On a visit to the Shek Pik Reservoir, I found the water beautifully reflecting sun glitter, seemingly welcoming my arrival.
Following the catchwater drain, I quickly got to the entrance of the Shek Pik Country Trail. It is regarded as a beginner’s trail as the path is shady and not steep at all.
Shek Pik Reservoir was completed in 1963 after a seven-year construction period. With a capacity of 5.5 billion gallons, it was the largest reservoir in Hong Kong at that time. Now, it is the third largest reservoir in the city after High Island Reservoir and Plover Cove Reservoir.
The location was initially the Shek Pik Valley, where villagers were making a living by salt farming as early as from the Song Dynasty. By the time of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, six villages were developed, according to stone carvings and relics recovered in the area. Yet it remains a mystery, even to the archeologists, as for the exact year of the earliest settlement.
The end of the trail is the best spot for viewing Lantau Peak, which is actually made up of a pair of peaks.
Some people compared the peaks to a pair of phoenix, and that’s why the Chinese name of Lantau Peak is “Fung Wong” Shan, i.e. Phoenix Mountain.
However, the English name of the peak was named after another source, which was based on the knowledge of the inhabitants. Since the top looked as if a small part was gone missing, it was often referred as laan tau, meaning a broken head. The British put it as “Lantau Peak”.
From Wisdom Path, hikers with good physical strength can climb up Lantau Peak via Lantau Trail Section 3, but the stairs are steep and it takes around 90 minutes to finish.
In the midway, at the L026 signpost, hikers can rest their legs and enjoy a panoramic view of the Big Buddha in Ngong Ping and Kwun Yam Shan and Keung Shan in the west, or even Macau and Zhuhai if the weather is good.
To go to Shek Pik: Take New Lantao Bus route 1, 2 at Mui Wo bus terminal or bus route 11, 23 in Tung Chung, and get off at Shek Pik Police Stand stop.
To return from Ngong Ping: Take bus route 2 to Mui Wo Bus Terminal; or take bus route 23 to Tung Chung.
Time: About 2.5 hours
Reference: Government website
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec. 18, 2014.
Translation by Darlie Yiu with additional reporting
[Chinese version 中文版]
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