I peered over the edge and gathered my composure.

Six metres below a mini waterfall crashed into a bubbling, gurgling pool.

“Are you ready to jump?”, said my canyoning instructor – the kind of ruggedly handsome, all-action adventurer that makes you feel less of a man.

I could feel my legs wobble slightly. This was pretty scary.

If I slipped I’d crack my head on the boulder jumping platform.

If I overshot it I could face a painful landing in shallow water.

There was no safety net. No skilled instructor in total control, like the paragliding flight I’d enjoyed earlier in my adventure holiday to Interlaken, Switzerland.

This was all down to me.

Jumping into another pool

Jumping into another pool

To make things trickier, I also had to pull off the leaning-backwards-cannonball – a technique we’d been taught for canyoning jumps.

I breathed out, counted to three and leapt.

And I didn’t die.

In fact I was buzzing.

Maybe it was the cold water shocking my body, jolting me into a heightened sense of awareness. But I felt alive after the jump. Really alive.

The beautiful gorge

The beautiful gorge

Perching on a rock, I clapped and cheered as fellow participants soared through the air into the pool – a sense of camaraderie building in the group.

And the excitement didn’t stop there.

We abseiled a sheer rock face, climbed behind a waterfall, slid down smooth rocks that formed natural slides, and floated in mini rapids.

Abseiling down a sheer rock face

Abseiling down a sheer rock face

Each obstacle was different – from the gentle and relaxing to the adrenaline-inducing and awesome – ensuring the pace and intensity of our canyoning adventure was changing constantly.

I enjoyed the variety and the way it gave us an intimate, almost personal, interaction with the beautiful gorge.

We felt the texture of the rocks beneath our feet and on our hands. We tasted the water in our mouths. We experienced the spray of waterfalls in our faces.

Floating in the cold pools

Floating in the cold pools

We gazed upon hidden ravines inaccessible to the average tourist. We heard the rush of cascading water and smelt the lush vegetation surrounding the gorge.

Or maybe, as a lover of the great outdoors, I was over-romanticising my connection with the natural environment.

For many canyoning was purely a fun adventure activity.

But for me it was more, a chance to get up close and personal with a stunning place.

Getting an adrenaline high as I leapt through the air to the pool below was merely an added bonus – an electrifying, rip-roaring bonus at that.