Another salvo in battle for steepest street supremacy

Dunedin software developer Matthew Kraemer is hosting a light-hearted event at Baldwin St this...
Dunedin software developer Matthew Kraemer is hosting a light-hearted event at Baldwin St this weekend to campaign for it to reclaim the title of world's steepest street. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Dunedin is not going to take the loss of the world's steepest street title lying down.

A city surveyor has written to Guinness World Records raising a technical issue with the way Ffordd Pen Llech, in the North Wales town of Harlech, was measured before it was awarded the title of world's steepest street.

Meanwhile, a light-hearted social media storm has erupted in opposition to the winding Welsh way taking the title held by Baldwin St for more than 30 years.

Clark Fortune McDonald Dunedin branch manager and licensed surveyor Toby Stoff said the fact Ffordd Pen Llech was measured on the inside went against good surveying practice, as road gradients should be measured at the centre line.

"I don't think they did it in a mean or nasty way ... They looked at the letter of the law and thought it could be 10m apart.

"There are proper ways of measuring roads and things happen around curves I don't think Guinness was aware of.''

He contacted the company via an online form but had not heard back as of yesterday evening.

Mr Stoff emphasised he did not think there was any malicious intent from Guinness or Harlech residents.

He thought both streets were "awesome'' due to their widely varying origins.

"Ffordd Pen Llech came about by hundreds, maybe thousands, of years of use over time, and it just evolved naturally and it followed the obvious line of least resistance up this hill.

"Whereas Baldwin St, in true Victorian fashion, was just slammed on to the world's surface with no regard for topography whatsoever.''

Judging by social media, Mr Stoff is far from the only southerner determined not to take the Welsh street's victory lying down.

Dunedin man Matthew Kraemer has organised a "Baldwin St Parade'' on Saturday.

All going well, it will feature the filming of a video where a group of Welsh people will have a large "world's steepest street'' sign torn from their hands by a horde of "tribally face-painted gingers'', Mr Kraemer said, although he was having issues trying to organise the closure of the street at short notice.

The software developer has even compiled gradient data from social fitness network Strava, based on the journeys of hundreds of cyclists on both streets.

He said the data showed Baldwin St had 111m steeper than a 25% gradient and a maximum grade of 31.7%, while Ffordd Pen Llech maxes out at 25m of 25% grade.

Another social media event, titled "We make Baldwin St steepest again'', had 835 people confirmed to attend as of yesterday evening.

Scheduled for next Thursday, the event's description promised drastic action to help the North East Valley street retake its crown.

"We are going to get all the concrete we can find and pour it down from the top of the street to increase the gradient, and there is nothing the Welsh town of Harlech can do to stop us!''

One of the page administrators, University of Otago student Ben Russell, said he was not expecting hundreds of people or any concrete mixers to turn up next week.

george.block@odt.co.nz


 

Comments

Good luck Toby Stoff. The fact Guinness allows the Welsh town to get their own surveyors is dubious. We need to keep the fight up.

How Llech Walesa is our Valley, bach? Solidarnosc!

Potocki {potoski}.

 

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