Baldwin St facing steepest challenge

Backpackers Sabrina Zanin,  of Italy, and Malte Sturmann,  of Germany,  celebrate getting to the...
Backpackers Sabrina Zanin, of Italy, and Malte Sturmann, of Germany, celebrate getting to the top of Baldwin St. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Dunedin's claim  to being home to the world’s steepest street is facing a fresh challenge — this time from the Welsh.

Residents of the small  seaside town of Harlech are making a bid for one of their streets  to be named the world’s steepest.

They believe Ffordd Pen Llech is 1% steeper than Dunedin’s Baldwin St and they want  Guinness World Records to assess their claim, and knock the current world record holder off its perch.

At its steepest, Baldwin St’s world record gradient stands at 36% but the BBC website reports Harlech residents claim their street has a gradient of 37%.

To be eligible for the steepest-street record Guinness World Records guidelines state the road must be open to  both pedestrians and motorised traffic.

A gradient warning sign at the top of the road gives a slope reading of 40% but it is normal practice for United Kingdom highway authorities to round off gradients to avoid confusion.

Ffordd Pen Llech. Image: Google
Ffordd Pen Llech. Image: Google
A sign also warns the road is unsuitable for motorists and its steepest part only allows traffic to go up.

Speaking to the BBC, Harlech resident Sarah Badhan said she hoped Guinness World Records officials would rule in favour of the road, which is already recognised as the steepest sealed road in the United Kingdom."I would hope that they [Guinness World Records] would come and at least assess it.

"It would be nice if they’d come and check it out," she said.

Two backpackers, Sabrina Zanin, of Italy, and Malte Sturmann, of Germany, resting at the top of Baldwin St yesterday, were confident it would keep its world’s steepest title.

"I think people should keep coming. It’s a pretty impressive street," Mr Sturmann said.

It is not the first time the street has had to fend off challengers.

As recently as 2017, freelance data analyst John Murray claimed St Mary’s Hill in Chester, England had a gradient of just over 37%, but his claim failed because the hill is inaccessible to vehicles. Other claims have also been made but so far none has been recognised by  Guinness World Records.

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