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A Pirates' Life for me.

A Hike up Devil's Peak.

sunny

Yesterday I decided to go on a hike up Devil’s Peak, a mountain overlooking the Lei Yue Mun Channel. To get to the Devil’s Peak I took the MTR to Yau Tong Station. This is actually a very nice MTR Station. It is not too busy. It has windows with a view and, luxury of luxury, it has clean toilets without a queue.

View from the window of the MTR station.

View from the window of the MTR station.

I took exit A from the station and entered a shopping mall called Domain Mall. I’m not generally fond of shopping centres, but like the MTR station, the mall was spacious and uncrowded so it was very pleasant. There were several displays here on the theme of Chinese New Year as we will soon be entering the Year of the Ox. Let’s hope it is a bit better than the Year of the Rat.

Chinese New Year Display.

Chinese New Year Display.

Chinese New Year Display.

Chinese New Year Display.

I took the escalator up to the ground floor of the shopping mall and then exited from the exit next to Tai Hing Restaurant, onto Ko Chiu Road. I then crossed the road, headed left towards Lie Yue Mun Housing Estate and walked towards the Tseung Wan O Chinese Permanent Cemetery. There were good views over Victoria Harbour as I walked up this road. After around 650 metres, I crossed the road when I saw the sign post for the Wilson Trail and started to head towards the Devil’s Peak.

Views on the way up.

Views on the way up.

The start of the trail.

The start of the trail.

The Devil’s Peak is an easy walk, about three kilometres in length to an elevation of around 222 metres. So why is it called the Devil’s Peak? Well a couple of hundred years ago this mountain was a notorious base for pirates. They used the mountain as a lookout place because they could see Victoria Harbour and Junk Bay from here. When they saw trading boats, laden with goods approaching, they could ambush them in the narrow Lei Yue Mun Channel where the ships had little room to escape. The pirates were so successful that Hong Kong used to be known as the Island of Thieves.

The most famous of all Hong Kong’s pirates belonged to the same family group. The first was Zheng Yi. He was born in 1765 and died in 1807. Zheng Yi came from a long line of pirates. He used his influence to unite thousands of pirates together into an organization known as the Red Flag Fleet. They were so powerful that the Chinese navy could not get them under control. Zheng later married Ching Shih, the madame of a floating brothel in Canton. Zheng also kidnapped a fifteen-year-old Tanka fisher boy called Cheung Po and forced him to become a pirate, too. Cheung Po took to the life of a pirate with masses of enthusiasm and after a while Zheng Yi and Ching Shih decided to adopt him as their son. When Zheng Yi died at sea during a typhoon, Ching Shih and Cheung Po, who was now known as Cheung Po Tsai, which means Cheung Po the kid, took command of the Red Flag Fleet. Although they were officially mother and stepson, they became lovers and married each other. Ching Shih was a ruthless leader. She beheaded any of her pirates who disobeyed her. She also repeatedly fought against the Portuguese, the Dutch East India Company and the Quing Government and she always won. Legends state that Cheung Po Tsai hid large amounts of his pirate loot in a cave on Cheung Chau Island. The cave where it is supposed to be hidden is known as Cheung Po Tsai Cave. Eventually in frustration at not being able to defeat them, the Quing Government offered Ching Shih and Cheung Po Tsai amnesty if they agreed to surrender and give up their pirate activities. They accepted. Cheung Po Tsai was given a position as a captain in the Quing Government’s navy and ironically spent his time capturing and defeating pirates. When Cheung Po Tsai died at sea in 1822, Ching Shih moved her family to Macau and opened a gambling house. She lived to be sixty-nine-years old, which considering the life she led is quite an achievement.

Fortunately, all the above people are long gone and the Devil’s Peak is a much more peaceful place nowadays.

As well as having a history associated with pirates, Devil’s Peak also has a history as a military base. The area around Devil’s Peak was home to the British Army in the nineteenth century. On the summit of Devil’s Peak stands the Devil's Peak Redoubt, or fort, which was built in 1914. There are also two batteries located on the way up the hill.

The first of these is the Gough Battery. This was named after the Commander-in-Chief of British Forces in China, Hugh Gough or First Viscount Gough. It is located at 160m. It was built in 1898 and used to have two 6-inch guns. These were removed to Stanley Fort in 1936.

Gun Batteries filled with trees.

Gun Batteries filled with trees.

Gun Batteries filled with trees.

Gun Batteries filled with trees.

Gun Batteries filled with trees.

Gun Batteries filled with trees.

Ruined buildings.

Ruined buildings.

Ruined buildings.

Ruined buildings.

Ruined building with Chinese writing.

Ruined building with Chinese writing.

After just a short climb up the hill, I saw the signs for the Gough Battery. I spent a lot of time here as it not only had good views, it also had lots of historical remains, such as gun batteries, ruined buildings, an underground magazine, and little shrines. Best of all though, nature is reclaiming the land here and the ruins are covered in tree roots and plants. It is like a small-scale Ta Prohm, the Cambodian temple near Angkor Wat which was left covered in jungle.

Nature is taking over.

Nature is taking over.

Nature is taking over.

Nature is taking over.

Nature is taking over.

Nature is taking over.

Nature is taking over.

Nature is taking over.

Nature is taking over.

Nature is taking over.

Nature is taking over.

Nature is taking over.

Nature is taking over.

Nature is taking over.

There were quite a lot of people here, yet I seemed to be able to explore the underground remains completely alone and was able to take lots of people free pictures.

Underground Remains.

Underground Remains.

Underground Remains.

Underground Remains.

Underground Remains.

Underground Remains.

Underground Remains.

Underground Remains.

Underground Remains.

Underground Remains.

Underground Remains.

Underground Remains.

Underground Remains.

Underground Remains.

Some children seemed to be having a karate lesson here. There was certainly lots of space for it.

Karate Lesson.

Karate Lesson.

I liked the fact that people had placed little shrines in the niches of the ruined buildings.

Little Shrines.

Little Shrines.

Little Shrines.

Little Shrines.

Little Shrines.

Little Shrines.

From this area there are views over Junk Bay, Lei Yue Mun and Victoria Harbour.

Views from the battery.

Views from the battery.

Views from the battery.

Views from the battery.

Views from the battery.

Views from the battery.

After a while I set off on my climb again. There were great views in every direction. After a short flight of stairs there was a dirt path off to the Pottinger Battery.

The Pottinger Battery was named after Hong Kong Governor, Sir Henry Pottinger. This had 9.2 inch guns which were removed in 1936 and placed in the Bokhara Battery in Cape D’Aguilar. I saw this when I went walking there recently, though I was too lazy to climb downhill to investigate it properly.

The remains here are almost totally covered over with plants and rubbish. They are not easy to access. Plus there isn’t as much of them as there is with the Gough Battery.

The Pottinger Battery.

The Pottinger Battery.

The Pottinger Battery.

The Pottinger Battery.

From here to the summit there is a short steep staircase. Views from the stairs over junk Bay are amazingly beautiful.

Going up to the top.

Going up to the top.

Views from the stairs up.

Views from the stairs up.

Views from the stairs up.

Views from the stairs up.

The redoubt at the top of the peak was fairly crowded. Most people had come for the views or to take photos. I wandered around the trenches that surround the fort then climbed up to the top part to enjoy the views.

Wandering around the trenches that surround the fort.

Wandering around the trenches that surround the fort.

Wandering around the trenches that surround the fort.

Wandering around the trenches that surround the fort.

Wandering around the trenches that surround the fort.

Wandering around the trenches that surround the fort.

Wandering around the trenches that surround the fort.

Wandering around the trenches that surround the fort.

From the top there were fantastic views over Victoria Harbour and over Junk Bay. There were lots of people taking photos, enjoying the sun and gazing at the views.

Views from the top.

Views from the top.

Views from the top.

Views from the top.

Views from the top.

Views from the top.

Views from the top.

Views from the top.

View from the top.

View from the top.

People posing.

People posing.

I also climbed over a small metal stairway to a dirt path that afforded great views over Junk Bay and the Tseung Wan O Chinese Permanent Cemetery.

View over the cemetery.

View over the cemetery.

View over the cemetery.

View over the cemetery.

On my way back down instead of returning straight to Yau Tong I decided to follow a pathway to Lei Yue Mun Village. I will write about that in the next blog.

Coming back down.

Coming back down.

Posted by irenevt 04:53 Archived in Hong Kong

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Comments

Another wonderful walk. -- Glad the pirates have gone. -- Does the Brit Passport change concern you ? Happy New Year of the OX.. Hope you don't have a Roasting !

by alectrevor

Hi Alec, thank you for visiting. I have a full UK passport rather than a BNO one. Lot of changes going on here.

by irenevt

..and a bottle of rum!
So far this has been my favorite of your walks! :)

by hennaonthetrek

Hi Henna, I enjoyed it too. It was easy with great views and lots of interesting historical buildings.

by irenevt

Wonderful views, clearly well worth the short climb :) I loved your photos of the Gough Battery - I would be in my element there! And your stories about Ching Shih in particular - she sounds like quite a character!!

by ToonSarah

Hi Sarah, I intend to learn more about Ching Shih. In many ways she was brutal but in many other ways she sounds like an early feminist. I've read several sights that state she demanded female captives were treated with respect. Not sure if it is true but she certainly sounds interesting.

by irenevt

I like the trees in the gun batteries. I like trees.

I bet the views from the top were really spectacular before the city was built. Hard to imagine but seems like it would be magical.

Such interesting places to visit.

by Beausoleil

Hong Kong has lots of mountains so it does have lovely views. Most are over its buildings but there are many where you can only see nature. I liked the trees, too.

by irenevt

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