This is a good story for those people who when they were younger had their parents ask them ‘If your friends told you they were going to jump off a cliff would you!?”

I thought I’d write this blog in retrospect as this was one of the most fun things I’ve done and it was such a good weekend that I pretty much remember the whole thing. Being my 34th birthday coming up and having managed to not die doing something stupid yet I floated the idea with my mates Andy, Shawn and Matt of heading down to Cornwall and doing some Coasteering. Well anyway it started with mainly that in mind then evolved into something a bit more crazy along the way.

After some careful planning we decide upon renting a lovely cottage down in the sleepy fishing village of Cadgwidth which resides on the wild Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall. Cornwall seemed a great choice for a rough and rugged (yet amazing looking) coastline to throw ourselves off.

The reason I suggested we go and stay in Cadwidgth is because it struck me as a cool place on my way through when I was doing a huge hike of the Cornish Coast from Penzance to Falmouth and along the way, almost totally exhausted by the hot sun and the heavy going up’s and down’s of the Lizard Peninsula Cadgwith was a godsend to stop and fuel up. It came up as a possible option and the guys seemed keen so we looked further into it and I found tales of the village fishermen who sing sea shanties in the local pub while getting pretty hammered. This sounded really amusing so why not? It would be an experience.

So months later we are out on the road towards Cornwall. We we finally in Cadgwidth it’s pretty late as it’s taken way longer to get here than expected due to Cornish Roads, Google Maps and more than a few tractors. After settling into our really nice cottage we decide to leg it to the Cadgwith Cove Inn and see if we can grab the last hour of drinks, which we all feel like we need after such a long journey. Like many places on the Cornish coast this roughly 300 year old Inn has links to smuggling. I still find the old tales of Cornwall interesting even as an adult but as a kid I really loved reading about them. In fact apparently four men of the village were caught with contraband brandy and subsequently press-ganged into a naval blockade. Which is a pretty harsh punishment, especially as the the naval blockade was in Algiers which is pretty far from home.

When we get there it’s really quiet and there’s just a small group of locals in the corner, chatting. I’m not the most outgoing person anyway so we all just keep to ourselves until one of them in a funky hat comes over to show us a magic trick. And it’s not long until we have spoken to them all, and guess what….it turns out to be the signing fishermen! There’s some looped ropes hanging from the ceiling and I ask the locals what they are for, and I’m informed that they are for when you get drunk and you need something to hold onto, which at this current moment in time is happy coincidence. After several rounds we end up asking them if we could get them to take us fishing, and we agree to meet one of them in the harbour the day after our coasteering tomorrow. What could possibly go wrong?

What is coasteering?

You stick a helmet on, a wetsuit a set of wetsuit boots or cheap trainers and sometimes wetsuit gloves, a life vest so you don’t accidentally drown. Kind of like gorge walking but instead as (younger people would say) you are ‘yeeting’ yourself into the sea. Or to older people chucking yourself off cliffs to the mercy of the unrelenting North Sea in our case. And you pretty much tombstone off sea cliffs, rock stacks, into waves, swim through caves and splits in the rock and get thrown about by the sea like a rag dog or dead body.

You can probably appreciate that it makes sense to go with a guide. Just randomly chucking yourself off any old cliff can go wrong really quickly (I’m writing this like I’ve never just randomly jumped off a cliff, even though I totally have). Having a guides great as they know the right places to jump into the sea without breaking your legs and drowning, which as you can imagine isn’t a great start to a holiday. Plus they can rescue your ass if you do have a salty wob out.

We actually end up going to an entirely different coast of Cornwall to meet our guide, we end up on the North Coast. As you can imagine you get far more interesting weather here, plus the fact it’s only the day after quite a large storm so that’s going to make things far more exciting.

Getting ready for an ice cold cliff jump.

Starting at the top of a cliff (what a surprise) our guide lets down a rope for us to steady ourselves as we edge our way down to the beach below. When we get to the beach there’s literally only a moment to brace ourselves as our guide tells us the plan and plunges into the surf out towards some angry looking rocks jutting out from the sea. And from there its straight through a narrow channel of rock with the waves pushing us in and out.

Taking a moment to get our breath back
Andy looking shellshocked

Apart from the salty water going up my nose, there’s something quite refreshing about being full on smacked in the face by oncoming waves. Especially with what has turned out to be a positively medieval grade hangover, it’s a bit of a wakeup call, like Poseidon reminding you to stop being such a little bitch.

Davey Jones Locker

Eventually after climbing up and jumping off some smaller rocks as practice, we pass through a small arch in the rock and the guide gets us to climb up a rock stack which is about 15 or so metres high. I have to admit at this point I’ve definitely got the nerves as we have to kind of throw ourselves up and over the clear the rocks on the way down. Being as I’ve just hit 35 if I do kill myself then I’ve had a good run is what I’m thinking to myself as I launch myself over the rocks and down into the churning blue green water below. As I plunge down into the sea I realise I should have been blowing out through my nose as I jumped because I’ve just slammed a pint of the North Sea up my snozz. I swim out of the way and up onto the rocks just in time for the fun view of the rest of my mates smacking straight into the ocean.

All done with throwing ourselves off rocks we make our way back to shore to warm up and get a beer. I have to admit that I had a ton of fun doing this, it’s not the first time I’ve coasteered but it’s definitely the most fun time.

The Next Day: Time To Cast Off

We meet our fisherman friend in the morning all sporting pretty bad hangovers and he warns us not to mess about, and explains he’s taken a few visitors out before and they acted like total dickheads. We tell him not to worry as we aren’t like that. I think we were all expecting a boat moored on the quay but turns out the boat we are taking is a small wooden fishing boat. And it may be a small boat but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t weigh a lot on land.

Not only are we taking this actually pretty heavy chunk of floating wood on the sea but we’ve also got to manhandle it down the beach which he never mentioned the previous evening. Between me Shawn, Andy, Matt and our fisher friend guiding it we manage to push it down the shingle using timber rollers. I almost feel like we should be chanting some kind of viking of rowing song as we push it.We get down to the water and I soon regret wearing my expensive new hiking shoes as me and Andy followed by the rest of the guys stride waist deep into the sea.

The Sea Arch

Chatting away to our fishing mate about our coasteering adventures he drives the boat around the coast to show us a huge sea stack archway, and tells us how when he was younger he jumped from the top. He’s a bit nuts like us so we can imagine him doing it. None of us are surprised when he tells us he nearly drowned (this cliff must be at least 40m high) but we are all surprised when he tells he he can’t really swim. Not sure this is really the best pastime for him everything considered!

After a bit of joking around I think our new friend realised we aren’t a gaggle of dickheads and he isn’t in danger of us getting super drunk and sinking us so he chills out a bit as we break out the fishing rods. He’s cool with us now so we tell him we’ve brought a few beers out and ask him if he fancies one, so off we all go cracking beers on the sea. He’s still not that impressed that we have stuck a pirate flag on his boat though.

Ladies And Gentlemen Introducing, Eel Diamond

I’m probably the worst one at catching fish but on a whole apart from our new mate most of us keep catching loads of sand eels. Luckily they make for decent bait and this helps us catch more actual fish, we still keep getting crazy amounts of sand eels. Matt being as weird as he is christens his first one ‘Eel Diamond’, and our new friend manages to convince us that you can eat sand eels raw. He pretends to cut one up and eat it, this seems really unappealing to me but Andy and Matt both give it a go. Their faces say it all really, and our friend then bursts out laughing when he tells us nobody really eats them, especially raw!

Lobster Losses

All done with the line fishing and with a decent catch we head off to grab some lobster pots. We reel in a few which are seriously heavy and get a few small lobster. As we drive around more it turns out the local dickhead has reeled in, emptied and cut some of our guys pots loose and they have washed up in a dangerous looking cove.

The beach they are now on is strewn with boulders with lots more jutting out of the water near the beach, so there’s no way we will be able to get the boat close enough to bring them in. We do notice there’s a part of the cliffside next to the beach that looks like it could be climbed up. I’ve been climbing for a few years now and the lads turn and look at me and say…’mark could do that’ and after two beers I’m like ‘yeah sure why not’. So we carefully draw the boat up next to the cliff trying to avoid getting smashed against the rocks. I just about manage to jump clear and onto the cliff and head across the side towards the beach. Little have I realised but Shawn has joined me and I wouldn’t say he’s that great with heights. Typically as I think this there’s suddenly a drop down from where we are about half way up the cliff to the beach which is really rocky, there’s barely any flat part of the beach to drop onto. While I’m imagining snapped ankles it’s time to carefully climb down the cliff, and I’m turning round making sure Shawn’s putting his feet and hands in the right places. By this point he’s already been climbing with me so he should be able to handle it. I have to admit this is pretty scary, it’s at least a ten metre drop to the beach. We make it most of the way down when the bottom of the cliff goes pretty much smooth with no handholds. So time to suck it up and I’m going to have to jump off as carefully as possible onto the beach and try and not land badly, otherwise it could easily be broken ankle territory. Luckily I manage to jump down pretty well, and I start doing shawn a favour and moving boulders and debris out of the area I think he needs to land in. He manages to drop down ok too and we both take a minute to take a deep breath and get ourselves together.

Going To Pot

We find the lobster pots in a mound of seaweed and it’s obvious that as our friend said, the lines have been cut . The only thing we couldn’t see from the beach was that these pots are absolutely full of seaweed and lobster pots are pretty big. Due to the seaweed and stones they have picked up these easily weight 20kg so we have to try and clear the weeds out of them.

The tides coming in rapidly which could leave us stranded on the beach, so we call to the guys on the boat and discuss what to do. The plan is this – we get the pots cleared out as much as possible, find whats left of the ropes attached to them and wade into the sea with them.

To start with me and Shawn have to heft these really heavy things down the beach, and into the water mainly fuelled by the Adrenaline of not wanting to be stranded on the beach. At a few points we both stumble over the large boulders hidden under the water get salt water in the mouth and get knocked over by the rising waves. Which in itself is pretty scary, my ankles and knees are already bruised and at one point I drop my lobster pot and have to plunge myself under the water to grab it.

Somehow we both manage to get our lobster pots as deep as we can into the water ourselves and the ropes clear of the rocks and swim out to the boat and hand the ropes over.

The guys on the boat are going to haul the pots across the sea bed and then use the boat to pull them fully clear. They can’t fit us in the boats with the pots being hauled in so we have to swim back to the cliff edge we climbed to the beach using. It’s really hard work and a pretty strange feeling fully clothed in trainers swimming against the tide. It’s got a definite vibe of when I was about 20 years younger being forced to jump in swimming pools with our secondary school. Funnily enough I’m pretty sure that was part of being taught how to rescue people or yourself, probably not lobster pots. We make it to the cliff, and haul ourselves up on the rocks and wait. We both burst out laughing amazed we both pulled that off! I doubt either me of Shawn will ever forget that moment, both glad to be alive.

The guys finally manage to get back to us and our fisherman friend is really happy he can’t believe we managed to get his pots back to him. The last challenge is him pulling the boat close enough to the foot of the cliff for us to be able to step off and into it. Luckily the lads all help pull us onboard and as we do my new friend proclaims ‘You lads are mental’. He couldn’t be happier though he’s really chuffed we saved his lobster pots for him. We all sit back in the boat, shivering and soaked through but all totally buzzing while our friend points the boat in the direction of Cadgwith.

When we get there our mate borrows Andy as he’s going to give us some of his lobster and prepare our fish for us and then drop them over the the cottage later. When we get back we are all relieved and buzzing from the days adventure. Having a cold beer and a hot shower at this point in time is totally amazing. It’s not much longer until Andy and our mate come back with the fish and lobster. He doesn’t want to overstay his welcome but we get him to stop and have a few beers with us, we pan fry the fish in flour and butter and serve it with some buttered marsh samphire and it might be because we caught some of it, or because it freshly caught or made just the sense of achievement but it tastes amazing.

The next day we are all in the Inn again but with all the locals, the suns out and we are putting the drunk ropes hanging from the ceiling to good use. It’s definitely been an experience we won’t soon forget.


I hope you found my blog useful or entertaining, any donations given go towards more adventures and therefore more blogs and equipment reviews! Donation is voluntary, and you can donate as much or as little as you wish, or not at all.

Thanks for reading and your support!

I hope you found my blog useful or entertaining, any donations given go towards more adventures and therefore more blogs and equipment reviews! Donation is voluntary, and you can donate as much or as little as you wish, or not at all.

Thanks for reading and your support!

I hope you found my blog useful or entertaining, any donations given go towards more adventures and therefore more blogs and equipment reviews! Donation is voluntary, and you can donate as much or as little as you wish, or not at all.

Thanks for reading and your support!

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