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In the UK Although all aspects of coasteering have been informally practised by people for a very long time, if only as a means of accessing a cut-off cove beyond a headland, the term appears first to have been used in 1973. In a prescient vision in Üthe book Sea Cliff Climbing, John Cleare and Robin Collomb said "A few enthusiasts believe that coasteering will become popular and has a big future". In the 1990's it emerged as a commercially guided recreational activity initially along the cliff coastline of Pembrokeshire in Wales. By 1997 write-ups started appearing in the travel/recreational pages of the newspapers showing that several commercial companies were offering such activity.

In 1999 one guide company licensed a trade mark incorporating the word "Coasteering" in a distinctive script. However, the word was by then in regular use to describe the activity and is now freely used by general population.

The activity has now spread to all regions of the UK where there are suitable rocky coasts, including Cornwall, Pembrokshire, Anglesey and the Highlands and Isles of Scotland.

The rocky cliff coasts of western Britain provide the World's principal location for organised guided coasteering, where it is available from over 100 activity centres. Usually half day or one day trips are offered at a variety of levels catering for beginners, intermediates and advanced. Some trips are especially slanted towards study of the coastal ecology.