You, like myself and most people I have mentioned this to, are probably wondering… what on earth is coasteering? And on paper, why on earth would anybody do that?!
Picture this: it’s Sunday afternoon, the fog is hanging, you can’t see the horizon and you’ve almost certainly not had enough sleep.
With help, you hazily climb into a wealth of kit that seems to be appropriate for somewhere in between robbing a bank (the gloves!) and exploring outer space. Either option seems a far more rational way to spend a Sunday afternoon. You’re strapped up, strapped in and ready for the unknown, and currently unseen.
Off you march, you head to the rocks. It’s time to rock and roll. There’s this wonderful energy that flutters when ambiguity surrounds what the next few hours have in store. I love that.
It’s very easy to get pumped just listening to the Ocean Vertical boys Stevie and Adrian. They have this understanding and appreciation of not just the coastline, but the whole natural environment we regularly forget that we’re surrounded by.
They really do know their stuff; you already feel a part of it. Whatever ‘it’ is. They tell me a large part of coasteering is really about getting stuck in and around all that the coastline has to offer, submerging yourself amongst the rocks, the ocean (and the seaweed!).
But really, it’s about the magic.
In danger of sounding too wishy-washy (for the want of a better phrase) you start to feel part of the ocean’s rhythm and body as you float around. This is seriously fucking cool. And credit to the kit, the cold was hardly felt. Not quite taps aff temp (it is Scotland after all) but not a far-off feeling.
The real fun, however, starts with the first jump. That confident explorer stride comes to a halt, adrenalin wakes up and gives you a straight-up, straight out, kick up the arse.
Off you go, feet first, chin in the air and then BAM, in a split second your balls deep (OK, I’m female), back in the cold arms of the North Sea. More of a slap on the back than a loving embrace but my god, what a feeling. It’s pretty addictive, and the element of unknown only adds to this.
There are very real moments of fear, nerves and adrenalin if you’re looking for something to put the fire back in your belly and the hairs on your chest then this is certainly for you.
There were moments where I had to give myself a real talking to about jumping off a cliff (unsurprisingly), but these short sharp bursts of conquering fear make you feel like you can conquer anything.
A cocktail recipe more potent than all the Bloody Marys in the world!
The jumps get bigger and more confident, the swims get further and the fog even lifts to reveal the most gorgeous Sunday afternoon blue skies. The Scottish coastline commands a serious amount of admiration in all kinds of weather and boy does it deliver.
The temperamental beast we know (and love) as the Scottish climate brings with it a wealth of wildlife. Seals are bobbing up some 30 metres away with a curious look on their face, to remember you’re sharing this one body of water with so many others is utterly enchanting and quite a grounding sensation. This alone is enough to make for a Sunday to remember.
And just when you think this particular Sunday afternoon can’t possibly get any better, Stevie spots two pods of dolphins heading in our direction.
We climb the biggest rock and gaze out to sea watching the dolphins bounce through the waves. Dolphin spotting is pretty special. The icing on the cake to a spectacular couple of hours.
Seriously good for the soul.
So, there you have it; just you, the ocean, the rocks, and all the nature in between. Several arse-kicking conversations with yourself later and you’re on top of the world, king of the castle and champion of the coastline.
Possibly the best ever way to blow away the cobwebs, find the magic and get wild outside. The coastline is the door and OV hold the key!
By Lucy Pattinson
There’s a serious amount of adoration that the Scottish coastline commands, it’s a temperamental beast to say the least but when it delivers it doesn’t do it by halves.