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House of Maths School Workshops Primary & Secondary in Dorset & South - TOP THINGS FOR MATHEMATICIANS TO DO IN WALES


1) COUNTING SHEEP: Wales is famous for its sheep, but are there more sheep or more people in Wales? Have a guess, answer later on!

More sheep or people?

2) VISIT THE STEEPEST STREET IN THE WORLD!! with a calf-busting gradient of 37.45% the steepest street in the world is Ffordd Pen Llech in Harlech, North Wales, toppling Baldwin Street, New Zealand from the number 1 spot on July 16th 2019. It’s one-way: you can drive down it (in theory at least) but not up it. It’s possible to cycle from bottom to top in just under a minute if you have legs of steel and a very low gear!

Steepest Street Harlech


The 37.45% is the “vertical rise as a percentage of the horizontal going”. In plain English: for every 100m across (horizontal), you go up 37.45m. Equivalently, it has a gradient of 0.3745 (“across one, up 0.3745”), an arctan ratio of 1:2.67 (“across 2.67, up 1”) or the road makes, on average, an average angle of 20.53° with the horizontal.

A gradient of 100% would not mean the road was vertical: it would mean the road is at of 45° to the horizontal (see picture).

How gradients are measured

3) VISIT Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (Anglesey, North Wales). At 58 characters long this is the second longest place name in the world. Please note the eleven l’s, including a quadruple “l” from characters 38-41. Only in Taumatawhakatangi­hangakoauauotamatea­turipukakapikimaunga­horonukupokaiwhen­uakitanatahu (New Zealand – 85 characters) can you find a longer place name!


4) VISIT CAERNARFON CASTLE: in Gywnedd, North Wales. Edward I (“Longshanks”) built many Welsh Fortresses during his reign between 1272-1307; Caernarfon is the one with the iconic octagonal towers. Unfortunately there is no discount off the admission price for wearing an “oct” themed T-shirt.

Octagonal Towers


Well done if you guessed there are more sheep than people in Wales: 9.8 million sheep compared to 3.0 million people (figures correct 2016).

Thanks for reading and til next time: HAPPY HOLIDAYS IN WALES!