10 Jan 2019

Dunedin's Baldwin St faces a steep challenge

1:50 pm on 10 January 2019

By Tim Miller for the Otago Daily Times

A Welsh challenge to Dunedin's claim as the home of the world's steepest street has begun.

Dunedin's Baldwin St (left) has been challenged by Ffordd Pen Llech in Wales.

Dunedin's Baldwin St (left) has been challenged by Ffordd Pen Llech in Wales. Photo: 123rf.com/ITV News

Residents of the small seaside town of Harlech are making a bid for one of their streets, Ffordd Pen Llech, to be named the world's steepest.

One of the men tasked with surveying the claim, Myrddyn Phillips, told the Otago Daily Times he and two others would start assessing the claim that the street had a steeper gradient than Baldwin St today. It would take a few days for them to gather all the information needed before it was sent off to the Guinness World Records to assess the claim, he said.

Some of the town's residents believe Ffordd Pen Llech is 1 percent steeper than Baldwin St, and they want to knock the current world record holder off its perch.

At its steepest, Baldwin St's world record gradient stands at 36 percent, but the Harlech residents claim their street has a gradient of 37 percent.

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

It is also based on the maximum gradient over a 10 metre span, comparing the vertical rise to the horizontal distance.

A sign warns the Welsh road is unsuitable for motorists and its steepest part only allows traffic to travel uphill.

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

It is not the first time Baldwin St has been challenged - a claim in 2016 that St Mary's Hill in Chester was steeper was dismissed by Guinness because it is inaccessible to vehicles.

This article first appeared on the Otago Daily Times website.