Cloudy Hill, Pat Sin Leng, Plover Cove plus plenty of sunshine

Cloudy Hill, Pat Sin Leng, Plover Cove plus plenty of sunshine

A poolside Corona or a 37km run?
35 degrees centigrade. 90% humidity. Zero cloud cover. Scorching heat. This is the kind of weather an average Joe would spend relaxing, lying on a poolside bench and sipping an ice-cold Corona. But, us? No, not the Hong Kong Trail Runners. Our way of relaxation in this weather is to go out on a mammoth scorching hot run. And not just any run. Today’s run was the mother of all heatstroke-causing runs. Cloudy Hill, Pat Sin Leng and Plover Cove. 37kms of sheer brutality with over 2200m of accumulated elevation. Extreme endurance training at its very best.

The sunshine lovers – courtesy Vic

Read about the HOT trail running experience and the “rescue” effort up ahead

Cloudy Hill, Pat Sin Leng AND Plover Cove

Cloudy Hill, Pat Sin Leng AND Plover Cove

We were supposed to have heavy thunderstorms yesterday. So, I conveniently used Hong Kong Observatory’s weather forecast as an excuse to sleep in, instead of getting up early in the morning to do a trail run. When I finally awoke from my slumber, I was full of guilt. Trust me, an athlete succumbing to the vice called “extended sleep” is like a politician succumbing to bribe! What didn’t help one bit was the view from outside my window. The sun was shining nice and bright! I wanted to sue the Hong Kong Observatory for causing needless mental anguish. A couple of hours later, I heard heavy thunder. Soon, black clouds blanketed the skies. Within a span of a couple of hours, the skies went from being illuminated by the sun to being illuminated by frequent lightening. The guys at the observatory probably felt vindicated! I even suggested that they change their motto to: “HK Observatory, we always have the last laugh!”

The prediction for today, yet again, was heavy rain. However, there was no way we were going to fall victim to the trap of extended sleep. Besides, what was in store for the day was way too exciting. We were going to do a run covering three of Hong Kong’s most beautiful trails: Cloudy Hill, Pat Sin leng and my very own home, Plover Cove. That’s like getting a high dosage of endorphins from nature for free! The first time I attempted this run, I ran out of water in the middle of Plover Cove and was suffering from all sorts of cramps until my friend Dominic brought me water at the end of the Plover Cove dam. The second time I attempted it, I almost had a heatstroke on Plover Cove and had to walk at a snail’s pace to complete the course. It took us roughly 4.5 hours just on this leg that day.

Today, the weather seemed perfect for this run. Contrary to the Observatory’s forecast, there was hardly any rain. And, no, they didn’t have the last laugh either! In fact, it was sunny in the afternoon! I guess even the observatory boys get it wrong at times. Steven and I maintained a steady and fast pace on both Cloudy Hill and Pat Sin Leng. I attempted what I call the “tank maneuver” during a lot of the uphill stretches. What is that? Well, basically, it involves pretending that you’re a tank (I mean a US army kind of tank not a water tank!) and “rolling” up the hill effortlessly just like a tank would! (Yes, weird. Well, to each his own!) So, the idea behind this is that, when the going gets tough, the tough gets “rolling”. Unless, of course, the inclination is so high that the “tank” needs reinforcement. And, no, the tank doesn’t have a turret to fire a canon at the hill.

It took as about 3.5 hours to do Cloudy Hill, Pat Sin Leng and run to Wu Kau Tang via Bride’s pool. After refueling at a rather empty shop in Wu Kau Tang, we entered my territory, Plover Cove. Like a responsible owner, I removed random items of garbage I found strewn around on my trail. We kept a fairly comfortable pace and completed this leg of the run in 2 hours 52 minutes, feeling relatively good at the end of it. For the first time in all my attempts, I felt fresh and energized at the end of completing this course.

37 kilometers, almost 2000m in elevation, plenty of greenery and a great adrenalin rush. I couldn’t recommend this course more.



Cloudy Hill, Pat Sin Leng and Plover Cove

High res pics here.

The Hong Kong observatory predicted rains 3 days back. But after looking out the window today morning, I think they changed their minds. Hot and Sunny was the theme for the day. And boy was it hot! To be attempting to climb 3 massive hills on one day required some courage and a lot of insanity. But, there’s no shortage of insane people in Hong Kong. In fact, other than my insane team of 4 members, there were 3 others who opted for some masochistic pleasure on the hills.

Insane bunch

We started nice and early at 7am! The idea was to beat the sun. My shoes, shorts and shirt were drenched in sweat under the sweltering heat. Cloudy Hill + Pat Sin Leng claimed three lives. (Pretty much everyone else other than our core 4-member team).

The surviving 4 of us somehow made it in one piece to Wu Kau Tang to refuel. The shopkeeper at that Dai Pai Dong couldn’t quite believe our itinerary for the day. He also couldn’t believe the amount of water we ordered.

Drinking like camels

We were on Plover Cove under 35 degrees centigrade at 12 noon! The next shaky life was my very own! Barely 30 minutes into Plover Cove, I lost power and my legs and hands were literally barbecuing in the sun. Steven waited patiently for me and kept encouraging me to move slowly.

After 4 grueling hours, 36kms and 1700m in elevation, we finished without losing anyone in the team. (Insanity prevailed today).

Happy to finish



Pat Sin Leng + Cloudy Hill

Got up at 0600 in the morning on a Sunday (surprisingly) and instinctively decided to do Pat Sin Leng + Cloudy Hill.

I was in Tai Mei Tuk by 0800 and the weather seemed a little ominous. Some black clouds, drizzle and a lot of breeze. Climbing up Pat Sin Leng was a solo experience as I had the whole hill to myself and it was an awesome experience. Flying into the clouds alone and taking a deep breadth felt invigorating.

On the way down to Cloudy Hill, I saw the first humans on the trail. Strangely, a bunch of old grandpas and grandmas carrying umbrellas. Not sure why only the old folks manage to gather the courage to do hikes in inclement weather but not anyone else.

Cloudy Hill was awesome as usual and I saw the elites Law Chor Kin and Ida Lee again training there.


Tai Mei Tuk to last hill of Pat Sin Leng: 35 mins 57 secs
Pat Sin Leng to Cloudy Hill start: 1 hour 1 minute
Cloudy Hill start to Tai Wo KCR: 54 mins 50 secs

Time: 02:32:40
Distance: 17.66 km
Elevation Gain: 1,112 m