Between May 2018 and September 2018 Jöttnar Pro Team member Mark Thomas returned to his childhood hang out. 30 years on he has created over 2000ft of beautifully wild rock climbing on "one of the most stunning locations on the planet." But he didn't anticipate the power of childhood memories, or realise the emotions he had locked away on that remote piece of rock in Cardigan Bay.
I remember clearly that summer. The seas never really put on a show and my board kept its place in the surf hut, dreaming of autumn swells and the shift in the winds. A void appeared, a gap, it needed filling. A longing, a desire to seek the next thing. I knew it was out there, I just needed to commit.
I took the old tow rope from my mates’ farm. Gorse bushes seemed the most logical attachment point, why not? Although doubt set in as I descended, hand over hand, as to whether they really were the best option. I dangled, quite some distance above the howling seals and jagged rocks below. It didn’t seem a ludicrous idea; things were going quite well. Sort of ‘to plan’.
A whole new world swallowed me up, an oasis of wildness, rugged, full of mystery, haunted by history. A creation beyond my wildest dreams. I knew I would find it, or perhaps, it found me, maybe it saved me.
It’s funny how things work out. Thirty years on - armed with proper climbing stuff, rather than the old hemp rope and green flash gym daps - I’m reliving the dream. As I move between holds my mind moves between memories. Back then I was too young to have such memories, they hadn’t yet played themselves out. Now I drift in and out, flashbacks, of those who I took for granted, I never realised the important role they played. This is for them.
This land, it shaped me, softened my edges. Truth is, it’s totally flipping mega out here!
‘Amynedd’ – E1 5b, 100m (330ft), *** FA: Mark Thomas and Kev Griffiths 28/05/2018
‘Forgotten Magic’ – E1 5b, 100m (330ft),*** FA: Mark Thomas and Kev Griffiths 31/05/2018
‘Crib Pergrin’ – E2 5b, 60m (190ft),*** FA: Mark Thomas and Kev Griffiths 18/05/2018
‘Calon Cemaes’- HVS 5a, 30m (100ft),* FA: Mark Thomas and Kev Griffiths 15/05/2018
‘Shelter From The Storm’ – E3 5c, 100m (330ft),*** FA: Mark Thomas and Kev Griffiths 23/06/2018
‘Living On A Prayer’ – E4 6a, 100m (330ft),** FA: Mark Thomas and Kev Griffiths 03/07/2018
‘Faith’ – E1 5a, 100m (330ft),* FA: Mark Thomas (Solo) 31/08/18, 2ndAscent: Mark Thomas and Kev Griffiths 02/09/18