So I could debate all day, just about, on the pros and cons of this ‘coupon society’ which we live in. Generally I think it is pretty bad because consumers get greedier and companies use it as a lifeline that sees them sink in the longer term far too often, but it is fantastic for making you try things you never normally would.
And this is how one sunny morning in June we ended up driving North for two hours of coasteering along the wild coast of Northumberland. Our meeting point was a little car park in Howick, just South of Craster and it took just under an hour to drive there from Newcastle. We met the group and guides in the car park and kitted up in wetsuits, helmets, life jackets and shorts – very sexy.
By 9.30 we were meandering our way across the fields to the coast. I wasn’t too sure what to expect as I walked along behind the group. When I had coasteered on a school trip 15 years ago it had been in Devon where the jagged cliff face stretch all along the shoreline – from my knowledge of Northumberland we have sandy beaches and rolling sand dunes!
It wasn’t long before we were descending the slippy dunes (yes I fell over) down to the rocky shoreline. The sea was really crashing down on the rocks, spitting foamy waves at our feet. It didn’t look deep enough to jump in but before we knew what was happening Paul (the guide) had jumped in and disappeared beneath the foam. Next it was our turn to trust we would be alright and jump in – it was great!
The guides were great fun, it was clear they really enjoyed being in the water and messing about just as much as the group! They had lots of ‘games’ to play which might have been thought up for children but worked just as well on a group of 25-40+ year-olds. One game involved sitting on the edge of the rock pool and waiting for a big wave to come along and push you off the edge – as pictured above.
We played around in the first rock pool for quite a while, it was surprisingly warm when you were jumping in and out of the water. Although I was a little nervous for the first jump, (made slightly worse when one guide said “it’s a strong current, if the sea wants to suck you back out, the best thing is to just let it – don’t resist”) I did feel completely safe at all times. The guides had all the safety equipment and the other people in the group were really good at helping me climb back out too!
We started walking up the beach, every now and then catching a glimpse of Dunstunburgh Castle to the North. The guides knew all the places to stop, the rock pools to jump in and coves to explore. Game number two involved each person in the group taking it in turns to jump in over the previous persons head. By the time it got to me there were about 10-12 little faces looking up as I launched off, it was pretty scary!
For the final part of the experience we walked up the headland for about a mile until we came to some higher cliffs, jutting out in to the water. As it was low tide, we had to scramble down the rocks to a safe spot to jump from. It was about 40ft high and really quite intimidating to look down from the top. Alex went first, flinging himself off the rock in to the sea. I managed to muster up the courage to throw myself off next and must have screamed the whole way down. It was such an adrenaline rush though, so we did it again a couple of times!
It was such a fun morning, I am really happy I bought the voucher. I would definitely recommend it to friends and anyone who just fancies being a big kid and doing something fun with their weekend. You can get more info on Adventure Northumberland on their website of facebook page.