‘To be wild is not to be crazy or psychotic. True wildness is a love of nature, a delight in silence, a voice free to say spontaneous things, and an exuberant curiosity in the face of the unknown.’ — Robert Bly
At Wilderness Now, we’re very lucky to work with fantastic guides from all corners of the UK.
These outdoor adventurers are ready and waiting to take you on all sorts of outdoor excursions with Wilderness Now. Their home is the wild moors, national parks, wooded valleys and rugged coastline of the U.K. And they can’t wait to share it with you.
Here is the first in an occasional series of ‘Meet the Guide’ interviews.
Jorrin (known as Jey) Massingham, originally from South Africa but now based in Cornwall, offers surfing, coasteering and wild camping adventures in Newquay through both Wilderness Now and his business Cornish Wave.
Learn to surf in Newquay
He specialises in individual, family and stag & hen experiences.
How did you become a guide and a surf instructor?
I started out as watersports and multi-activity instructor a little over 15 years ago. I’ve always had an interest in adventure activities and feel comfortable in the water. Naturally, I’ve spent the past 15 years gaining experiences and working in a variety of places.
As I gained more personal skill in watersport-based activities, I grew my coaching and guiding experience and took on more and more new challenges.
What is it about outdoor adventures that appeal to you?
I think it’s the mixture of both the excitement of knowing what you’re about to do (eg. white water canoe journey) but also not really being in total control of the experience and what may come your way.
Of course, outdoor adventures are usually based in an area of natural beauty. It’s not always great weather but that is partly what makes it special. I can’t think of anything better than being in a beautiful place doing an activity that is healthy and makes you feel great, whether it’s with friends or customers.
Is the outdoors culture growing in the UK?
I think there has always been a strong outdoor culture in the UK.
Go Wild Camping in a Cornish Wood
But now there may be more awareness of why the outdoors and adventure is so good for the body and mind.
The more that folks get outside, use their bodies and enjoy and learn about their surrounds whilst having fun with an activity, the more they feel the benefits.
What three tips would you give someone who wants to get outdoors more?
Take us through a day in the life of a guide…
- Our days are governed by the tides. A typical day might start with a surf lesson at either Towan beach or Fistral beach.
- Then it’s time for a quick break before leading a coasteering session.
- After that, it’s up to the wild camp with a group, for further activities like axe throwing or bushcraft sessions.
- The day ends off with a beer around the bbq and kicking back in the tents.
What’s your best memory of coasteering in Newquay?
It’s a mixture of days and conditions. I don’t have one particular memory. We as friends and staff go camping on the headland a lot. Often we find some really secluded and rugged spots with abundant wildlife.
For charity, we once completed the longest Coasteer journey in a 24-hour period. We started at St Agnes at 5am and we coasteered for 9 hours back to Newquay.
We raised plenty of cash for the charities and saw some truly hidden areas of the coastline here.
How did coasteering start?
Coasteering, in its original form, is thought to have been started by mountain climbing enthusiasts who traversed sea cliffs in preparation for Alpine routes.
John Cleare and Robin Collomb, in their 1973 book ‘Sea Cliff Climbing’, stated that:
“A few enthusiasts believe that coasteering will become popular and has a big future.”
They couldn’t have been more accurate. According to a Watersports Participation survey in 2015, coasteering participation numbers were 125,000 in 2014.
What’s your most embarrassing moment of surfing in Newquay?
There are too many to mention! I once had my wetsuit seam split. The hen group I was hosting at the time thought this view of my backside was hilarious.
What do you like best about living in Cornwall?
Cornwall has so much to offer in terms of outdoor sports and adventures, whether in the sea or on land.
Cornwall has a great feel about it. I love my network of friends here and the pace of life.
It’s a healthy place to live where everyone really appreciates the area and what it provides us.
One little known fact about you?
I’ve spent most birthdays since the age of 19 in a different city or country.
What’s your ‘go-to’ party trick?
I can turn a tea towel into a chicken.
Your favourite thing to eat after a big day outdoors?
Any kind of chicken salad. (Interviewer: Hmm, chicken seems to be a bit of a theme.) Throw in some sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, olives etc.
That’s perfect. I’d eat that all day every day.
So if you’re looking for an expert host to take you from surf lessons in Newquay to coasteering along the rugged Cornish coast, Jey from Wilderness Now is your man.
He’ll even show you his tea towel trick if you ask nicely.