Tuesday, 20 March 2018

a hidden gem

There are not many places I’ve seen in the Hong Kong countryside that I would describe as picturesque, but I found one last week. I had decided to investigate Kwu Tung South Road, a cul de sac leading off the major artery of Kwu Tung Road. I had no idea what to expect, although my principal reason for wanting to take a look had been the existence of some kind of lake, presumably a reservoir, which can be seen on the satellite photo of the area and which is also recorded on Google Maps:

This road turns out to be of a kind that usually doesn’t carry a name—there are plenty of unnamed roads in the New Territories—and it degenerates into a rough track before the lake is reached. I cycled to the far end of the lake, from where I took this photo:

What appears to be a dam can be seen at the other end of the lake, but I decided not to investigate further then because I wanted to show Paula what I’d found. Consequently, we came here at the weekend as part of our usual Saturday bike ride and took a closer look at the dam:

This photo was taken from the lake shore at the far end of the dam from the road. At the far end of the dam, there is a footpath that continues around the lake, at least as far (I assume) as the grave(s) visible just right of centre in the next photo:

At the start of this footpath, there is a long series of steps leading up the hillside to two graves, and the next photo was taken from this more elevated position:

Although the theoretical underpinnings of fung shui are not to be taken seriously, I can see why this kind of location would be considered an auspicious site for someone’s last resting place. It’s unfortunate that the occupant isn’t resting. They are dead.

The next photo provides a look along the dam from ground level:

…while this is the same section looking in the opposite direction:

I wouldn’t recommend riding a bike along the first section of the dam from the road. It is half the width of this section, and there is a railing on only one side. The drop off the other side is big enough to kill you!

Finally, here is a view looking downstream from the dam:

We didn’t cycle along that section either, but there did turn out to be a cycling aspect to this excursion. At the point marked ‘X’, there is a steep ramp and a flight of steps leading downwards. I didn’t want to leave my bike unattended while I investigated on foot, and I didn’t want to cycle down in case I had to cycle—or try to—back up. However, when I did come back a few days later with Paula, I was able to confirm on foot, while Paula kept an eye on the bikes, that this path is not a dead end.

In fact, the path emerges on familiar ground at the witch’s house (‘Y’ on the map above). And once we’d established that there is a through route, it became obvious that the best way to take this path would be the reverse of the way we’d originally explored it:

Unfortunately, when we did tackle the path on Sunday, Paula made an absolute pig’s ear of the ramp:

She was not in bottom gear!

So it was left to me to be first up:

In case you’re wondering about the name I’ve given to this path, I should point out that it passes through an upmarket private housing estate, all the roads in which are named after cities in Switzerland. I did try to follow this path a couple of years ago starting from the witch’s house, but when I entered the estate, I turned back because I didn’t realize that the path I was on was some kind of public right of way. I know better now, and this path will now be a regular part of our Saturday bike ride.

Another cycling challenge awaits here. Notice the sinuous road that branches off Kwu Tung South Road about 80 metres west-southwest of the red ‘X’ on the map. It leads to the Kwu Tung Freshwater Service Reservoir, which is basically a giant water tank. It’s the kind of hill you do only once—to prove to yourself that you can do it—but I decided to put off the day of reckoning at the weekend. However, it does look easier than the road up to the Ping Che Freshwater Service Reservoir, which I’ve done twice.

Incidentally, the lake/reservoir I’ve described in this post does not appear to have a name.


  1. Thank you very much for this post. I tried to look up related hiking posts of this place and would like to share with you. Would go and take a walk:
    English & Chinese: https://letsgohiking.wordpress.com/2017/04/15/
    Chinese only: http://kwutung.blogspot.hk/2014/07/blog-post_13.html

    1. Not really my scene, but I can certainly see this area being popular with hikers.

  2. Still discovering the unexpected Dennis.
    Picturesque for sure.

  3. As I first cycled downhill from the top of the road, this certainly did not provide me an uphill profile as I tried from the bottom of the path. Consequently, was right on the WRONG gear up ;-)

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