Pinewood Battery – Pokfulam to Mount High West to Central ~ Medium

One Friday, my friend Urvi took a day off and my friend Lamiya wanted to hike, so we three decided to visit the Pinewood battery heritage trail and then hike up Mount High West.

Difficulty: 4/10

Duration: 2 hours 55 minutes

How to get there: I took the train to HKU MTR and exited at C1. I met my friends there. We crossed over and passed the Belcher’s and kept walking till we reached the subway to cross over to Sinopec petrol pump.

We saw a long flight of steps going up and we climbed that.

We came to a signpost that pointed towards Pinewood Battery and Hatton road and climbed up the steps towards that path.

We came across a beautiful Buddha and a dragon engraved in the wall and continued up the sloped path.

We again reached a signpost with Pinewood Battery and followed that path. We came to a flight of stairs with a big board Pinewood Battery Heritage trail marked and climbed towards it.

PINEWOOD BATTERY

This was the Pinewood Battery heritage trail. It was a very organised trail with boards giving descriptions of the remnants and also directions to follow on the trail.

A little history about this battery: Unusually located 307 metres above the sea level, Pinewood Battery now deserted (松林廢堡) is the highest of all the coastal defence batteries in Hong Kong and is very high by comparison with coastal defence batteries located in other parts of the world. While Pinewood Battery was associated with World War II, it was originally built in 1901-1905, apparently to ward off a perceived threat from Russia and France. Costing a total of GBP 9,579 at the time, it was meant to defend against western entry to Hong Kong harbour. Two six-inch Mark 7 guns were installed, each able to fire a 100-pound shell over a seven-mile range. 

 However, shortly after its completion, Pinewood Battery was designated as “surplus to requirement” in 1906. The government was worried about the high cost of maintaining Hong Kong’s coastal defenses. And, the two guns at the battery were removed in 1913. With the development of air power during World War I, it was decided that Hong Kong needed an anti-aircraft defense, and Pinewood Battery was drafted back into use in the mid 1920s with the installation of two three-inch Mark 1 anti-aircraft guns. Several buildings and shelters were added to the complex at the same time. 

 A week after their attack on Hong Kong, the Japanese directed extensive airborne operations towards the Island. On 15 December 1941, positions and military installations on the western side of Hong Kong Island were raided by the 23rd Army Air Group. The Pinewood Battery, manned by soldiers from the 17th Anti-Aircraft Battery of the 5th Regiment of the Royal Artillery, was air-raided several times by the Japanese bombers. It was abandoned on the 15th after an anti-aircraft gun was destroyed and other equipment damaged during one of these air raids. On Christmas Day, 1941, Governor Mark Young surrendered to the invading Japanese. Pinewood Battery later fell into disuse. Reference from gwulo.com.

We continued to the next relic.

Explanations were given for each one.

It was getting a bit serious as we were very involved in the history and so to lighten the mood we clicked some pictures.

We continued and found interesting remnants like the observation posts, latrines, where waste was collected daily and manually by conservancy personnel.

We also got to see the bunkers used for accommodation and storage.

After this, we had a tea break and decided to head towards Mount High West and followed the sign that pointed towards the Peak.

We reached the big garden and walked on the morning trail. A few steps ahead was the sign pointing towards Mount High west.

Mount High West Climb

I have done this hike before and blogged on it too but since Lamiya and Urvi hadn’t done this hike before, we decided to do so.

We had to climb up myriad steps in the heat but it was absolutely worth it. The views of Hong Kong were breathtaking.

We got our pictures clicked near the Mount High West elevation post stating 494 meters and the date.

After the post we continued on a rocky path and were completely mesmerised with the scenery.

We retraced our steps and got back on the morning trail towards the peak. We were famished so we decided to have lunch at Wildfire, pizzas, risotto and some cool drinks and then headed down the Tram path opposite Rajasthan Rifles and near Pacific coffee.

We finally reached Central.

This was a lovely, historical hike and I enjoyed every bit of it with my two companions.

It was a Friday well spent ending our evening with salted caramel lattes at Elephant Grounds.

This is a hike for children if they are interested in history. You can skip the climb to Mount High west and stick to the heritage trail and morning trail which is a part of the Lung Fu Shan country park. A dog friendly hike too.

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