Tuesday, December 20, 2011

MacLehose Section 4 & 5

(Updated 2020-DEC-23)
(23.3 kilometers) Between 7 and 9 hours depending on walking speed (took me 7.5)

Difficulty: 9/10. There are steep climbs for a good part of the trails and the two sections are over 22 kilometers. Inexperienced hikers will likely suffer. Bring a flashlight, just in case you can't reach the end of Section 5 before dark.

Cel phone coverage: Full

Water needs: 2 liters

Appreciation: 9/10. Great views of the mountains and then Kowloon (go on a clear day).

Map & Details: 

Transportation: From Diamond Hill MTR station, KMB 96R or 92 will take you to the Sai Kung terminus. Then take bus 99 or 299x and stop at 澳頭新村
O TAU NEW VILLAGE (the 6th stop). At the end of section 5, you'll be within 100 meters of Tai Po road where buses 72 (Cheung Sha Wan MTR), 81 (to Prince Edward, Mongkok, Austin MTR stations), and 86B (Mei Foo MTR) will take you back to town. Take it on the same side of Tai Po Rd you are on when exiting the trail

Why it's worth it: 


The MacLehose trail is identified by the little hiking dude.

Section 4's trail head is about 3 minutes walk from the bus stop (on your left).
There's restrooms on the other side of the road, by the beginning of the trail.

That is the start of Maclehose Section 4. M071

Helipad on the right. Keep left.

At this point, you leave the paved road (dirt path on the left)

Pay attention between milestone M74 and M75 not too miss the sharp left turn. 
Otherwise, you'll end-up off the trail in some deserted village. 
It used to be confusing, but there's now a Maclehose signpost.
Now, this is where the heavy climbing starts.

A little bit after M81, take a short break.

Around M82, nice views from where the para-sailing enthusiasts take off.


Section 4 completed. On your way to Section5. Head right and walk on the road for about 100 meters.

Section 5 continues on your left.

Between M97 and M98. Here, you will be at the intersection of  Jat's Incline,  Fei Ngo Shan Road and Shatin Pass.
Take Shatin pass on your right after a short break.

Flat walk along Shatin Pass. A short while after M100, you'll have an option to cut Section 5 short if you are tired, replenish your water supplies at the store on your right and keep going.

Be ready for more climbing.

A little bit after marker M104, after climbing a few steps, you'll be presented with an option of staying on the MacLeahose Section 5 proper (Option A, going straight) or exploring the Lion Rock portion (Option B, turn left). On a clear day, if you are not too tired, I strongly suggest option B which will give you the best Kowloon views. Both trails meet back into Section 5 at the gazebo between M106 and M107.

That is the gazebo between M106 and M107. Go straight up the stairs to continue with Section 5.

You'll cross Lung Yan Road a few times.

At this point, you're about 2.5km from the end of Section 5.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

MacLehose Section 3

(Updated 2019-APR-22)
Duration: (10.2k) Between 4 and 5 hours depending on walking speed (took us 4)

Difficulty: 8/10. 586m elevation gain. There are two steep climbs but each time, they are no more than 25 minutes long.

Cel coverage: Sparse to none

Water needs: 1.5 liter

Appreciation: 8/10. The views are nice, although most of the same as Section 2, but without the beaches. 

Maps and details: http://www.mapmyhike.com/workout/2791504142

Exercise area: None

Transportation: Better go on a Sunday as the other days make transportation harder. From Diamond Hill MTR station, KMB 96R will take you directly to Pak Tam Road where you get off at 北潭凹 PAK TAM AU stop. Otherwise, you can take bus 92 to Sai Kung, then 94 to Pak Tam Au stop. At the end of section 3, return taking bus 299 or 99 to Sai Kung, then 92 to Diamond Hill. Note that the bus stop is not right at the trail end; you will have to walk 5 minutes on your right or left.



The bus will drop you off right by the trail head.

Quite straightforward and with good signage.

Around post sign 52, there might be some confusion as there seems to be some trail going to the left.
That is not Maclehose. Keep right! (follow the sign)

At M055, there's a camping site and a map if you are unsure which way to go.
But basically, sharp left as indicated above.

Around M056. Keep left towards Shui Long Wo.

Monday, November 28, 2011

MacLehose Section 1 & 2

(Updated 2020-DEC-19)
(24.1 kilometers)
Section 1: Between 2 and 3 hours depending on walking speed (took us 2)
Section 2: Between 3.5 and 5 hours, depending on walking speed (took us 3.5)

7/10. Section one is a road, 90% flat. Really easy. Section 2 has some more challenging hills. About 300 meters ascent. 30% shaded.

Cel phone coverage: No.

Water needs: 2 liters.

Appreciation: 10/10. The views are incredible, especially in Section 2. Long Ke beach really, really nice.

Map & Details: 

Exercise Area: No

Transportation: From Diamond Hill MTR station, KMB 96R will take you directly to Tai Mong Tsai Road where you get off at Pak Tam Chung stop (Sundays and Public holidays only). Otherwise, you can take bus 92 to Sai Kung, then 94 to Pak Tam Chung stop. Return is even easier as section 2 ends almost right in front of a 94/96R bus stop.

Why it's worth it: 


96R at Diamong Hill MTR station. Very busy on Sunday mornings!

Pak Tam Chung stop bus stop.

Walk about 100 meters and head right. That's MacLeohose's trail head.
Click for larger version. All the spots marked with a number are referenced in the photos that follow.

Just follow the road. With nice vistas on your right...

... and on your left.

Not very complicated but just in case...

Head left.

Ain't that beautiful?

Right after the principal dam and the pavilion, you'll head left and start climbing.
At this point, you have cleared MacLehose Section 1. Go checkout the dam however, worth a few extra steps.

After 20 minutes or so of climbing up and down, you'll reach Long Ke beach which is  paradisaical and  nicely shaded, making it a nice spot for pic-nics or even camping if you're into it. Once you're done, follow the trail, more climbing and awesome vistas as per photo (Long Ke)

After the 300 meters climb, you'll start going downhill and eventually reach the merging point with the trail that most Sunday hikers take coming from Sai Kung (it is much easier). Head right.

Arriving in Sai Wan village.

Food break or keep going.

Sai Wan beach. The next bit has no shades so it is a bit painful if you do it in the summer and mid-day. 

After 30-40 minutes and a few "wow" moments, you will have reached Ham Tin Wan where you can rest a bit, have some food, restock your water supply and enjoy the beach.
Once you are done, go right through the store and take a left.

After this point, it's all quite obvious; just follow the trail. It is not a steep climb but it keeps going up for about 50 minutes with not much in terms of nice views as rewards for a job well done. 

At this point, don't go straight, keep on the path. You are about 25 minutes away from Tai Mong Tsai road and the end of Section 2. Once at the road, the bus stop will be on your side of the road and to the left.
Congrats on completion of MacLehose Section 1 & 2. Please note that section 3 starts just across the road, should you be tempted to go on.

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Please, don't litter!

Hiking is about communion with nature. So please pickup after yourself. There's no excuse to leave plastic bags, water bottles or any rubbish on or around the trails; if you managed to bring it, you can manage to bring it back!