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“You want me to jump off a cliff?”

“You want me to jump off a cliff?”

CAS has grown in school now that A level are taking it as part of their program. This means that there are armies of volunteers for fund raising days and lots of students asking ‘does it count of CAS?’

One of the key elements for CAS is the Active section and it is important that some of this is both physically and mentally challenging which is why all CAS students will take part in a program of outdoor activities designed to do just this. This program has started with a favorite in Devon called Coasteering. This involves steering your self along the coastline either by swimming or climbing with the aim of reaching a finishing point. To do this you often have to climb up cliffs and often have to jump off them into the sea. Sounds frightening, well it is. But EF Torbay have been using a fantastic outdoor education provider for a long time and their trained staff are really great and know the coast around here so well.

The first task is to get suited up with a wet suit, life jacket and helmet before we are given a safety talk by the guides. For all of us this is a first and for some even swimming in the sea is a new experience so if the aim is to challenge us it really does. The sea is freezing here even in the summer but it only takes a few minutes before the suit starts to warm you up. Because of the life jacket you kind of float around rather than swim but we remain in a tight group and head further out following the coast. Our first challenge is to climb up a small cliff and to walk along the cliff to reach a small high point. This is not easy and a few of us fall off which is fine because we fall into the sea but then have to swim back to start again.

We do this in and out of the water and along the cliff for a little while longer until we eventually reach a much higher point sticking out of the cliff. We know what’s coming. We are going to be jumping off which looks ok from the bottom but very different from the top. It is a frightening height and looking down makes you wonder if you can do it. You need to convince yourself and this is not always easy.

This is such a challenge both physically and mentally because it can be cold and it often takes a lot of strength to climb the cliffs not to mention the mental strength to jump off them. But CAS is all about challenging yourself and that’s exactly what this does.