The original purpose of the Cornish pilot gig (six oared rowing boat) was for taking pilots out to incoming vessels off the Atlantic. At the time, the gigs would race to get their pilot on board a vessel first (often those about to run aground on rocks) in order to get the job and hence the payment. Now, pilot racing is a sport, with many active clubs in the area. Go watch them (or try it yourself) at Sennen Cove, Penzance Harbour, Mount’s Bay Marizion, or St Ives.
As explained by Kernow Coastering, this sport is Britain’s fastest growing adventure activity. The concept is simple: pick two points along a section of cliff and then get yourself from A to B be any means possible, whilst having the most fun imaginable! Coasteering combines swimming, climbing, scrambling, rock-hopping, and of course cliff-jumping.
Coasteering is available to anyone who is a confident swimmer and has a reasonable level of fitness. There’s no one way to do a route, and no coasteerer would ever repeat a route in the same way. This makes coasteering an extremely dynamic and enjoyable sport. It also means that you can make any route work for you.
You don’t have to jump off anything you don’t want to, or climb anything you’d rather not. You can swim or scramble around any obstacles as you please. This freedom is also one of the factors that makes coasteering such a popular activity.