A bit late to post this but in January, a week after the extensive hill fires in Pat Sin Leng, Rita and I set off to hike the final 3 stages of the Wilson Trail, which go up and over Pat Sin Leng.
We’d covered the first 3.5km of stage 8 a couple of weeks earlier, so we started from Tai Wo KCR station. First of all we had to overcome the incredibly confusing signposts, one of which was at a crossroads with the Wilson Trail signed in all 4 directions! We ended up taking a big detour around Parc Versailles, along Mui Shu Hang Road. Finally we found the path and headed up Cloudy Hill. On the way up we got some good views over Hong Lok Yuen, and back over Tai Wo to the earlier parts of stage 8. It’s a long drag up Cloudy Hill up a seemingly never-ending set of steps. A couple of lower peaks before the final climb up to the transmitter station at the top, which marks the end of stage 8. Since there is no transport up there, if you’re just planning to do stage 8, you’re better off carrying on and finishing at Hok Tau Reservoir.
After a quick water break we headed down an incredibly steep road, before branching off on the path down to Hok Tau Reservoir. The reservoir is quite small, but very pretty, surrounded by shady trees it is a welcome break from the exposed hillside you climb up from Tai Wo. After a short stroll half way round the reservoir, it’s back uphill again, this time up towards the ridge that becomes Pat Sin Leng. It’s a long, steep climb up a rocky path, that finally heads up on to the ridge line. All along here we could see the effects of the previous weekend’s fire. At one point we came across one of the signposts that was lying on the ground, partially burnt, but still clearly recognisable. A previous hiker had laid it down pointing in roughly the right direction.
The views were good from up here, we could see Luk Keng where we were hoping to finish, as well as Shenzhen and the former Russian aircraft carrier, the Minsk, in the background. Pressing on along the ridge we came Pat Sin Leng itself, which refers to 8 minor peaks over a 1km distance, each named after a Chinese god. Rita carefully explained to me who all these were, and I promptly forgot, as I was more concerned with putting one foot in front of the other and getting to the end. Finally we reached the final peak, above Tai Mei Tuk, and the end of stage 9.
Steep steps down took us to the path towards Luk Keng and we carried along for several kilometres before turning left. Along here were some deserted old villages, which are now overgrown with trees. There was a right turn off this path that also led to Luk Keng, but we carried straignt on towards the Edward Youde Pavilion. We bypassed that and eventually hit a water supplies road that led down towards Nam Chung village.
Part way along we came across the end of the trail. Now I have a number of criticisms of the Wilson Trail. The signing is poor in some parts, but that can be solved with a good map and a bit of patience. Some of the distance markers seem to vary a bit from the 5oo metres apart that they are supposed to be, but then I’ve not actually measured them accurately. But my two main complaints, are that I don’t know how long the trail is, and I don’t like where it finishes.
First, the length. The documentation I have seen seems to list it as 78km. Now I suppose that could include the MTR section between Quarry Bay and Yau Tong (or Lam Tin, since Yau Tong MTR didn’t exist when the route was originally set up). But nowhere have I seen the actual distance that you walk mentioned. The final marker post is number 137, which if they are at 500m intervals would seem to imply that it is 68.5km long. Which brings me to my second complaint, whether it is 78km or 68.5km, why? Is this some auspicious number? Now I could accept it if the trail finished somewhere sensible, like Luk Keng which does at least have a minibus to Fanling. But it doesn’t! It finishes half way down a water supplies department service road, approximately 2km from Nam Chung village and the main Luk Keng road. In short, it finishes in the middle of nowhere, after completing an apparently arbitrary distance. At least it starts at a bus stop, but it doesn’t finish anywhere near a bus stop or any other form of public transport. It’s as if they bought 137 marker posts and resolved to stop whenever they ran out. It’s as if the Maclehose trail had stopped after 96.5km, part way along the catchwater outside Tuen Mun! I just think former Governor Wilson should have a word with AFCD and find out what they could possibly have been thinking! After all, if they’d carried on to marker post 140, it would have finished in Luk Keng, at a sensible end point, after walking a sensible 70km.
Anyway after we’d finished, we then had to walk 2km down to the road from where we were very fortunate to pick up a minibus to Fanling.
- Section 8: 3.5 km from marker posts 98 – 105 took us 1 hour 30 minutes
- Section 9: 10.5km from marker post 105 – 126 took us 3 hours 50 minutes
- Section 10: 5.5km from marker post 126 – 137 took us 1 hour 40 minutes