Well I got all my work in for now so thats a great weight off my shoulders. Went to Penmaen Head the other day. For those who don't know, it's a recently developed sport crag off the A55. When you park up at the top you're not sure whats in store but it feels quirky already. As you head down the steps past heaps of rubbish (including a bike, a vaccum, an old lamp and probably a few syringes) you really need to set optimism thrusters to 'Goldthorp' standard, to prepare yourself for the sight of the crag. Upon first aquintance this rubbley, little flytip looks disappointing to say the least. But as you traverse along between crag and council estate, flowstone! This most mythical of rocks drapes down the walls, animated by its semblance. Drawn in now, the rock appears better than before, and round the corner the routes are more impressive in stature.
This crag is just what North Wales needs, a mid-grade sport venue with lots to go at, and an outlook that makes you really appreciate the mountains. Going for a milage day I managed to knock out 8 routes including; Fathers for Justice (6c), The Quarrywoman (6b+), and the neo-classic, Flowstone Shuffle (6b+). The crag is really worth a visit to up your sport grade, or get in the early season mileage. One bit of beef I have with the crag is the bolting, its an good venue for easier routes and learning to climb, so I think bearing this in mind, the bolts should be close together with limited deckout potential. This is not the case, the harder routes are bolted a bit better, but generally the bolts are a bit to far apart to be experimenting with gravity.
The three things I gained from the day were; reinforcement of 'the thumb theory', the reassurance of the massive benefit of high feet and wide feet, and finally, i felt 'the flow'. Much like the rock here, after 3 or 4 routes I was really flowing, climbing instinctively and without hesitation. Recently I've been noticing a tendency to hang around not really doing much other that worrying about what's ahead. This day I was moving with gusto and impetus, from one hold to the next, it felt so good.
The 'joy of movement' is much talked about, but rarely felt (imo). This day it happened for me. I remember Johnny Dawes talking about how it happens once or twice a year, everything works and intuition guides. I reckon this is wrong. I think you can feel it from getting 'in the zone'. To get 'in the zone', my theory is to do a warm-up route followed by a harder route. Now drop back down a grade or two and as the climbing feels easier you can really flow and commit. It's now turned on and you can apply the flow for the rest of the day.
Give it a try and let me know what you think! Did this route combo work? Did you feel 'the flow'? no, well you got a better idea then, smartarse?