North Derbyshire man scales world-famous 450ft sea stack in extraordinary climbing feat
Sam Wragg, 24, of Marsh Lane, conquered the legendary Old Man of Hoy in just seven hours on Tuesday, April 19.
The builder and bricklayer was joined by his friend Steve Anderson to top the towering sandstone column on the Island of Hoy in Orkney, both placing protective equipment and clipping their ropes to it as they climbed.
An avid climber, Sam told the Derbyshire Times that he felt apprehensive before making the 137-metre ascent but that it has been a massive confidence boost.
He said: “We usually go away at Easter up to Scotland and my dad said there was a walk on the Orkney Isles that they were thinking about doing.
"I thought if we were going that, I knew the Old Man of Hoy was up there, so I said I wasn’t going that close and not climbing it.
"We got a bit put off by the weather in the morning. We were stopping practically at it, we camped there, and I woke up about 3am and it was bouncing down which wasn’t ideal.
"I woke up an hour later and it was still raining but not as heavy… another hour after that and it had stopped.
"When I first got up I was feeling as if I didn’t want to do it but I didn’t know why. It wasn’t that I was scared or nervous – I didn’t know if I was in the right mindset.”
Orkney’s Old Man of Hoy is one of the tallest sea stacks in the UK and has been a mecca for intrepid climbers for more than 50 years.
It was first climbed in 1966 and consists five pitches – a steep section of a route – with resting ledges inbetween.
Sam added: “I lead the two longest pitches but one was the hardest pitch of the climb, which is called the crux. I wasn’t feeling it but once I started it all changed, I stopped thinking about not doing it and started thinking about getting to the top.
"It’s been a big confidence booster... I’ve now got a harder climb in me I think.”