A Vicar Overcomes His Vertigo To Climb 165-feet to the Top Of His Church Spire, Calling it ‘Exhilarating’

One English vicar just overcame his fear of heights—by climbing 165-feet to the top of his church spire.

Reverend Sam Leach says he’s always had a fear of heights, but he wanted to set himself free by undertaking the ultimate vertigo challenge, while raising money for urgently needed repairs at his church in Devon.

He attached himself to a rope on Thursday and successfully scaled the church spire all the way to the top, despite feeling violently sick at the prospect.

Sam joined three others in climbing up and down in just under an hour. The feeling he had at the top? It was “exhilarating.”

“Actually,” says Sam, “I would do it again. The view was so amazing looking out over the town center.

“The fear this morning when I first got up there left my knees trembling. It was unnerving seeing a 25m (82ft) ladder on top of ten flights of scaffolding.

In the past, even going up an escalator was too much without hanging onto the rail.

“I was not worried about my safety as I was attached to a rope, I was worried about whether I would freeze on the rungs and not be able to go up or down.”

“I was really nervous but, strangely, not quite as terrified as I thought I would be. Maybe it was people praying or something, but when I got to it, I just looked straight ahead. I was not looking up as that’s what makes me go giddy.”

Sam’s tip for others with a fear of heights? Just focus “on one step at a time.”

Hospitality Is The Key
Sam’s church, St Mary Magdalene in Torquay, is covered in scaffolding at present for external repairs which were funded by a grant from the UK’s National Lottery Heritage Fund.

But while the work has been ongoing, $9,000 (£7,000) in new repairs became necessary in the kitchen—a vital part of the church’s outreach to the community.

Hospitality is a key value of the church, Sam says. ”It’s not about the building, it’s what we can offer the community—and the kitchen is vital to that.”

If you’d like to donate to Sam’s church.