Friday, 16 March 2012

Steepest Road in the UK?

I have always told people that ‘Llech’ or ‘Penllech’ in Harlech is the steepest road in the UK. I feel that this might even be a stronger claim to fame than the castle itself. I had heard about this ranking from friends and family but had never actually had the confidence to check this fact- as a lover of Harlech I was slightly worried it might not be true.

It was time to resort to what I like to call ‘the Mother of all sources’.....Google. Having Googled ‘Steepest Road in UK’ I was worried when ‘Hard Knott Pass in Eskdale Cumbria’ kept reappearing in the search, however Harlech was showing up too....Thank God! Hard Knott Pass signs a gradient of 30% so I decided to check out Harlech’s road and see if it was steeper.  
The bottom of Llech undearneath Harlech Castle

I have walked up Llech (that is what the locals call it) hundreds of times before. Harlech is split into two levels, locals have labelled them ‘uptown ‘ and ‘downtown’ and there are three roads connecting them. St David’s Hill is the steadiest but Twtil and Llech are both extremely steep. You can only drive down Llech and it known as the steepest hill in the town but I was now on a mission to make sure that it beat Hard Knott Pass...sorry but its local pride!

My mother is a keen walker so I bought her with me along with my Yorkshire Terrier ‘Sunny’ to enjoy the experience. The name Harlech is actually comprised of two words- ‘hardd’ and ‘llech’ meaning beautiful rock, so this road really is an integral part of the town’s essence.  The walk up Llech is never particularly easy, from the bottom the sharpest hairpin turn is first to ‘greet’ you; however after this the walk does get slightly easier.
Me and Sunny at the bottom of the hill

Stopping for a rest!
I did notice my little dog’s legs slow down and around half way up I needed a little rest, I also found that walking up backwards can help….although remember, this can lead to accidents.  Now, this road isn’t the type to be fearured in a fancy car ad, it is fairly short and I view it more of a hill than a road. The walk only takes around ten minutes, the drive down might possibly take longer....I think it would take me around an hour I was being so careful!
Lovely view in the background!

Llech has always been just a slightly difficult but quick way to get ‘uptown’ but for the purpose of this blog I took time to appreciate’s actually a very pretty road and a lovely way to walk in the centre of Harlech. An added bonus is you reach the top you appear just across the road from the ‘Lion Hotel Pub’ which is very convenient when you are gasping for a drink.

As I reached the top of the road I saw the sign...40%!!! Yes it’s (kind of) official.....Llech is (possibly) the steepest road in the UK.....for the purposes of any legal trouble I might get into I can’t actually confirm that we have the steepest road in the UK, but let me reassure you it’s not flat!!!
The 'proof'!

1 comment:

  1. i didn't know thats what Harlech meant! poor sonny getting tired :(