Sunday fun-day for the VenueHub team and friends.
With VenueHub being very much a Sai Kung company, founded and run by Sai Kungers, it was decided we would take the chance in the glorious weather for a hike in Sai Kung's vast country park. So we got ourselves together, invited some close friends and decided today would be the day we attempted to hike up Sharp Peak, one of Hong Kong's toughest climbs at about 470 metres above sea-level. The aim was to get to the top and proudly display our banner, as a way of giving ourselves a sense of achievement and to mark our 6 month anniversary since launching VenueHub!
A collective groan from our friends in the city about coming 'all that way' to Sai Kung on a Sunday, is the usual reception we get! In order to get them out of bed early (or out of bed at all), this day was broadcasted as a leisurely walk in the country park followed by some good grub and cold beers at the great dai pai dong restaurants on Tai Long Wan beach, perfect venues to relax in. Nothing too strenuous. Boy were they in for a treat! Indeed one friend who will remain unnamed, gasping at the 10am meet time, would later describe the day as 'an intense rock climbing activity'. Two friends, still in bed at the 10am meet time, called to say leave without them, claiming confidently that they would catch up and meet us up the mountain! To be fair to them they did, and nearly overtook me!
Taking in the lovely Sai Kung air, away from the polluted and clustered nature of the city, seemed a welcome break for all. Unfortunately, after just ten minutes of the start of the hike up the peak, we suffered our first casualty. Sammie, who had been one of the more keener hikers among us, went over on her dodgy ankle. Unable to continue, she, with the help of another friend, turned back and took the more ageing friendly stone path, with the intention of meeting us at the beach later. Still, at least the ankle wasnt broken, or we might have had to summon a helicopter evacuation as this really was the middle of nowhere!
Undeterred, the rest of us continued our climb up the mountain. The surrounding views were stunning and that, along with seeing Jason, who being new to Hong Kong, deciding to wear long trousers and carrying a shopping bag in one hand whilst using the other for climbing, were definitely the highlights of the day so far. Some struggled with the climb up, including myself, who was actually the last one to the top. Some of us kept thinking, why? Why had we given up a comfortable sunday on the sofa with last night takeaway leftovers for this!? Indeed myself ,Lucy and Louisa were at the back of the pack, and upon passing an elderly hiker who told me I should help them more, I kept thinking to myself it was I who needed the help at this point!
Finally, after about an hour, we all reached the top of Sharp Peak. Fantastic surrounding views somehow took away the gasping for breath, and proved a welcome distraction. Joined by a few other hikers, we took some snaps, refueled ourselves and then began the descent down, which for many proved even more tricky than getting up! At least this time there were no snakes to be seen, a welcome relief after previous Sharp Peak experiences!
Having managed the climb down, we then hiked across two valleys and after about 2 hours, ended up at the dai pai restaurants on beautiful Ham Tin Wan beach, for some much needed, and much deserved beers and food. Greasy noodles, salty deep fried squid and ice cold Tsing Tao's was probably the highlight of my day.
Original plan was then to rest our tired bodies by getting a boat back to Sai Kung town, however we were politely informed that there were no boats that day, due to the wind and rough seas. So we had to walk back to the country park bus stop, another hour and half but this time on more comfortable gradients.
As we all headed home, all tired but with a sense of achievement having made the most of the Sunday, some of those new to Hong Kong reflected that they had no idea it had this kind of thing on offer. A lesson to all those overseas, Hong Kong is not just a concrete jungle where living on the 20th floor is quite low to the ground. There is just so much more to it....
For us Sai Kung folk, we are proud to be from here and love being part of the community. Indeed many successful businesses (Jaspas, Paisanos, Honeymoon Desert anyone?), started in Sai Kung and are still based here. Hopefully one day VeneuHub can emulate their success! After 6 months running, and things going well, we couldn't have thought of a better way to cap it off!