There are more than 800 steps up this hill. It is on the MacLehose Trail in Hong Kong. The whole trail is over 1000 km long. You might not expect this of Hong Kong but, there are thousands of kilometers of trails throughout the SAR.
The MacLehose Trail is divided into 10 sections. This hill, Needle Hill, is on the section that is above Shatin heading toward Tai Lam Chung Reservoir. Needle hill is 532 meters high. In addition to the hill, the trail has two additional perils. The first is stray dogs and the second are the monkeys.
It is estimated that there are more than 25,000 stray dogs in Hong Kong. They are often abandoned when families move from one flat to another that doesn’t allow pets, were purchased as puppies and then were too much work, or were used as guard dogs and then abandoned when building works were completed. Hong Kong Dog Rescue does a lot of work to try to find homes for these unfortunate animals. Because dogs are social, they tend to pack, and then roam in the country parks. They get hungry. They have been known to attack people who are walking in the parks. Having said this, the majority of dog attacks in Hong Kong are in indoor public areas. Moreover, with a little sensible action these wild dogs will not attack you if you stay calm and avoid eye contact.
The same advice goes for the Monkeys. They are cute from afar but can be quite mean. They will try to steal your food, because your sandwich or whatever is probably a lot nicer than what they can scrounge from the forest. They are not stupid. According the the AFCD, they were introduced to Hong Kong in 1910 in an effort to control the spread of what was thought at the time to be a poisonous to humans fruit, which it turns out was not poisonous. There are thousands of monkeys, mostly around the Tai Lam Chung Reservoir. Recently the monkeys have been coming toward Shatin and have entered the residential areas. Sha Tin College and Junior School is near the trail head and they sometimes have lock down when the monkeys get close to the school. There is also provision to close the school if the monkeys invade the school grounds.
Despite these dangers, one shouldn’t be put off walking in Hong Kong. You will see wonderful things. At the reservoir end of the trail there are tunnels that were dug for defensive purposes. To aid with navigation, the British who built them used London Tube stops as way finders. They are not preserved as an historic site or visible from the trail, but they are accessible.
You can find out more about the hiking trails in Hong Kong from the very excellent Hong Kong Walkers site available here.
The Japanese also built tunnels durring WW2 and you can find out more about that from Gwulo.
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