Lei Yue Mun Battery & Fort
It’s believed that even though the existing fort and battery (also known as Gough Battery) is a result of British Colonial control of Hong Kong, the location on Devil’s Peak (owing to its advantageous line of sight over the eastern harbour approaches) meant that this was also a popular lookout point for local pirates. However, it wasn’t until the British started to consolidate their position in Hong Kong, and prepare for possible incursions by the Russians and French, that solid defences were constructed here.There is the main fort that sits on top of Pau Toi Saan (Devil’s Peak) at 222 metres above sea level. Further down the hill on the same ridge is two old circular batteries which used to house large guns capable of firing at sea. Unfortunately when the time actually did come to man the thing, during the Japanese invasion in 1941, the danger came over land from the north and the firing angles of the guns didn’t provide adequate cover. When we visited it was being swarmed by groups of kids with pellet guns playing war games (they even had their black ski masks for protection) despite there being numerous signs forbidding it – still only a bit of harmless fun as long as a passerby doesn’t get one in the eye.
The fort was completed in 1914 and is reasonably intact despite being open to the elements and probably taking a bit of a pounding from the Japanese during their invasion in 1941. If you have already read the transcription taken from the Sai Wan War Memorial (featured in a previous entry) then you will know that Lei Yue Mun was the last point held by the local defence forces before the Japanese eventually took over the peninsula – it was here that a daring escape over the strait to HK Islands was made by a number of Indian soldiers.
The view from here is pretty amazing. It’s a short but fairly arduous climb that will make you sweaty and out of breath but the views from the top are amazing – especially on a clear day. The panorama virtually 360°, looking south you can see HK Island across the strait (this is also the shortest point between the island and the mainland peninsula), to the east (well south east) you can look over Junk bay towards Tung Lung Jau, and what used to be Junk Island before it was encapsulated by hefty reclamation – it’s still there, but it’s just no longer an island!!! West sees you looking towards the old Kai Tak runway and Hung Hom as well as North Point on the island, and North sees the Chinese permanent cemetary and various parts of Sai Kung (on a clear day that is).
The path that leads along the ridgeline from here is part of the Wilson Trail and this is really where the trail picks up on the Kowloon side of the harbour.