The steepest street in Britain.

The last few yards at the bottom of Vale Street, Totterdown, Bristol, is the steepest gradient of any road-traffic street in Britain. No red-blooded Bristolian takes cognisance of the rival claim made a few years ago by the upstart burghers of a certain lesser English city.

My old 2.0-litre Sierra went up here with no trouble, save for some flying gravel. It is unsettling to turn the corner at the bottom and see the surface of the street entirely filling the view forward through your windscreen. My next car, a 1.7 diesel Astra, took one look at this hill and died, necessitating an ignominious reversal. I don't feel inclined to try it in my current car, a little Fiat Punto.

Totterdown is an extraordinary bit of townscape. Much of it was demolished in 1973 for an as yet unbuilt road scheme (see elsewhere among these photographs), but most of it ...let us give thanks... is still standing.

The camera position is in Park Street. Isn't the parked car one of those Saabs with the V4 engines? I almost bought one once but it was a little beyond the reach of the Bentos exchequer at the time, and I had to make do with something else. I went for a test drive though and loved it. Definitely a car with character. I was told it had super-powerful heaters, being built for Scandanavian winters. Thursday 1st August 1996.

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Taken on May 5, 2011