A PREES man has proven he has a head for heights after retaining of the world's more stranger titles last month.

Daniel Whelan, who is 21, has retained his 25m World Pole Climbing Championship at the spectacular event held recently at Ragley Estate, Alcester on September 22.

He admitted he was aware of the high level of expectation placed on him as being the champion but he overcame a slip to seal his title once again.

“I was very nervous going into this year’s competition and I was aware, being the reigning champion, that there was a big expectation when I came to climb from both fellow competitors and spectators," said Daniel, who who also a tree surgeon.

“You get three chances to climb and on my final and most important climb, I unfortunately slipped.

"Although I managed to recover, I was unsure if I’d managed to make the time. Luckily I had so it was relief all-round.

“I would also like to say a massive thank you to my sponsor Ed Lewis of Lewis Arborcare who supported me at the event.”

The championship involves a frenetic against-the-clock climb to the top of the staggeringly high pole. The pole is a Douglas fir tree, stripped of its branches, with climbers using spiked shoes for their ascent.

There are no holes or notches on the pole to secure the feet and a strop is wrapped around the pole to attach the climber.

There are two heats to put the climbers into speed order for the final run when the fastest race against each other. Daniel’s personal best is 9.70 seconds and is very close to the standing world record time of 9.61 seconds.

Daniel began climbing at the age of 14 when he used to join his pole climbing grandad, George Tipping, who took up the sport at the age of 65.

George went on to raise £40,000 for Marie Curie through his pole climbing feats and only retired last year at the age of 85.

Pole climbing practice for Daniel is something of a daily pursuit as he is a self-employed tree surgeon. He began his competitive career at the age of 16 and took third place in the World Championships when he was just 17.

In 2016, he took the top spot in the championships which are held every two years and he was thrilled to take the title again this year.

Daniel was presented with a trophy together with prize money and vouchers from the event sponsor, Husqvarna.

This year, he has competed at a number of pole climbing events including those held at the Royal Three Counties Show, Royal Welsh and the Great Yorkshire Show.

Last weekend, Daniel successful retained his British Championship title.

Next year, he is planning to complete around Europe and Australia and is seeking further sponsorship. Anyone who may be interested in sponsoring him should call Dan on 07873 771447.

Meanwhile, it was also a special day for Daniel’s girlfriend, Emma Cakebread, who is 23, also of Prees, who took the Ladies World Championship title.

She only took up the sport three years ago after supporting Dan at a number of events. Emma also recently became Ladies British Champion.

The Pole Climbing Championships are strictly for people fit and able enough to take part, and experts too.