‘... but the SatNav said go straight ahead’

The fire brigade towing the stricken car back to the top of the donkey path
The fire brigade towing the stricken car back to the top of the donkey path

THE donkey path in Whitby certainly made an ass out of one motorist who had to be rescued by the fire brigade after his sat nav directed him down the steep, narrow cobbles.

It made for a memorable first trip to Whitby for Birmingham tourists Paul and Wendy Kendall who were just yards from their destination – a holiday cottage on Henrietta Street.

After making it three-quarters of the way down, Paul realised it was too steep and dangerous to continue and attempted to reverse back to the top of the path but burnt the clutch out on his Vauxhall Corsa and ended up ramming it into a wall to stop it rolling towards Church Street which was packed with tourists on Friday afternoon.

Whitby’s fire crew had to use its specialist LandRover to pull the car backwards to the top of the path while also negotiating some sharp corners on the way back up.

Paul told the Whitby Gazette: “I got so far and thought it is too dangerous, I saw the incline and thought if I lose it there are shoppers and people down there and I will probably end up killing somebody.

“The sign at the top said access, the cottage was only 375 yards away so I thought that was the way. It was scary but I was not bothered about the car but the people.”

It is the second time in just a few weeks a car has got stuck on the donkey path, prompting calls for clearer signage or even a bollard to prevent vehicles going down.

PC Harry Baker who was at the scene also attended the last incident which he said was much harder to deal with because it was raining and the cobbles were slippery.

He said: “The last time it was wet and we literally could not move the car at all. The fire service had to put weight on the front and a recovery driver managed to reverse it back up. The problem on this occasion is he has burnt his clutch out and it is a longer way down.

“What needs to happen – with the number of times is has happened – is for the signage to be changed so people can’t go down.

“Drivers should know they can’t drive down here but a lot don’t know what the signs mean.

“It could do with a bollard.”

North Yorkshire county councillor, Joe Plant said: “I will be talking to highways officers to see if there is anything we can do to make the signs clear but we will have to consult with the residents in that area.

“Sat Navs are not 100 per cent and there does need to be some common sense with them.”