Over the last five years the small sport crags along the A55 road in North Wales have been revitalised. Classic venues like Castle Inn and Llanddulas Cave received makeovers and the development of a 'new' crag in the form of the now popular Penmaenhead culminated in Michael Doyle's A55 Sport Climbs guide being published in 2010.
The area is now a popular option for sport ticking as the crags are friendly, convenient and non serious and many routes can be racked up in day. The area provides a wet weather alternative to the ever-popular big days out on the world class mountain and sea crags of North Wales.
Development of the area didn't stop with the publication of the guide however. In fact it has accelerated, prompting a second edition to be published imminently.
The development has been carried out mainly by a small group of obsessed activists including Michael Doyle, Chris Doyle, Norman Clacher, Tony Shelmerdine and the evergreen Colin Goodey whose new routing career now spans 7 decades.
Chris Doyle has been the man behind many of the new harder routes, which now range up to 8b.
Llanddulas Cave now sports 3 new sectors with The Tower being a rather significant addition that is guaranteed to be popular. Colin Struthers and Harold Walmsley have developed a new sector at Penmaenhead (Trench Wall) with 14 new routes. Colin Goodey returned to his old stomping ground Castle Inn and kick started proceedings on 5 new little walls which cater for low grade sport climbers and beginners.
Finally development at Craigiau Gigfran above Penmaenmawr unearthed the best route in the area. Gav Foster's Release the Hounds (7c) follows an immaculate overhanging, curving prow to a lovely headwall and it became an instant classic.