Two of my favorite courses in New Territories have to be (a) King of the Hills – Tai Po and (b) North East Mountain Marathon. There is actually quite a lot of overlap between the two of them!
With the 100Km Oxfam Trailwalker looming ahead in a week’s time (btw, please don’t be cheap – sponsor our team! Ok, fine, I beg ya! I plead ya! Please, please, please!), Dom and I decided to recci the NEMM 2012 circuit at a fast walking pace.
Ok, so why is the NEMM circuit so cool? Four irresistible reasons!
1) If you plot the course on a map, it looks like a butterfly. No kidding! Ok, fine, you have to use your imagination a little bit but here you go.
Use your imagination and see the butterfly. If you can’t see it, you ain’t got no imagination!
Confession: We skipped some portions but still, it looks like a butterfly!
2) It starts and ends in Wu Kau Tang so you can ride your motorbike to one of the most beautiful roads in Hong Kong – the road from Tai Mei Tuk to Wu Kau Tang! The ride makes you forget about all the problems in the world! (if you care – that is). And if you don’t have a motorbike, no problem! You can still enjoy the infrequent bus ride!
3) You won’t see any tall buildings en route. All greenery and nothin’ else but greenery. Gives you the feeling of a real getaway while still being only 40 mins away from the heart of Hong Kong!
4) There is a “special area” on the trail. More about that below.
The “elite” course is 25Km long and goes like this: Wu Kau Tang > Bride’s Pool > Wang Shan Keuk Tsuen > Sir Edward Pavilion > Luk Keng > Kai Kuk Shue Ha > Fung Hang Country Trail > Golden Dragon Ridge > Fire Lookout > Ar Ma Fat > Fan Shui Au > Lai Chi Wo > Sam A Tsuen > Sam A Chung > Ha Miu Tin > Wang Leng Au > Kau Tam Tso > Tiu Tang Lung > Fan Kei Tok > Wu Kau Tang （25Km）
If that doesn’t make sense, I suggest you simply go to Wu Kau Tang and wing it! You will get at least 10-20% of this right! So, Dom and I started in Wu Kau Tang and were on course for most of the way. The visibility was simply awesome (tip: discount “awesome” as this is hazy Hong Kong) and we could almost see as far as the snipers on the hills of Shenzhen training their AK47s on would-be illegal immigrants (use imagination again please).
Robin’s nest is in the background and Shenzhen can be seen as well – use imagination!
Believe it or not, I own that little island and the mountain ridge behind it
Excellent view of those buildings which may either be in Shenzhen or in Hong Kong – your guess is as good as mine
Our CNO for the day – Chief Navigation Officer
Dom is soaking in the beauty of nature
This poor lizard is stuck in the notice board!
One thing that’s gotta be remembered about this circuit is that it gets SUPER HARD at the end. At around the 20th kilometer, one has to climb to Plover Cove (yet another one of my properties in Hong Kong) and go through parts of that beautiful undulating ridge. And after returning to ground level, there is a super massive climb up to something like 400m to some hill (don’t ask me what it’s called) and then there’s a steep downhill back to Wu Kau Tang where the circuit ends! And one more thing one has to bear in mind is that if something is very hard to do, it needn’t be done! And so, we safely skipped both the Plover Cove ridge and this super climb! Instead, we took a shortcut back to Wu Kau Tang. Philosophical tip on life: “Life is full of shortcuts, you just have to find them and take them”. Yup, that’s a genuine quote from yours truly!
And so, we did about 23km for the day before returning to Wu Kau Tang. Oh and before I forget, there is a “special area” on this trail. It’s called Lai Chi Wo. Dom doesn’t think this is so special but several dozen mainland tourists sure think otherwise! In fact, we even saw a Hong Kong tour group on this trail. Oh, in case you don’t know the definition of “Hong Kong tour group” it is – “a bunch of typically old and mostly mainland tourists following some dude carrying a red flag and a megaphone”. Of course, the tourists walk at a snail’s pace (or maybe the snail is faster). Anyway, so this area is famous for its banyan trees. Dom thinks that the Peak has more worthy banyan trees but I think that Lai Chi Wo (minus tourists) is far more beautiful. Here, take a look:
Aren’t the trees gorgeous?
Overall, I think the NEMM circuit is a fantastic course for trail runners. Fabulous running for the first 20km (only about 10-20% concrete and some super massive hills at the end for the Rambos). Today, we took a break from being Rambos but we are Rambos, I assure you! The race is to be held on New Year’s day (January 1st 2012) and you tell me – what can be a better way to usher in the new year other than to run 25km in the wilderness of Hong Kong! (Alright, maybe “wilderness” is a bit of an exaggeration as the only animal you will likely come across on this trail is that lonely lizard stuck in a notice board – see picture above). But, you do get to enjoy the countryside of Hong Kong! And as an added bonus, there probably won’t be any tourist groups on that day…
Tags: Everyday life
, GORGEOUS CIRCUITS
, Hiking in Hong Kong
, NEMM Circuit
, Plover Cove
, Tai Po