Climbing Mah On Shan in Hong Kong

Monday, 10 November 2014

Between my recent visit to Shanghai and to Guizhou Province in China I stopped in Hong Kong to meet some friends and climb a little mountain. Hong Kong has a surprising amount of countryside and walking trails and lots of peaks you can climb, to peer through the China pollution at the view.

IMG_8324 - MTR to Kowloon Tong - 540▲ I was staying at the Icon Hotel in Kowloon so I crossed the freeway to the Hung Hom MTR station, took a train to Kowloon Tong, changed to another train to Choi Hung …

IMG_8328 - bus to Sai Kung - 540▲ and from there took the 1A bus to Sai Kung.

IMG_8329 - waterfront, Sai Kung - 540▲ It’s a popular little dormitory suburb to Hong Kong with some busy waterfront activity.

IMG_8349 - top of Mah On Shan - 270◄  In Sai Kung I met a friend for breakfast and we set out to climb Mah On Shan, that’s me on the summit. At 702 metres it’s the second highest peak in the New Territories – although in fact the highest peak, Tai Mo Shan at 957 metres, has some subsidiary peaks and there are also higher peaks on Lantau Island, the island beside the airport.

The trail to the top followed stretches of the 100km long Maclehose Trail, Hong Kong’s best known walking trail. The trail is hardly crowded, but my Hong Kong friend reckons there are a lot more walkers than usual, that more Chinese Hong Kongers are out walking these days and that some of the walkers are mainlanders. We enjoy assorted views of Plover Cove Reservoir and Hebe Haven although the views are compromised by the inevitable pollution. ‘All coming down from the Mainland,’ my friend  insists.

IMG_8357 - hang glider - 540▲ We also come to an area popular with Hong Kong hang gliders.

IMG_8358 - joggers, descent from Mah on Shan - 270

◄ At one point we’re overtaken by these two joggers, keeping out of the sun even while they’re running. Avoiding the sun’s harmful rays can be a bit of an obsession. It’s also hot and by the end, five hours 38 minutes of walking by my friend’s watch, my left knee is twinging and I’m very thirsty. Usually I don’t need much water, but today the two bottles I’ve brought are not enough. From the finishing point I take the minibus back to the MTR station and get a bottle of water – and sink it – immediately. Transport is very easy, I’m back in Kowloon in a flash.

* Or perhaps they were expressing solidarity with the student protesters demanding more democratic representation in Hong Kong, it’s become known as the ‘umbrella revolution’ or ‘umbrella movement.’