This time we went to Fanling, and took the minibus 52B to Lau Shui Heung reservoir, a disused irrigation reservoir. At the reservoir it was a bit less quiet than expected, a secondary school was having a picnic there.
From this reservoir we started off on the Lau Shui Heung Nature Trail, a well maintained trail that circles the nearby Shek Au Shan. Of course we don’t circle a hill, as the top is what it’s all about. At the highest point of this hill there is a fire lookout, and indeed the views from there are really good. It was a little hazy but still we could see pretty far from here, in all directions. But I do feel for the two men we saw there. The view may be nice, but to have to watch it all day long, day in, day out…
They quite obviously were a bit bored, as one of them followed us for a while. He was probably afraid we’d get lost, indeed there was a fork in the road not far from the lookout. It was here that we sat down for a break and to have some lunch, and also where I hid a new geocache, Hok Lau, to mark the great viewpoint nearby.
After the steep climb, of course a steep descend follows. Our next target of this walk was Hok Tau Reservoir, another beautiful little reservoir. Like Lau Shui Heung Reservoir, this one was also to provide irrigation water to the farmers in the area. However with farming all but gone, the function of the reservoirs has been lost.
Hok Tau Reservoir is fed by several rivers. This little lake can be found a bit up from the end of the reservoir, just along the path. For some reason not many people go here, it really is a bit of an undiscovered paradise.
A few steps up and we reached the old village path, connecting Sha Lo Tung village to the north. Following the river has a gentle incline, slowly but surely going up. It is paved with large boulders, as so many such paths. Back in the day this kind of trails were the only links between villages, it is hard to imagine how people had to carry everything on their backs. Their produce to the market, other purchases back home… and that was just 50 years ago. It is just incredible how fast such developments have gone here.
Our final stop was at Sha Lo Tung village. A thriving community before, completely abandoned in the 1960s. The houses that remain are not maintained and slowly fall apart. Some of them are still in good shape, and can be entered. This are all typical Hakka-style houses, with a single large living room with kitchen at the ground floor and bedrooms on the first floor.
Recently one of the houses has been re-occupied, the owners run a small restaurant in weekends and keep some goats. They have also planted rows of mandarin trees along the access to the home, and a new gate has been erected.