In a world of racist tweeting presidents, climate crisis and cricketing travesty, what you need in your life is this palliative conversation about Dunedin’s Baldwin Street losing its crown as world’s steepest street to Ffordd Pen Llech in Wales
The slope of Baldwin Street, Dunedin, curled into a melancholy frown this week with the announcement that it had been usurped as the world’s steepest street. Ffordd Pen Llech, which undulates steeply through the town of Harlech in Wales, has outdone Dunedin’s vertiginous beauty by a smidgen (1:2.67 beats 1:2.86) over the steepest 10-metre stretch.
A local resident called Glynn is quoted in the Guinness World Records media release saying, “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.”
This morning on RNZ’s Morning Report, New Zealand’s steepest broadcaster, Kim Hill, interrogated a leader of the Welsh campaign to rob Dunedin of its title. Her name is Sarah Badham. Below, a transcript of their exchange, or is it an undiscovered new short play by Alan Bennett?
Kim Hill: Sarah Badham co-led the Welsh campaign to share – no, to take – the title of steepest street for Ffordd Pen Llech. Would be nice if they’d shared it. And she’s on the line now. Hello there.
Sarah Badham: Hello.
Oh, thank you very much.
I don’t think we can share it, because definitely you’ve got a steeper street.
Oh, I know, but it’s only like 2%, isn’t it? You’ve still got a very steep street there. It looks really impressive.
Come on, Sarah, pull yourself together. Steep is steep. That’s what we’re talking about.
It is. It is.
There are winners and losers in life and you’re winners and we’re losers.
Of course, of course. It is steeper, and that’s what the measurements shows.
And there’s no point in regretting it now. The damage is done.
Oh dear, like. Really. And after the cricket result, I do feel bad, like. But we didn’t anticipate that. We didn’t expect the double-whammy for you guys.
Perhaps you could get your roller out, and try and reduce your gradient, and that would make everybody happy.
Oh, I don’t think it would be possible because that road has been there for maybe a thousand years, and it’s literally a rock face. I don’t think you can make it less steep
Whereas ours might be the steepest city street. We could claim that title.
You could absolutely claim that title. You could claim the title of the steepest street in the southern hemisphere. You know, it’s a fantastic street.
No, I think we’ll go for the steepest city street in the world, Sarah. I think that’s what we’ll do. Have you ordered, you know, signage, declaring yourselves the steepest street yet?
Yes, some of the businesses on the high street have, yeah. The businesses on the top of the street have. Everybody’s very excited to let the world now.
Harlech has got a lot going for it. I wouldn’t have imagined this is going to draw any more people to Harlech than already visit.
I think there’s always room for more tourism. We rely on it so heavily here. We’re in Snowdonia National Park. So there’s very little industry. Tourism really is our main industry.
Excuse me for saying so but you don’t sound terribly Welsh.
No. No! I know. I was born and raised here and I moved to Northern Ireland for university, and stayed there for almost 20 years. And just returned to Harlech about five years ago because my family was still here, and my heart was always in Wales.
We’ll have to give you a bit of time to get that Welsh accent back then.
Oh, I know. Yn dal i siarad Cymraeg. So I said: “I still speak Welsh.”
Well, for the record, could you say the name of the street for us, because we’ve been approximating it in inadequate fashion.
Yes I will. It’s Ffordd Pen Llech.
Excellent and congratulations once again. Don’t feel bad. We can live with it, we are strong.
Oh, you are. You are. Absolutely.