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Reservoir Fogs

The Peak, Pinewood Battery and Pok Fu Lam

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Yesterday I decided to continue exploring sites linked to World War II by visiting the Pinewood Battery. Then I decided to walk from it all the way down to Pok Fu Lam Country Park.

To get to Pinewood Battery I took the number 15 bus up the Peak. I had not realised that this bus doesn't stop at the Outlying Ferry Piers until 10am, before that it only leaves from Exchange Square Bus Station. Unfortunately, this held me up a bit at the start, but I was eventually on my way.

When I got to the Peak, I took a quick look at the usual sights before heading off on my walk. It was a dark, cold day with the odd spit of rain. I looked at the view from the Lion's Pavilion Lookout Point but it was bleak and somber. In some ways I think gloomy weather and war remains are well-suited to each other.

The Peak Cafe.

The Peak Cafe.

The Peak Tram.

The Peak Tram.

The Peak Tram.

The Peak Tram.

Lions Pavilion.

Lions Pavilion.

Lions Pavilion.

Lions Pavilion.

Lions Pavilion.

Lions Pavilion.

Somber View.

Somber View.

Somber View.

Somber View.

To walk to the Pinewood Battery, I headed to Lugard Road. The first part of the walk is the same as the Peak Circular Trail. On this part of the walk I passed some beautiful flowers. I also passed the Lugard Falls which were very lacking in water, but are supposed to be spectacular in the rainy season. I also saw a beautiful painted stone lying on the ground. This sort of thing has become popular in Hong Kong. I think it started on Bowen Road where a German lady got her children to decorate fairy doors then leave them scattered along Bowen Road Fitness Trail for other children to find. Soon lots of children were making these and placing them along the trail. This has kept many children amused during Covid when they don't have normal school every day. From this part of my walk there was also a foggy view over the reservoir I would head to later.

Beautiful Flowers on Route.

Beautiful Flowers on Route.

Decorated Stone for Children to Find.

Decorated Stone for Children to Find.

Beautiful Flowers on Route.

Beautiful Flowers on Route.

Roots.

Roots.

Beautiful Flowers on Route.

Beautiful Flowers on Route.

The Mighty Lugard Falls is just a Trickle.

The Mighty Lugard Falls is just a Trickle.

Beautiful Flowers on Route.

Beautiful Flowers on Route.

View over Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

View over Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

When I reached the playground where several roads meet, I left the circular trail and started following the trail marked Pinewood Battery. First I walked past some public toilets which were also on the Morning Trail. After a few minutes, I saw some stairs going down to my left. These led towards the Pinewood Battery though I did not notice any sign saying this. As I walked down the steps, I came to a sitting area with beautiful views in both directions. After admiring the views, I reached a picnic site. This is right next to the remains of Pinewood Battery.

Playground where the trails meet.

Playground where the trails meet.

On the Morning Trail.

On the Morning Trail.

Steps down to Pinewood Battery.

Steps down to Pinewood Battery.

View from near Pinewood Battery.

View from near Pinewood Battery.

Picnic site.

Picnic site.

Pinewood Battery was one of the many coastal defence batteries which were once dotted around both sides of Victoria Harbour. At 307 metres above sea level it was the highest of all the coastal batteries. It was originally built in 1903 and housed two six-inch guns which were supposed to help defend Victoria Harbour if it ever came under attack. However, in 1913 these guns were removed. Then between 1923 and 1925 this site was used as a campsite for groups of boy scouts. Later in 1936 the original guns were replaced with two three-inch anti-aircraft guns. On the 15th of December 1941 Pinewood Battery was very badly damaged in a series of bombing raids carried out by the Imperial Japanese Army. At the time there were about thirty men stationed here, most of them belonging to Indian regiments.

There are several maps of the Pinewood Battery site plus a series of information boards dotted around this area. I actually arrived at the last two sites listed on the plan, but despite this I'll describe it as if I started from number one.

Number One on the map is Pinewood Bungalow which was a colonial-style house which used to be a caretakers' house and a mess hall for the gunners. Unfortunately, it was demolished in 1948 and nowadays you can only see patches of its foundations. The grassy area next to the bungalow was once the parade ground. There is a drawing of how the bungalow would once have looked on the information board here.

Drawing of the Bungalow.

Drawing of the Bungalow.

Foundations and Parade Ground.

Foundations and Parade Ground.

Foundations and Parade Ground.

Foundations and Parade Ground.

If you are next to the ruins of the bungalow and facing the nearby pavilion, you should then go right and wander up the stairs to Site Two - the number one gun platform. Pinewood Battery had two gun platforms, an underground magazine, a command post and a lookout tower. Apparently each of the circular platforms in the gun battery had two mounted BL 6-inch Mark VII guns. These could fire a 50kg shell between 12,000 and 14,000 yards.

The Number One Gun Platform.

The Number One Gun Platform.

The Number One Gun Platform.

The Number One Gun Platform.

The Number One Gun Platform.

The Number One Gun Platform.

Site Three is the battery command and magazine where shells and other propellants were stored.

Battery Command.

Battery Command.

Site Four was once the battery command post and then later in 1936 it became an anti-aircraft gun battery.

Command Post as anti-Aircraft Battery.

Command Post as anti-Aircraft Battery.

Former Battery Command.

Former Battery Command.

Site Five was the Number 2 Gun Platform which had a rapid fire range of eighteen rounds per minute and was once manned by a crew of around eleven. Next to the gun platform was a small bunker with a distinctive funnel sticking out of its roof.

Number Two Gun Platform.

Number Two Gun Platform.

Gun Battery2

Gun Battery2

Gun Battery2

Gun Battery2

Site Six at the top of a flight of stairs was the battery's Observation Post. This was once home to two three inch guns, a range finder and a predictor. Gunners here tried to explode shells close enough to an enemy aircraft to cause considerable damage rather than score a direct hit.

Observation Post.

Observation Post.

Observation Post.

Observation Post.

Site Seven which can be reached down a set of stairs was the latrine. This had no drainage system and the 'night soil' from it was collected manually, yeuk what a dreadful job, and used as manure.

Steps to the Latrine.

Steps to the Latrine.

Latrines.

Latrines.

Reclimb the stairs from the latrine, continue on the path, then go left and you'll see Site Eight, the Battery's splinter-proof bunkers, which flank both sides. These were built in the 1930's and were protected by earth on either side making them the site's safest structures. They were used for accommodation and for storage.

Splinter-Proof Bunker.

Splinter-Proof Bunker.

Splinter-Proof Shelter.

Splinter-Proof Shelter.

Splinter-Proof Shelters, Pinewood Battery.

Splinter-Proof Shelters, Pinewood Battery.

Two more similar structures were the Pinewood Battery shelters. These were built in the 1930s and were used as "stand to" stations for gunners awaiting deployment.

Shelter.

Shelter.

Shelter.

Shelter.

War shelters.

War shelters.

Shelter.

Shelter.

After looking at the gun battery, I found a sign post pointing towards Pok Fu Lam reservoir and followed it. The walk was beautiful. It took me through lots of colourful woods and every now and then it had good view points. I had thought it would all be a downhill hike but it was actually more up and down with some flat stretches in between.

Rocky Path.

Rocky Path.

Colourful Path.

Colourful Path.

Views.

Views.

Mountains.

Mountains.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Beautiful Pathway.

Beautiful Pathway.

Autumn Colours.

Autumn Colours.

Autumnal looking Path.

Autumnal looking Path.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Wildlife on walk! Today it was a lizard.

Wildlife on walk! Today it was a lizard.

Finally, the path I was following descended down to Pok Fu Lam Reservoir. Pok Fu Lam reservoir was the first reservoir ever created in Hong Kong. It is also the smallest and dates from 1883. There is a heritage trail around the reservoir. The first part I saw was the air vents above the reservoir. From there I went down a steep set of stairs to a lovely old colonial building which was once the watchman of the reservoir's cottage. This is also part of the heritage trail. From there I walked along one side of the reservoir. On the far side there was a little waterfall and some more war remains.

Air Vents Above Reservoir.

Air Vents Above Reservoir.

Watchman's Cottage.

Watchman's Cottage.

Masonry Bridge.

Masonry Bridge.

Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

Colourful trees next to the reservoir.

Colourful trees next to the reservoir.

Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

Masonry Bridge.

Masonry Bridge.

Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

Rock Climbing at the Reservoir.

Rock Climbing at the Reservoir.

I walked a short way up one of the major trails just past Pok Fu Lam Reservoir where I could see even more of what I suspect were war related remains.

War Remains next to the reservoir.

War Remains next to the reservoir.

War Remains next to the reservoir.

War Remains next to the reservoir.

Next to Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

Next to Pok Fu Lam Reservoir.

Leaving the reservoir area and heading towards Pok Fu Lam, I passed the Pok Fu Lam Public Riding School. Peering through the fences I could see a few horses wandering around.

Horse in Pok Fu Lam Stables.

Horse in Pok Fu Lam Stables.

Horses in Pok Fu Lam Stables.

Horses in Pok Fu Lam Stables.

When I reached very busy Pok Fu Lam Road, I noticed lots of beautiful colourful trees by the roadside. Their flowers were an amazingly lovely deep purple colour..

Beautiful Roadside Flowers.

Beautiful Roadside Flowers.

On the other side of the road stands Bethanie. Bethanie was built in 1875 as a sanatorium for French missionaries to recover from tropical diseases. Later it became part of the University of Hong Kong and then in 2003 it became part of Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. It's a beautiful building but unfortunately you can't see much of it without going on a tour. Apparently it has a lovely chapel and some octagonal buildings which used to be dairies.

Bethanie.

Bethanie.

Bethanie.

Bethanie.

Bethanie.

Bethanie.

Pok Fu Lam was where the Bauhinia was first discovered. This later became the emblem of Hong Kong. It was also the site of Hong Kong's first dairy farm in 1885. I did not do full justice to Pok Fu Lam but I did take a quick look at Pok Fu Lam Village. The first thing I noticed was some scary looking dragon heads which were on display. These are used as part of a fire dance ceremony to mark Mid-Autumn Festival. Pok Fu Lam Village has existed since the beginning of the seventeenth century. The original villagers came from the Chen, Huang, and Luo clans and were farmers. There are many flower and vegetable gardens here today so their descendants still have green fingers, too. The village also has towers and a pagoda but I did not see these as I was tired and did not explore thoroughly.

Dragon Heads Pok Fu Lam Village.

Dragon Heads Pok Fu Lam Village.

Dragon, Pok Fu Lam Village.

Dragon, Pok Fu Lam Village.

Pok Fu Lam Village Dragon.

Pok Fu Lam Village Dragon.

Pok Fu Lam Village.

Pok Fu Lam Village.

Beautiful Bouganvillia.

Beautiful Bouganvillia.

Colourful Murals Pok Fu Lam Village.

Colourful Murals Pok Fu Lam Village.

Shrine Pok Fu Lam Village.

Shrine Pok Fu Lam Village.

Pok Fu Lam Village.

Pok Fu Lam Village.

Pok Fu Lam Village.

Pok Fu Lam Village.

Pok Fu Lam Village.

Pok Fu Lam Village.

Pok Fu Lam Village.

Pok Fu Lam Village.

Pok Fu Lam Village.

Pok Fu Lam Village.

Pok Fu Lam Village.

Pok Fu Lam Village.

Pok Fu Lam Village.

Pok Fu Lam Village.

Shrine, Pok Fu Lam Village.

Shrine, Pok Fu Lam Village.

Mural, Pok Fu Lam Village.

Mural, Pok Fu Lam Village.

Garden, Pok Fu Lam Village.

Garden, Pok Fu Lam Village.

Garden, Pok Fu Lam Village.

Garden, Pok Fu Lam Village.

Garden, Pok Fu Lam Village.

Garden, Pok Fu Lam Village.

Garden, Pok Fu Lam Village.

Garden, Pok Fu Lam Village.

Garden, Pok Fu Lam Village.

Garden, Pok Fu Lam Village.

Garden, Pok Fu Lam Village.

Garden, Pok Fu Lam Village.

Garden, Pok Fu Lam Village.

Garden, Pok Fu Lam Village.

Garden, Pok Fu Lam Village.

Garden, Pok Fu Lam Village.

Garden, Pok Fu Lam Village.

Garden, Pok Fu Lam Village.

After looking at the village I jumped on a bus heading towards Admiralty, got off at Hong Kong University Station and went home.

Posted by irenevt 01:57 Archived in Hong Kong

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Comments

I remember the Peak Tram from my visit in 1965.

by Nemorino

Hi Don, I think it's being upgraded and not running at the moment.

by irenevt

Funky title! :) The walk looked nice too and the fog makes war-like atmosphere to the scenery just like you said!

by hennaonthetrek

Haha I'm running out of titles. My hubbie came up with that one.

by irenevt

Yet another , lovely , interesting walk,. Thanks.

by alectrevor

Walking is all there is to do here at the moment. It's keeping me sane.

by irenevt

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