Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 24 October 2019

Highs of Harlech: Town in Wales claims record for world's steepest street

It has usurped New Zealand's Baldwin Street for the title

Ffordd Pen Lech, in Harlech, has been named the world's steepest street. Google Earth Pro
Ffordd Pen Lech, in Harlech, has been named the world's steepest street. Google Earth Pro

It challenges anyone who faces its sharp incline, and now one street in the UK has taken on – and beaten – its biggest rival yet.

Ffordd Pen Llech, a winding road in the town of Harlech, North Wales, has usurped a vertiginous equivalent in New Zealand to be named the world's steepest.

The Welsh street was officially handed the title by Guinness World Records on Tuesday, following a campaign by local residents.

The gradient of the steepest part of Ffordd Pen Llech was registered at 37.45 per cent by Guinness officials, compared to the 35 per cent of Baldwin Street, the previous record holder in New Zealand's South Island city of Dunedin.

Residents of Harlech, in the county of Gwynedd, had liaised with the local council and employed an independent surveyor in order to secure the title.

"I first realised this street was a contender for the steepest street in the world when my car slid straight down with all four tyres locked," Gwyn Headley, who led the town's campaign for the title, told Guinness World Records.

“I feel utter relief and jubilation. I feel sorry for Baldwin Street and the New Zealanders, but steeper is steeper. At least they have the Rugby World Cup ... for the moment."

To qualify for the record, Ffordd Pen Llech had to meet a number of criteria; it must be a publicly accessible thoroughfare, fully paved, accessible to vehicles, and have buildings alongside it.

"The local community in Harlech has shown sheer willpower in their quest to earn Ffordd Pen Llech the title," said Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief of Guinness World Records, according to The Telegraph.

"I hope Harlech enjoys the celebrations and that the new title brings lots of people to the beautiful town, to experience the world's steepest street for themselves."

Dunedin's Baldwin Street, which had long enjoyed its world title, had used the achievement as a tourist draw, holding sightseeing tours and erecting celebratory signage.

However, not all its residents are sad at its dethroning. Liisa Tate-Manning told the New Zealand Herald she was looking forward to less disruption, revealing tourists had been known to park on her driveway and peek through her windows.

"It's not their fault, because they are brought here by tourist buses," she added.

Updated: July 16, 2019 11:05 AM

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