Major Footpath Route 12 / Cheung Po Tsai Traditional Path [????- ] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Major Footpath Route 12 / Cheung Po Tsai Traditional Path [????- ]

Hi there,

Checked the electronic map again and the former route 12 starting from west of Tregunter Path and Old Peak Road had been cut off right at the previous Po Shan Road landslide site. 

Please find here a photo from street view of the starting point of the path:


View Larger Map

I think I have read about this path in old urban folklore with reference to local pirates when I was a kid, naming it as a round the peak route.  According to the old map route 12 is approximately somewhere between the 700 & 800 ft contour.  Current version of maps would show it more or less around the 200m contour.

Best Regards,

T

Comments

Hi Thomas,

It's an interesting path - I'd also like to know more about it.

I first saw the entrance (the marker on the map) around 20 years ago on a walk up to the peak. It looked very different from the photo you have above. Then it started as a scruffy length of tarmac-ed road, that soon turned into a footpath.

I walked it a couple of times a few years later. Not far from the start I remember it climbs up very steeply over a bare section of rock, with chains to help you climb up.

Further along, the path runs along a definite channel, several feet wide and deep, with a wall along the outer edge. I've always wondered who went to the trouble of building it and why.

Then when I got to the end there wasn't any clear path down, but I remember walking down the edge of a fairly recently terraced section of hillside. I think that must be the area of the landslide, as you mentioned.

It's an unusual walk. On the one hand you're climbing along an overgrown hillside. But just a short distance away are the mid-levels high-rises, and a bit further up the hill is the walk around the peak. Not a walk for this time of year, but I'd be happy to try it again in the cooler weather.

I've also seen it labelled 'Cheng Po Tsai Path' or similar, connecting it to the famous 19th-century pirate.

On today's maps it is just shown as a dotted line, indicating a footpath. But on a map from the late 1930s (Plate 3-5b, Mapping Hong Kong) it appears as a continuation of Po Shan Road. The map still shows uses a dotted rather than solid lines, but there are two parallel dotted lines suggesting it was a lane at that time.

Can anyone tell us more about the history / use of this path?

Regards, David

Hi David,

I believe they have renovated the entrance of the path slightly more than a year ago.   From the online map there isn't much left from the landslide westward, but the path was still marked in the 1975 map, despite the landslide occurred in 1972.

I think I still have that book with me, but as far as I could recall the part describing this ancient path is just about a paragraph.  I'll see if I could rewrite it into English and post it up.

Best Regards,

T

Hi there,

Finally made up my mind to type and translate the passage.  It is a short one, just a few paragraphs.  I don't know who wrote the original Chinese story, but I believe my old man bought that tbook in the 1960's.

For some unknown reasons I was unable to copy and paste the Chinese version here so here goes:

Quote>>

Cheung Po Tsai Ancient Trail

This trail does not show up in maps.  It was a path used by the infamous pirate Cheung Po Tsai long before Hong Kong was ceded to the British.  Today, the path's starting point is located just west of where Tregunter Path intersects Old Peak Road.  On the other hand, the upper section of Old Peak Road also served as part of the ancient trail.

The Trail goes along the slopes between Conduit Road and Lugard Road, extending westward, around the Victoria Peak, then around the High West to go behind the Victoria Pea.  It then goes up the Pokfulam Reservoir Road back to the Victoria Pass where the Peak Tram is, then goes down Old Peak Road, back to Tregunter Path as a full circle.  When Cheung's lair was based on the island, the trail had been his major passage around the peak.

The most spectacular section is above Cental, which passes through a cliff.  Back then there were cast iron chains as hand grips, but now only tens of steps hewed from the bare rocks were left behind.  They are very steep, nearly as steep as a ladder, nick named "Stairway to heaven".

Another spectarular section is somewhere behind the Queen Mary Hospital.  There goes another cliff with only a very narrow ledge for passage, nick named "The Bridge across the sky"

You could have great views of the harbour, from Central to Kennedy town, towards the western side and beyond.

End Quote>>

The scenic part is only partially right as of today as much of the path is overgrown on both sides.  There are still some gaps along the path, however.  For most of the path from Central until you reach the Pokfulam, you should be able to hear the very low frequencies of heavy traffic down the slope.  I have tried to trace the missing section between Po Shan Road and the mud path above Pokfield Road, but I am still sort of uncertain.

Best Regards,

T

Thomas, thanks for the extra info. That section of trail behind Queen mary Hospital is one of my favourite walks, but I didn't realise it was part of this same path.

There's a description of this section of the path on the AFCD website, though the directions for the section nearer Pokfiled Road are a bit vague:

Start your hike from the picnic site at the end of Harlech Road. There are two picnic sites within the park. One of them has a lookout built directly on top of an old pillbox dating back to the Japanese War. There is an information plate that presents major sights of the region. On clear days, your can spot the remains of Pinewood Battery inside Lung Fu Shan Country Park.

Past the small park at the end of Harlech Road, the trail descends to the middle section via some steps. There is a fine view of Queen Mary Hospital and Cyber Port, set against beryl water and Lamma Island in the distance. On your left is the Hong Kong Trail, while the entrance to Cheung Po Tsai Traditional Path, an ancient hill walk, lies on the right. It is a popular hiking route to follow Stage 1 of the Hong Kong Trail and then onto Lung Fu Shan Country Park via Cheung Po Tsai Traditional Path. About 3.5 km in length, the traditional path takes only 1 hour to complete.

Skirting along the uplands, the Cheung Po Tsai Traditional Path is blessed with clean, unpolluted air that is beneficial to plant growth. Pathside vegetation features great diversity, and provides habitats for many birds and insects. Half way down the path, there are ruins of ancient temples near Sai Lam Buddhist Hall (old site), and traces of makeshift facilities constructed by morning walkers which were once common in Lung Fu Shan. Further up, at the start of another traditional path section, you find a rain shelter with clothes hangers and the first-ever tea-making facilities provided in a country park (stoves for kettles) to morning walkers. A flight of steps take you down to a level hill trail. A little further, another flight of steps lead up to a large finger-shaped marker-post, indicating the end of the rain shelter section of Cheung Po Tsai Traditional Path. The section of the path that leads to Hatton Road was closed in mid 2000 after a mudslide.

Regards, David

Hi there,

Guess what, my first excursion into this section of the path between section 1 of Hong Kong Trail and Hatton Road was an after dark stride after walking down the steps from the Observation Post at High West.  I didn't even have a flash light with me that time.  But owing to the light pollution I was able to see the path most of the way except when I was in short sections of over grown area.

It is actually quite nice if you don't mind the darkness.

Best Regards,

T

The (pedestrian-only) road down from the Peak to Pokfulam reservoir is another good one. I haven't done it for several years, but the last time I was there we saw firebugs / fireflies glowing in the bushes.