Destinations

Dunedin reclaims Guinness World Record for steepest street

Christian Fleetwood

Baldwin Street has been reinstated as the world’s steepest street, much to the delight of all mad buggers willing to scale it.

Guinness World Records earlier this month reversed its 2019 decision to strip Baldwin Street of its decade-long record, when it was awarded to Ffordd Pen Llech in Harlech, Wales.

The new results confirmed Baldwin Street has the steepest gradient in the world at a cramp-inducing 34.8 per cent, compared to Ffordd Pen Llech’s 28.6 per cent.

Home to attractions like the Otago Peninsula, Larnach Castle and scenic Dunedin Railways, the New Zealand city of Dunedin is found on the country’s South Island.

Baldwin Street is counted among the region’s albeit whacky attractions, with the street previously home to the annual Jaffa Race at the Cadbury Chocolate Carnival and the Baldwin Street Gutbuster.

It’s also a frequented haunt for tourist shots.

 

It is unclear how many travellers visit the street each year; however, Travel Weekly has contacted New Zealand Tourism for clarification.

According to Guinness World Records, the decision to reinstate Baldwin Street was reached following the completion of an extensive review of an appeal, brought by Dunedin surveyor Toby Stoff.

Stoff had argued that because the record-setting Welsh street’s bid was measured on the inside verge of a curve, it greatly exaggerated Ffordd Pen Llech’s steepness and disadvantaged Baldwin Street, which is straight.

According to kiwi outlet Otago Daily Times, Stoff campaigned hard for the appeal, even travelling to Wales to measure Ffordd Pen Llech himself.

After checking it out, and gathering expert opinion, Guinness World Record’s said Stoff was right and that it would now use the methodology suggested by him, of taking measurements from the centreline of streets, in the future.

Stoff thanked Guinness for its consideration and said he held no “bad feeling” toward the people of the Welsh town of Harlech, home to the now-deposed Ffordd Pen Llech.

“Sincere thanks to Guinness World Records for considering our findings,” Stoff said.

“I had the great joy of visiting [Harlech] last November. It is a wonderful heritage town full of friendly people.”

Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins told ODT the decision to reinstate Baldwin Street was “great news”, and thanked Stoff for his efforts.

“In these tumultuous times, there’s something strangely comforting in having things that are enduring,” he told ODT.

“It holds a place of pride in the city’s psyche and it’s helpful to be able to celebrate that.”

Guinness World Records editor-in-chief Craig Glenday thanked the surveyor for his work.

“We’re very grateful to the Baldwin Street appeals team, led by surveyor Toby Stoff, for making us aware of a rare gap in our stipulations and we’re pleased to see the title return to New Zealand,” Glenday said.

“We’re also very grateful to the Ffordd Pen Llech team for their application and good humour throughout this process.”


Featured image: iStock.com/RuslanKaln



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