Thursday, 22 March 2018

Walking up Jat Incline

Jat Incline is a former military road and named after the (then) British Army Regiment that built it. The Jat Regiment is an Indian Army Regiment that, prior to 1947, was part of the British Army and (according to the marker stone at the junction with Clearwater Bay Road) it was the 199th Jat Infantry responsible for the construction of the road in 1907. Sadly, I don't have a picture of the marker stone because I started my walk from Ngau Chi Wan Street - about 50 metres from the aforementioned junction - but Gwulo.com has a few pictures.

At some point the road name has become corrupted from "Jat Incline" to "Jat's Incline" and I can only assume that it may be due to the way the name was transliterated into Chinese. The Cantonese name for the road is Jat Saan Do (扎山道) where the first character 扎 is pronounced in a similar way to "Jat". This same character is also a Chinese surname so it's possible that when the road signs were being made, the sign makers assumed that "Jat" was a surname and gave the road its current possessive form.

The road is one of three (easier) ways to get up to the Kowloon ridge line on foot. The other two being Shatin Pass Road from Wong Tai Sin area and also Fei Ngo Shan Road which takes you up the north side of the hills. The only problem with the road is that it is also the only way down for vehicles that have driven to the top of the hill, luckily the traffic flow is only one way (down hill) but still you need to be careful because drivers can be a little fast - no doubt enjoying the exhilaration (and acceleration...) of the twisty route down the hillside. On our way up we saw cars, motorbikes (I must admit, I've been down here on my MB as well) and even a massive construction truck that barely fitted in the road.

Traffic aside, it's a nice walk with some decent views and nice shade. There are lots of little pathways running off the road that make up various routes up to Kowloon Peak proper but unless you know where you are going and properly equipped it's best just to stick to the road.

Po Gau Temple

The walk to the top takes about an hour (it's around 3.5 km to the pavilion at the junction with Fei Ngo Shan Road) but it's only really past the halfway point where you start to get some decent views down into Kowloon below.

Lion Rock in the far distance
A hot but hazy day in Hong Kong
Looking down towards Diamond Hill area 

Once at the top you have several ways to get down other than retracing your steps. You can follow Fei Ngo Shan Road up the hill to another viewing point (and pavilion) before it cuts across the ridge and starts its zig-zag descent on the other side of the hill. Or you can head down hill following Shatin pass Road along Stage 4 of the Wilson Trail. The walk downhill towards Wong Tai Sin MTR is about another 4km.

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