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Just Trailing Along.

The Hong Kong Trail Section One and Two.

semi-overcast

Trail Marker for Hong Kong Trail located at 500m intervals the whole way.

Trail Marker for Hong Kong Trail located at 500m intervals the whole way.

I've been doing quite a bit of hiking here in the last two years and usually I choose my walks for reasons such as: they go to war remains, they lead me to Chinese heritage sites, or they go to places of great natural beauty. Sometimes the walks I do turn out to be sections of the four big hiking trails we have here. These are: the Hong Kong Trail, the Wilson Trail, the Lantau Trail and the Maclehose Trail, but I haven't ever specifically tried to complete these trails, section by section, in the way that serious hikers do.

I've no intention of changing my approach to hiking, completing all of these trails is beyond my level of fitness, but recently I have been toying with the idea of doing the whole of the Hong Kong Trail. The reason for this I guess is the realisation that I've actually done so much of it without meaning to.

The Hong Kong Trail opened in 1985. It is the shortest and easiest of the four trails and is divided into eight sections. It goes from Victoria Peak to Big Wave Bay, which means it goes lengthwise across Hong Kong Island. However, it follows a very circuitous route, as the trail is 50km long, despite the fact that the distance between these two locations is only 11km. The trail passes through five of Hong Kong's many country parks. It is well sign-posted and there are distance markers every 500m for the entire route. Some people complete this trail in a single day. I am not one of those people! If I do complete it, it will be over four or five days.

Regardless of whether I manage the whole trail or not, yesterday I decided to walk the first two sections.

Section One starts at Victoria Peak and goes to Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Road. I've done part of this walk several times already without consciously trying to follow the Hong Kong Trail. In fact, I did it very recently when I climbed Mount High West.

Fortunately, on the day I climbed Mount High West, the views were clear and excellent. Yesterday when I did this walk again, it was very foggy. I didn't mind this, as one of the things I wanted to see here was the haunted house about half-way along.

Anyway, to get to the Peak, I took bus number 15 from Exchange Square Bus Station in Central all the way to the last stop at Peak Galleria. As I said, it wasn't a clear day and the views on the drive up the Peak were probably the best views I got until I reached Aberdeen at the end of my hike.

View from the bus on the way up.

View from the bus on the way up.

View from the bus on the way up.

View from the bus on the way up.

Outside the Peak Lookout Cafe, I had a look at the old British post box with the Elizabeth Regina insignia. The royal insignia was removed from most post boxes here after the handover. There were some lovely purple flowers here, too. Then I then went to Lugard Road and the start of the trail.

Old British Post Box.

Old British Post Box.

Beautiful Purple Flowers.

Beautiful Purple Flowers.

This is the starting point.

This is the starting point.

As I walked along Lugard Road, I took a look at the foggy views and the many lovely plants on route.Furthermore, this time I also took a look at some of the houses.

Autumnal Colours even though it's spring.

Autumnal Colours even though it's spring.

Autumnal Colours even though it's spring.

Autumnal Colours even though it's spring.

Silvergrass.

Silvergrass.

Banyan Trees.

Banyan Trees.

Foggy View.

Foggy View.

Buddha.

Buddha.

I can't resist photographing the Buddhas.

I can't resist photographing the Buddhas.

When I was writing up my blog on climbing Mount High West, I just thought I'd check out some information about Lugard Road. I was surprised to find that I had walked past the most haunted building in Hong Kong on my way to the walk. That building is located at number 32 Lugard Road and is called Dragon Lodge. For me the strangest thing about this house is that it is three stories high, located in one of the most expensive real estate locations in the world and has a garden with breathtaking views over the city, but it has largely been left to fall down. Why?

Well, if you look it up online, you will find that the house has quite an interesting history. It was supposedly built in the 1920's. The first person to purchase it and live here ended up going bankrupt. The second owner died inside the house. That is sad, but it wouldn't affect my feelings towards the property. However, many Chinese people are very, very superstitious. A house where someone has died, even of natural causes, goes down in value and people don't want to live in it. Due to this reduction in value, it's fairly common for people who decide to commit suicide here to rent a hotel room and kill themselves there, so that when their loved ones inherit their property, it won't have gone down in price.

Anyway, back to Dragon Lodge. During World War II the Japanese took over the building and apparently decapitated several nuns in the front garden here. I'm not sure if this is true or not, but the story has been repeated so frequently it has become a sort of urban myth. Well, all of this bad luck meant noone wanted to live in Dragon Lodge and the property started to fall apart. It became a place that intrepid young explorers, obsessed with the supernatural, started to break into and sometimes, sadly, vandalise. Then in 2004 it looked like the property's predicament was finally changing. Someone purchased the house for HK$64 million, that's more than six million pounds, and renovation works began. These continued until the workers started to complain that they could hear the ghostly cries of a child in some of the empty rooms. Eventually the workers had had enough and refused to continue the renovation and the house was abandoned once again.

These days the house still looks empty, but apparently security around it has been improved to stop people breaking in. In a historical website I subscribe to here I saw pictures of someone's grandparents living in this house. They rented it rather than owned it and it looks like such a happy place.

Actually looking at the historical website again, I found a very plausible explanation for the ghost stories. One woman says she grew up on Lugard Road and used to play with the children who lived at 32 Lugard Road. She remembers it as a happy house with no ill-fated history or ghosts. However, she said during the war the house at 29 Lugard Road was bombed. The local children, who seemed to be allowed to run wild (she also remembers playing on the firing range) wanted to play in the bombed out building, but it was dangerous, so their amahs made up stories about nuns being murdered there to scare the children away from it. Somehow, over time, these stories got transferred to 32 Lugard Road because it was an old building and empty.

32 Lugard Road.

32 Lugard Road.

Number 32 Lugard Road.

Number 32 Lugard Road.

I found lots of pictures of this house online. Some of these pictures are historical and some show the derelict state of the house. I personally was not able to get inside the building, though I'd have loved to be able to take a look.

Here's a historical photo from the lady who's grandfather rented the house.

Here's a historical photo from the lady who's grandfather rented the house.

This and the next three photos are from the Urban Explorers Website and show the building from the front, side and inside.

This and the next three photos are from the Urban Explorers Website and show the building from the front, side and inside.

Notice the 'Go Back' graffiti.

Notice the 'Go Back' graffiti.

More graffiti.

More graffiti.

So decayed inside. What a shame!

So decayed inside. What a shame!

If you have six million pounds going spare, and you don't scare easily, you might want to put in a bid for this property.

I also noticed another large house at number 34 Lugard Road on the opposite side of the street. This house used to be called West Crag and was built by Frederick Percy Franklin between 1933 and 1936 as his own residence. During the war this house suffered a lot of damage. After the war, in 1947, it was converted into two self-contained units and later, in 1952, it was converted into three. I thought it was a pretty attractive looking building.

34 Lugard Road.

34 Lugard Road.

View points all along Lugard Road.

View points all along Lugard Road.

Earlier on the road there is another interesting house at 27 Lugard Road. I did not get a good view of the house, as many houses here are hidden behind tall fences. This house was designed by Lennox Bird, who worked for the architectural firm Palmer and Turner. It was originally built as a residence for his brother and was completed in 1914. Later it was sold to Tai Koo Dockyard and Engineering Company and was used as a place of residence for their staff. Recently there have been plans to turn this building into a boutique hotel. However, the myriads of hikers, who walk along Lugard Road, protested against this, fearing an increase in traffic on this largely pedestrianised road. The hotel group claimed they would only use golf carts for guests' luggage. I don't know if the development is still going ahead or if it has fallen victim to the COVID outbreak.

When I reached the little park which is the intersection of many trails, I turned right to stay on the Hong Kong Trail. The path I went on was just above the one I used to get to Pinewood Battery. I was now happy to be on a path I had not walked before.

At the park turn right to follow the trail.

At the park turn right to follow the trail.

The trail here goes through the forest and has occasional pretty views over Hong Kong. At one point, I reached a picnic site, the Lung Fu Shan Country Park Picnic Site 2, and saw a sign for the steep way up Mount High West. I was at the top of this recently, though I ascended from the other side. This area also has a view point, though the view was pretty foggy when I was here.

Lung Fu Shan Picnic Site 2.

Lung Fu Shan Picnic Site 2.

Sign for Mount High West.

Sign for Mount High West.

A View of Mount High West from the Picnic Site.

A View of Mount High West from the Picnic Site.

Lung Fu Shan Viewing Point.

Lung Fu Shan Viewing Point.

Foggy Views From Here.

Foggy Views From Here.

Foggy Views From Here.

Foggy Views From Here.

From the Lung Fu Shan Picnic Site, I went down some steps. The path was very pretty and there were not too many other walkers. Every so often there were places on the path that would be waterfalls in the summer rains. Many of these are currently dry or just have a little water. I imagine parts of this path would be impassable in a rainstorm. One of my favourite things on this part of the walk were the beautiful wooden bridges over the bigger streams which generally did have some water in them.

Stream.

Stream.

Stream.

Stream.

Stream

Stream

There were lots of lovely bridges on this walk.

There were lots of lovely bridges on this walk.

Selfie with Bridge.

Selfie with Bridge.

Another Little Wooden Bridge.

Another Little Wooden Bridge.

Very Small Stone Bridge.

Very Small Stone Bridge.

Bridge.

Bridge.

Along the path there were lots of beautiful flowers, including the pink Chinese New Year Flowers, which I always find hard to photograph. They like to grow over steep, inaccessible edges.

Lovely flowers on route.

Lovely flowers on route.

Pretty Chinese New Year Flowers.

Pretty Chinese New Year Flowers.

Pretty Chinese New Year Flowers.

Pretty Chinese New Year Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Fungus on log.

Fungus on log.

Bamboo Grove.

Bamboo Grove.

Every now and again there was a break in the trees and there would be lovely views over Hong Kong.

Views from the path.

Views from the path.

Views from the path.

Views from the path.

View and trail marker.

View and trail marker.

Path and View.

Path and View.

Broken Tree and View.

Broken Tree and View.

It was a little off putting after I had walked around six km to look up and see the Peak Tower very close by, meaning I had actually gone nowhere. Well, I did say the route was circuitous. It's for exercise or enjoying nature, not for getting from A to B.

All the time I was walking along the path, I could hear someone playing the bagpipes in the distance. I've no idea where the music was coming from, but as a Scot, it felt pretty strange to be deep in rural Hong Kong listening to the bagpipes drifting across the country air.

Selfie on the forest path.

Selfie on the forest path.

The Path was shady and pretty.

The Path was shady and pretty.

Forest Path.

Forest Path.

Path.

Path.

This building is part of the waterworks for Pokfulam Reservoir. I came here before after walking down from Pinewood Battery.

This building is part of the waterworks for Pokfulam Reservoir. I came here before after walking down from Pinewood Battery.

This path was described on the sites I researched it on as largely flat. It wasn't steep, but there were still a few ups and downs. I notice these , while others may not, as I find them tough on my knees.

Stairway.

Stairway.

Stairway.

Stairway.

The end of Section One and start of Section Two are on the road I have walked down several times from the Peak to Pok Fu Lam Reservoir. I've often looked at the paths off and wondered where they go, now I know.

Section Two of the Hong Kong Trail goes from Pok Fu Lam Reservoir to Peel Rise. This section is 4.5km long. At first I thought: 'Great a nice flat concrete path to walk on,' but after a few minutes, when I got to a waterworks building, I saw that the Hong Kong trail veered off left, up a huge flight of stairs.

Sign for the start of the trail.

Sign for the start of the trail.

A nice flat path to start on.

A nice flat path to start on.

Non-stop stairs.

Non-stop stairs.

Once I made it to the top, having expended lots of energy and sweat, the trail became pleasant again. It was shaded by trees, had some wonderful flowers, and there were many places that would be amazing waterfalls in the rain. There were also little bridges and streams.

Flower lined path.

Flower lined path.

Look how nicely paved the path is.

Look how nicely paved the path is.

Waterfall.

Waterfall.

Selfie with Waterfall.

Selfie with Waterfall.

I liked this bridge on route.

I liked this bridge on route.

Other side of the bridge.

Other side of the bridge.

Colourful Vegetation.

Colourful Vegetation.

When I was nearing the end of Section Two, I reached a pavilion and viewpoint with lovely views over Aberdeen. From here I went down steps, ended up on a catch water and had great views over Aberdeen for the rest of the walk

Pavilion.

Pavilion.

Catchwater.

Catchwater.

Catchwater.

Catchwater.

View over Aberdeen.

View over Aberdeen.

View over Aberdeen.

View over Aberdeen.

View over Aberdeen.

View over Aberdeen.

View over Aberdeen.

View over Aberdeen.

View over Aberdeen.

View over Aberdeen.

Eventually I reached stairs down to a housing estate. From the description I had read, I could get a bus nearby. I think I walked too far, though. I went through a housing estate, on walkways, down a lift, through a shopping centre. I'd have no idea how to find my way back on to the trail from here. Eventually l found a bus station and took the number 77 which goes to Shau Kei Wan. I got off at Causeway Bay and switched to the MTR. That's the first 12 kilometres of the Hong Kong Trail done.

Stairs down to Tin Wan Estate.

Stairs down to Tin Wan Estate.

Posted by irenevt 12:32 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged hiking hong kong.

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Comments

Ghosts, History, Views ,Flowers, all on your wonderful walk, Thanks.---- Today on TV News, Plane crash in China and Covid restriction in Hong Kong.. Stay Safe.

by alectrevor

Hi Alec, today our Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, actually announced they are relaxing COVID regulations, making it easier to get in and out and slowly opening up things that have been closed. The lock down has been suspended and may not happen. YIPEE!!!

by irenevt

Sad to say I don't have extra millions lying around, I wouldn't mind bying that property! Views in that photo of the grandpa looks amazing! :)

by hennaonthetrek

It would be a nice place to live but a bit of a trek back and forth with your shopping.

by irenevt

I loved the fungus on the log. Sounds silly, I know, but it was beautiful.

You are getting very good with the selfies. That's fun.

by Beausoleil

Hi Sally, the fungus is rather pretty, isn't it? Thank you for visiting.

by irenevt

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