So while I was watching those Swiss guys run rampant over the US Open tennis quarter finals today, David was headed out from his hotel room at the crack of dawn over there to hike some of this…..
The Wilson Trail (Chinese: 衛奕信徑) is a 78 km long-distance footpath in Hong Kong, 63 km of which runs through Hong Kong country parks. It was named after David Wilson, Baron Wilson of Tillyorn, who was Governor of Hong Kong from 1987 to 1992. The Wilson Trail was developed by Friends of the Country Park and sponsored by various private organisations. The construction work of the Trail began in 1994. The Wilson Trail was first opened on 21 January 1996.
In all, the Wilson Trail traverses eight of the Country Parks. On Hong Kong Island, Tai Tam Country Park and its Quarry Bay Extension begin the journey. Across the harbour, there is a gap where the Trail runs through hills outside the parks. Then come the three parks named Ma On Shan, Lion Rock, and Kam Shan. In the central New Territories, the Wilson Trail heads north through Shing Mun Country Park and Tai Mo Shan Country Park. Finally it climbs into the majestic Pat Sin Leng Country Park. Each of the Country Parks the Wilson Trail traverses has its individual character and appeal – offering, as one proceeds from south to north, changing settings with much of interest.
The trail is aligned north-south and runs from Stanley, in the south of Hong Kong Island to Nam Chung, in the northeastern New Territories. Of the four long-distance trails, the Wilson Trail is the newest. Since the trail crosses Victoria Harbour, it makes use of the MTR, Hong Kong’s subway.
Stages ……….. and I think he was just doing Stage 1 but what do I know, maybe he was planning to do Stage 2 as well, probably depended on if this felt as tough as it looks 😉
The Wilson Trail is divided into ten stages: and is marked by distance posts W001 – W138. Although the other major Hong Kong trails measure distance posts every 500m, the distances between posts on the Wilson Trail range from 500m – 650m.
The Wilson Trail makes a challenging start: Section 1 ascends straight up the sheer hillside of the double hill known as “The Twins”, a favourite of local hikers. The stepped path ascends through low shrubs, flowering with pink melastoma in spring. On each side diagonal ridgelines cut the sky, and to the right there are mountain clefts. The scattered Stanley community spreads out below, and farther off the Stanley and D’Aguilar peninsulas frame distant Beaufort Island and rugged Poi Toi.
The climb is long and occasional pauses reveal ever more dramatic vistas. On still blue days the hillsides shimmer, on grey windy days they are exhilarating. The suggestion of a summit comes into sight, but instead one reaches a knoll with a view compass. Here there are fine vistas into Repulse Bay and Deep Water Bay, enclosed by the Chung Hom Kok headland. On the other side is a whaleback ridge, and beyond it steep plunging gullies. Beyond the expanse of Tai Tam Bay lie the Dragon’s Back and Mount Collinson.
Making a steady climb along a spur, the Wilson Trail begins Section 2 through the eastern ranges. Higher up, amidst low shrubland, past old wind-bent pines, the path leads towards a summit. To the left there are glimpses of Wong Nai Chung Gap and the city – to the right the beautiful Tai Tam valley spreads out.
A kilometre up from Parkview the path reaches Jardine’s Lookout (433 metres) – curiously exactly the same height as Violet Hill, now seen across the valley. The views from Jardine’s Lookout are surely startling. To the left of the survey marker, one gazes down onto massed humanity in the urban districts. Yet, except perhaps on weekends, your only likely company here will be passing ants – or the kites wheeling overhead. Long descending ridges frame the city. On the other side lies raw nature: the Tai Tam valley, wooded and green, with its nestling reservoirs. Beyond there the rugged coast of Tai Tam Bay extends out, and still farther off rise some outlying islands.
Access points and facilities
All up-to-date bus route and schedule information can be found via the Hong Kong Transport Department website.
Stage 1 begins on Stanley Gap Road. The 6, 6A, or the 260 buses from Stanley Market or Central, or the 73 bus from Stanley or Cyberport, stops on request at the trailhead. Buses are frequent in both directions. There are no facilities here.
There is no pedestrian access to the trail head from Stanley Market: the sidewalk ends around 200m after the bus stop and walking along the narrow, winding road in traffic is not recommended. Additionally, the promising footpath opposite the trailhead is a dead end, stopping at a locked gate after 100m-200m.
Between stages 1 and 2
Stage 1 ends/Stage 2 begins 100m from Hong Kong Parkview, where there is a ParknShop supermarket, bathroom facilities, taxi stand, and a shuttle bus (HK$20) to Wanchai and Central. Tickets for the bus can be purchased at the concierge desk inside the club, opposite the bus stop. Various public buses stop at the base of Tai Tam Reservoir Road on Wong Nai Chung Gap Road, 600m down the hill from the trail entrance.