As It Happens

Welsh town steals world's steepest street record from New Zealand

The residents of the Welsh town of Harlech have succeeded in their bid to knock the "New Zealand off its little perch."

'I feel sorry for them, but a record is a record,' says Harlech resident Gwyn Headley

Gwyn Headley, left, and Sarah Badhan, right, stand on Ffordd Pen Llech with a certificate from Guinness World Records confirming that the road is the steepest street in the world. (Andrew Davies/Guinness World Records via AP)

The residents of the Welsh town of Harlech have succeeded in their bid to knock "New Zealand off its little perch."

The seafront town has been recognized for having the world's steepest street after a successful campaign by residents, beating out the former title holder of Dunedin, N.Z.

The Guinness World Records said Tuesday that Harlech's Ffordd Pen Llech has a gradient of 37.45 per cent, two percentage points steeper than Dunedin's Baldwin Street.

"The local community in Harlech has shown sheer will-power in their quest to earn Ffordd Pen Llech the title," Craig Glenday, Guinness World Records editor-in-chief, said in a press release.

"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."

The street of Ffordd Pen Llech in the seafront town of Harlech has a gradient of 37.45 per cent. (Submitted by Gwyn Headley)

Gwyn Headley, the Harlech resident and local architectural historian who launched the campaign, said he's filled with  "jubilation" now that the street has been recognized.

In a January interview with As It Happens, Headley pulled no punches when comparing his hometown hill to the competition's.

"They don't have a castle on their street," he said. "We've got a castle, we've got a song, we've got a lord — we even have a televison station named after our town."

After the victory, Headley continued to take swings at Dunedin. 

"I'm thrilled for us, but in every game there has to be a losing team," he said. "I feel sorry for them, but a record is a record, figures are figures – it's inarguable."

According to traveller.com, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull says he isn't worried about losing tourists on Baldwin Street.

"The street certainly hasn't got any less steep as a result of the decision," he said. 

Written by Sheena Goodyear with files from The Associated Press.

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