Adventure activities in Wales, Britain: Six surprising adventures

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The Welsh countryside was long synonymous with farming, mining and heavy industry. But in recent years it's emerged as something of a thrill-seeker's playground. To a backdrop of rugged landscapes, bucolic valleys and industrial relics, you can enjoy a slew of quirky, adrenalin-fuelled activities.

COASTEERING

The Welsh are pioneers of this eclectic pastime, which features a blend of butterflies-in-the-stomach-inducing coastal pursuits. In the words of Celtic Quest, an award-winning operator in Pembrokeshire, west Wales, coasteering is "everything your parents told you not to do at the beach as a child, but under the watchful eye of an experienced (if a little bonkers) guide". Don a helmet, wetsuit and buoyancy aid and try the likes of cliff-edge traversing, ninja-style rock-hopping, belly-flopping and cliff jumping (from heights of up to 10 metres). Career down water chutes and whirlpools, dodge waves and delve into sea caves. When you're splashing about, don't be surprised if you see Atlantic grey seals – they often swim in the waters of Pembrokeshire National Park from August to November (celticquestcoasteering.com).

RALLY DRIVING

If playing WRC (World Rally Championship) on the X-Box doesn't cut it any more, how about some of the real thing? Head to the unassuming village of Carno in Mid Wales, where you'll find Higgins Rally School. Set in a 365-hectare forest, it's run by David Higgins, a member of the Subaru Rally Team USA, and the current Rally American champion. Assisted by other experts, including Welsh rally king Alex Allingham, Higgins offers driving sessions for all skill levels on the school's 15-kilometre course. Get behind the wheel of a speedy Mitsubishi 2WD – or a classic Ford Escort RS2000 – and whizz along a variety of muddy, skiddy, tree-fringed bends and straights. Your instructor will offer tips through your headset on manoeuvres like handbrake turns and power sliding (higginsrallyschool.com).

UNDERGROUND ZIPLINING

North Wales is touted as the "ziplining capital of Planet Earth" thanks to a clutch of alluring locations in the region. While Zip World Fforest​ (a tree-top adventure), Zip World Velocity (the world's fastest zipline) and Zip World Titan (which boasts the first four-person zipline in Europe) have their own lofty appeal, Zip World Caverns has a unique, subterranean pull. Set in a disused slate cavern near the old mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog​, at the centre of Snowdonia National Park, it contains the world's largest fully underground zipline course. Whoosh down this – and also tackle rope bridges and via ferrata​ – and if you're looking for another high, check out Bounce Below. Set on the same site as Zip World Caverns, it's said to be the world's first underground trampoline playground. Catering for both adults and kids, it vows to be "bigger, better and bouncier" than ever when it reopens after a revamp in May (zipworld.co.uk).

BOG SNORKELLING

Nestled just north of the Brecon Beacons National Park – a haven of hiking, biking, canyoning and potholing – Llanwrtyd Wells is supposedly the smallest town in Britain. But it's earned international renown for its annual World Bog Snorkelling Championships, which see competitors from Wales and abroad racing through the murky Waen Rhydd​ peat bog, clad in snorkels, flippers and, in some cases, fancy dress (green-events.co.uk). Complementing the main event – scheduled for August 28 – there's a mountain-biking bog race and a bog triathlon (a 13-kilometre run, followed by two lengths of the 55-metre-long trench, and 19 kilometres of cycling). After something more hard core? October's Chepstow Stampede, on the border with England, 40 kilometres east of Cardiff, is an endurance-sapping ordeal designed by military fitness gurus. Thigh-burning hills, horse hurdles and waist-deep bogs are among the obstacles on its 5K and 10K trails (chepstowstampede.com).

SCALING 15 PEAKS IN ONE DAY

A lot of outdoorsy types come to Wales to climb Snowdon, which, at 1085 metres, is the country's loftiest peak (and the highest point in the British Isles outside the Scottish Highlands). But if that sounds a breeze – and, in good weather, those of moderate fitness usually complete the ascent in under three hours – how about attempting the Welsh 3000s Challenge Extreme (www.welsh3000s.co.uk)? You'll need to scale Wales' 15 highest peaks – which are all in Snowdonia, and all over 3000 feet (915 metres) – within the space of 24 hours without any form of transport. It's about 40-50 kilometres on foot, depending on the route you take. The record is a staggering four hours and 20 minutes (held by Scottish fell runner Colin Donnelly), but many mere mortals opt to cover the summits over a few days in mid June (when there's the maximum amount of daylight).

WHITE-WATER SURF KAYAKING

Wales abounds in scenic surf and kayak spots, but in the waters off the Gower Peninsula – Britain's first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – you can fuse the two. Surf kayaking involves riding – or capsizing in – waves in a kayak. Novices like to paddle in the sheltered shores off Caswell Bay, near the Mumbles headland just south of Swansea, but experienced surfers or kayakers prefer wild and wonderful Rhossili Bay. The most westerly bay on the Gower, it receives the full brunt of the Atlantic Ocean swells, so advice from the instructors of Blue Ocean Adventure might come in handy (blueocean-adventure.co.uk). They also offer guided surf kayaking off the Pembrokeshire coast. If you'd prefer an inland aquatic adventure, check out Surf Snowdonia in the Conwy Valley. You can kayak, SUP (stand up paddleboard) and surf in this, Britain's first artificial wave lagoon (surfsnowdonia.co.uk).

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