fab idea to offer visitors to the English Riviera a chance to see some of the hidden sights that make up their spectacular Global Geopark.

The English Riviera Tourism Company together with Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust came up with this fab idea to offer visitors to the English Riviera a chance to see some of the hidden sights that make up their spectacular Global Geopark.

And I can think of no better way than scrambling and swimming along one of its most enchanting stretches of coastline. Its not only beautiful but also rich with geological wonders and treasures from the Devonian period where the rocky outcrops of Torbay were formed during the Ice Ages.

Our coasteering started at stunning Ansteys Cove where we were kitted up in wetsuits, buoyancy aids and helmets by our fantastic instructor, Ross. We had done some rock-climbing in the morning to warm up our appetite for the adventure ahead so leaping into the water on the edge of Redgate Beach seemed a nice idea.

Once Id got over the initial shock of the cool water, I warmed up pretty quickly. Ross, our instructor had us all hold hands in a circle and, at the count of three, we all ducked our heads under, fetching red helmets and all, to get a feel for what was to come.

I was awestruck by the beauty in this part of the Bay and the sheer variety and interest of the rock formations explained to us by ERTCs photographer and resident geologist Tom. We scrambled over boulders and rocks lying in shallow, gorgeously aquamarine water, feeling our way with hands and wet trainer-clad feet. We could have done with gloves occasionally as we scrambled up the rocks and Ross recommended kitchen Marigolds as the glovewear of choice for the coasteerer!

After swimming towards a huge rock we clambered out of the water and prepared for our first jump, more of an ungainly flop, into the water. We practised making the ok signal each time we bobbed up. Then we swam further out across the Bay. Redgate Bay is obviously a popular spot for coasteering and there was another coasteering group enjoying the water too.

Two or three jumps later, each getting just a little higher, we attempted our first traverse, scrambling along the rocks just above the waterline, hand over hand, gingerly feeling our way. The big challenge was to try to get round a particularly tricky overhang and we managed this with varying levels of success and much laughter. The good news is that you can plop, flop or splash down into the water and swim round whenever you like.

The final jump, I would swear was at least 20ft high but Tom, more realistically, put it at around 8 ft. Im actually sure it was more like 12ft! Anyway it felt really high and as Id been taught I held onto my buoyancy aid and jumped. Blue bubbles flew round my head as I went down and then I shot back up to the surface. A very exhilarating feeling and definitely puts the small things in life well into perspective!

The day finished with a swim back around the Bay, a visit to Ansteys Coves great caf and a stroll back up to the free parking at the top of the hill.

So dont spend your weekends on the sofa or trailing round the supermarket, come to the funky English Riviera and join one of the great Discovery Packages organised by English Riviera Tourism Company and Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust. The age group present ranged from twenties to fifties and we all had huge fun.

My next adventure is on 22nd July when Im doing Canoe the Coves cant wait!

For more information see Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust's website

For more on what to do and where to stay on the English Riviera visit

Photos courtesy of English Riviera Tourism Company.

Climbing photo by Tom Smith.


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