DRIVERS are regularly driving down the ancient narrow donkey path from Whitby Abbey as their satellite navigation systems are sending them this way.
Jon Short (39) from Rawdon, Leeds ran into trouble in his new Volvo in which his wife and children were passengers at the end of August.
The path runs parallel to the 199 steps which lead to the Abbey.
Elaine and Kenneth Sendel have run the Abbey Steps Tea Rooms at the foot of the abbey steps, for two years and their kitchen overlooks the path.
They say vehicles, mainly cars but also vans, come down the path on a regular basis and get scratched and scraped and sometimes leave spillages of oil on the road.
When Mr Short, who works in finance, became stuck on the steep incline outside the tea rooms, Mrs Sendell came out with some pieces of wood to help make a temporary ramp.
He told the Whitby Gazette: "My sat nav system told me to go the wrong way and obviously I am feeling very embarrassed about it.
"Obviously if I had known what it was going to be like at the bottom I would never have come that way."
About eight men came out of a nearby pub and helped manhandle the car from its virtually vertical position into a horizontal one. Mr Short was then able to drive on and park to visit a friend who lives on Henrietta Street.Mr Short said:"The Satnav sends you down Church St, but signs say pedestrian zone so we followed the alternative direction via Abbey.
"The sign near the abbey sends you down if you need access -to a car repair garage, I guess.
"We are second visitors to our friends alone, that have had this problem.
"I was very grateful to the local shops and pubs for their help. The people of Whitby recognise a person in dire straits and are quick to help. I would love to thank them all, especially the regulars of The Board Inn. As I am not from Whitby, I was so taken by their kindness, I left money with my good friend Duncan Waller to buy them all a beer to say, thank you.Via the paper, it is nice to do this in person."
Mrs Sendel said: " We have been here for about two years and we regularly see vehicles come down the path, probably about three a week. It is not out of the ordinary.
"The council came and put signs up saying no vehicles except for access in about May but having that sign at the bottom seems a bit pointless as the cars are coming from the top.
"Most of our customers and passers-by seem astonished but have sympathy with the drivers.
"We haven't seen any accidents or people hurt but obviously it's a busy area and a tight spot
"We see people get very flustered with people crowding round to look."
A spokesperson from North Yorkshire Council Highways Department was unavailable for comment.