May: A series of Everyday Adventures on the Jurassic Coast

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a hundred times. You don’t have to travel far to experience adventure. You don’t even have to take time off work. Adventure really can be as simple as stepping outside – no flights/ferries/paramotors required.

To prove this once and for all, we decided to replace our more traditional weekend adventures with a series of smaller, after work, strictly ‘everyday adventures’ this month. After settling on the Jurassic Coast as the destination for each of these trips (it’s only a few miles from EA HQ), we set about practising what we preach.

Sleeping outside

A night spent sleeping in a bivvy bag (no tents allowed), is the cornerstone of everyday adventuring. If you can find a hill to sleep on, that’s a bonus. If you can find a hill overlooking the sea, you’ve hit the jackpot.

Sleeping outside is so easy (especially without a tent), and so rewarding. Waking up with the sun and taking a few deep breaths of fresh, early morning air, while absorbing the natural beauty surrounding us, feels sensational every time. The day ahead might involve desks and computer screens, but routine is always more bearable when your hair smells of campfire smoke and there’s still sand between your toes.

Climbing

The recent purchase of a 50m climbing rope has really opened up this coastline for us. We’ve been to Dancing Ledge countless times before, but hanging off the side of it gives a completely different perspective.

There are few better places for beginner climbers to hone recently acquired skills. Drawn on by the urge to explore these dramatic coastal cliffs, we headed to Swanage, tied onto fence posts and metal abseil rods, checking, double checking, then triple checking our knots before eventually putting enough trust in ourselves to start climbing.

Even without a rope, the cliffs at Stair Hole make for a day of great scrambling. We found a low-level traverse from the right-hand edge, back around to the beach through the inside of the first cave, which makes for an exciting low-level climb that would test any climber’s skill without too much danger.

Deep Water Soloing

Deep water soloing (the practice of climbing on sea cliffs above the water without ropes) makes for an exciting progression from traditional climbing. Although bum-clenchingly terrifying at first, the theory is that, if you fall from these relatively low-level climbs (up to a ‘high enough’ 12 meters around Dorset), the water should break your fall. A bit of a more serious undertaking, we did our research and chose the only local crag with routes easy enough for confident beginners – The Aquanaut Buttress near Seacombe.

The climb requires a tricky abseil down to a big ledge, 8 metres above the sea, to start. From there, we changed our clothes and climbed down to check the depth of the sea (only go at high tide with calm waves). We then took it in turns to jump off from the top to get used to the height and remove the fear of falling, then climbed back out to do it all over again.

Trail Running

The Jurassic Coast is a trail runner’s dream. Epic views, long winding tracks and the brutal ascents of the South West Coast Path make for an interesting training ground that can be tailored to suit almost any ability. We love running here and would recommend it to anyone – road runners, trail runners and fast walkers alike. If you’re new to trail running, however, we’d suggest starting at Studland and heading towards Swanage to avoid the steep hills around Lulworth.

Swimming

Swimming in open water is better than swimming in a congested public pool. There’s no doubt about it. Whether you choose to do laps of groynes at the beach, or take a SUP/Kayak out to explore cliffs and caves as we did, the sea provides endless opportunities for adventure.

The sea demands respect, however, and you should always swim within your ability. Make sure you check tide times and wave forecasts, and wear a wetsuit (even in Summer) if you’re planning on being out for long. We love to swim with a couple of SUPs in tow (normally tied to our ankles) so that if we get into trouble we have a platform to rest on. If you’re lucky enough to own one of these already, we’d recommend doing the same! Not only does a SUP provide opportunities for rest at sea, it also allows you to take kit with you so you can extend the adventure to swimming to and camping on an island, like we did last year.▲