A man dubbed the ‘real life Spider Man’ has became the first to conquer one of Britain’s hardest climbs with the help of a £10 dinghy.

Neil Gresham, 41, scrambled up the 60-feet cliff known locally as the Forbidden Head, in Pembrokeshire, on July 30.

His Olympic medal-deserving effort was the culmination of a year’s hard work and six separate trips from his home in London to attempt the climb.

Neil Gresham
Neil Gresham, 41, scrambled up the 60-feet cliff known locally as the Forbidden Head, in Pembrokeshire, on July 30.

Thrill seeker: Neil Gresham, 41, grabs on for dear life as he scrambles up the 60-feet cliff known locally as the Forbidden Head, in Pembrokeshire, on July 30

Forbidden Head is the hardest solo deep water climb, which is a climb above water without the aid of any ropes, in Britain.

To even get to the climb Mr Gresham, who is also the UK’s most experienced climbing coach, had to abseil down 60ft and drop into the sea because of a 40 degree overhang on the cliff.

And as if being ropeless wasn’t hard enough Mr Gresham’s earlier efforts were hampered by the freezing water below sapping his energy and tiny feet and hand holes on the rock itself.

Eventually blood sweat and tears paid off and he completed the climb thanks to abseiling onto a £10 holiday dinghy which he abseiled onto to get to the cliff without getting wet.

Neil Gresham
Neil Gresham, 41, scrambled up the 60-feet cliff known locally as the Forbidden Head, in Pembrokeshire, on July 30.

Commitment: Mr Gresham has been preparing for the feat for a year and has made six trips from home in London to attempt the climb. He was helped by a £10 dinghy

Because of the day of the triumph – just days after the Opening Ceremony of London 2012 – he has dubbed his successful climb ‘The Olympiad’

Mr Gresham, who writes about climbing too, said the feeling of completing the climb was just like winning a gold medal.

He said: ‘You know when you we saw those athletes looking surprised or massively elated they’d got a gold or even a medal, that’s what I felt like.

‘When I got to the top of the climb I was literally jumping for joy, in fact I did actually jump off the cliff naked to celebrate, bar a sock to cover my modesty.

‘This type of climb is called a deep water solo because you are not using a rope and it’s above water.

Neil Gresham, 41, scrambled up the 60-feet cliff known locally as the Forbidden Head, in Pembrokeshire, on July 30.

Neil Gresham, 41, scrambled up the 60-feet cliff known locally as the Forbidden Head, in Pembrokeshire, on July 30.

Long drop: To even get to the climb Mr Gresham had to abseil down 60ft and drop into the sea because of a 40 degree overhang on the cliff

‘This was my sixth trip to the climb and on the day before I’d actually failed three times, it must have been the Olympic spirit surging around Britain that got me through it.

‘Because of the angle of the cliff we had to abseil down into the water and then you have to swim to the rock face, but the water saps energy from your muscles making the climb much harder.

‘I decided on the successful climb to use a £10 holiday dinghy I had bought and by using that I didn’t get too wet so I still had energy when I got to the rock face.’

Neil GreshamOlympic effort: Forbidden Head is the hardest solo deep water climb, which is a climb above water without the aid of any ropes, in Britain

Joining Mr Gresham on his daredevil mission was adventure photographer Lukasz Warzecha, 29, who had to hang inside the massive sea cave to get the perfect shot.

He said: ‘It actually took a series of abseils to get down to the right spot because of the difficulty of the angle.

‘I had two cameras on me and a Go Pro camera to catch the moment Neil made the climb, it was spectacular to watch.

‘Neil is the first person to have ever managed this climb.’

 

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