Wilson Trail stages 3 and 4

Continuing from the previous weekend, Rita and I decided to carry on along the Wilson Trail. Having done the first 2 sections on Hong Kong island, we moved over to Kowloon and the New Territories.

The Wilson Trail has come in for some criticism for its poor direction signs, and I think a lot of that criticism is entirely justified. Yes there are some areas where you get a sign every 10 yards. But these tend to be in areas where’s there’s only one path and you’d need a machete to go far wrong. Unfortunately when you get to a junction, or a village with a multitude of paths, the signs tend to be more problematic. At best they will be on the wrong side of a post, so you only see them if you look back having missed the turning. At worst they are conspicuous by their absence. Stage 3 is among the worst offenders.

Stage 3 starts at Yau Tong. I checked the Internet before setting out to find out exactly where it starts and I found 3 alternatives, all of which were different from the route I took from Lam Tin the last time I walked this section. Armed with 2 of these suggestions and a couple of maps, we opted for exit A from Yau Tong MTR, then headed through Yau Tong Estate to a roundabout. Left there and immediately right on to the road up the Chinese Cemetery and we were on our way. We decided to ignore the 2 forts on Devil’s Peak, but these are worth a look if you’ve not been there before. One is  WWII era Pottinger Battery, which was there to protect the access to the harbour. The other is Gough Battery, which dates back to 1898 and is at the top of the hill.

You then drop down Devil’s Peak and come across a couple of ambiguous signs that left us walking along a Water Services catchment and climbing over a barrier to get to a set of steps leading down to a road. Cross that and you start heading uphill to a large white board which you can see for miles. Along the ridge, then a left turn takes you past a really strange shrine, with lots of statues made out of wire frame covered by cement. There are all sorts of things depicted, including soldiers (apparently Japanese, Kuo Min Tang and Communist), turtles, monkeys, deer, and a man who looked as though he was indulging in an opium pipe.  According to an old article I later found in the Standard someone called Lee Chun-bor had found ths shrine in around 1988 and had then built the scuptures.

At the foot of the hill we went through a fairly large village, and I have to say it’s not the nicest village I’ve ever seen in Hong Kong. At the main road there is a big map for you to look at. Unfortunately it is so badly faded as to be completely useless. After a bit of guesswork we crossed the road and took the small road straight on. Fortunately this turned out to be correct and after a few ups and downs we went through another village. This time there there were at least 2 paths through it, but fortunately they joined up again later, since we were on the wrong one. Then there is quite a pleasant walk for a short while along a stream before you arrive at the finish point for stage 3 – the Clearwater Bay road at Chan Lan Shui (or Tseng Lan Shui – I’ve seen both used).

Stage 4 starts across the road and after some effort, we found our way to a path leading up a nice wooded hillside, and then down the other side. Along here is a large white house which looks as though it’s being renovated, although it looked like it was being renovated the last time I was here nearly 12 months ago. It’s quite a big place, so perhaps it’s some sort of religious retreat rather than a private residence.

Further on we started the long drag up the back of Fei Ngo Shan. This goes on for nearly 2km and is the steepest part of the hike, but we were rewarded with some great views. We then followed the road down to Shatin Pass, ignoring the notices and barriers that said that the road was blocked by a landslip. The landslip happened during the heavy rains in June, and they have repaired it enough that you can walk through, although the barriers they have erected don’t encourage it. Unfortunately there are no signs suggesting an alternative route, which is not particularly helpful.

Stage 4 ends at Shatin Pass, but from there we walked down to Wong Tai Sin, took a quick look at the temple complex and then caught the MTR to Jenny’s (Hin Ho curry restaurant) in Sai Wan Ho for a well needed beer and curry.

Stage 3 is 8km and we took 2:hours 15 minutes. Stage 4 is supposedly 8.6km, and took us 2 hours 20 minutes. Temperature: 23-24C. Humidity: 70%.

About Neil Hambleton

I am a British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) Advanced Diver and an Open Water Instructor. I have been diving since 1992, after joining South China Diving Club (SCDC), which is a Hong Kong-based branch of the BSAC. Having moved to New Zealand, I am now a member of BSAC New Zealand.
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4 Responses to Wilson Trail stages 3 and 4

  1. Angus says:

    Dear Neil, thanks for the commentary. I did Wilson III about 3 weeks ago and could not agree with you more regarding the terrible signposting. We are doing stage IV tomorrow which, according to all the websites, is supposed to be tough, although from your blog, you seemed to take it in your stride… Weather is set for 32 and 85% humidity so starting at 8am.

  2. Neil Hambleton says:

    It’s a long drag up Fei Ngo Shan, but good views at the top. You’re doing it in much hotter and more humid weather than us, so I hope it went well. When we walked the whole trail in one go a few months later, we did stage 4 at night and arrived at the top for dawn, which was nice.

  3. Angus says:

    It was hard but worth it – 5,6 and 7 next week. Hoping to try to find the path you took from Mount Butler to Big Wave Bay (via Mount Parker) next weekend. May need your help with the starting point…

  4. Neil Hambleton says:

    I’d have to look at a map to remind myself where it is. Anyway good luck with that.

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