Hong Kong’s reputation as a concrete jungle was shattered for hundreds of international hikers who took part in the Fjällräven Classic Hong Kong.
The Classic is a 47-kilometre unsupported hike over three days. The participants are required to carry everything they need for their hike through the New Territories, including food, gas stoves and tents for camping.
There is a Classic in Sweden, Denmark and the US.
At the intersection of stage three and four on the Maclehose, 352 hikers that came from 26 different countries began the trek.
South Korea contributed the most participants, with 136.
“We want to open up the Classic concept in Asia and introduce even more people to the Fjällräven way of trekking,” the website says.
“There are few places in the world where tropical forest, ocean and city meet,” it says. “It’s a landscape that’s got to be seen to be believed.”
And sure enough, the epic landscape took the hikers by surprise.
A mother and daughter duo from the UK were taking in the view from Maclehose stage three.
“I had no idea,” the mother said, who lives in the Lake District in the UK so she can hike as much as possible.
“I thought Hong Kong was just a big city. When we told people we were going on the Classic they’d saying ‘Hiking? In Hong Kong?’”
Four German hikers had met on an online forum for Rolex watch lovers, but eventually shifted their common interest to hiking.
They had already taken part in the Sweden event.
“When we saw Fjällräven advertising the Hong Kong event we thought it would be a great way to see something new,” one of the Germans said.
“There’s cool things to see in the city, but we’re here for this. It’s much cooler and something you don’t think of when you mention Hong Kong.”
A Korean man stood atop one of the peaks and looked out across Plover Cove towards the world’s tallest bronze statue of Guan Yin, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy.
Her statue stands out as a white giant located below the hills of stage nine of the Wilson Trail.
“Wow!” the Korean man said. “ What is that statue? This is so beautiful.”
The Classic aims to inspire people to get into the great outdoors and also to preserve the environment. Each hiker is given a rubbish bag, and told to pick up not only their own rubbish but also other litter.
The hikers were given bottles that filter water so they could drink from streams, instead of using plastic bottles.
Two German motorcyclists who had taken part in the Sweden event said it was sad they needed to filter the water in Hong Kong.
In other Classics, they said, river water is fine to drink.
But nonetheless they were impressed by the ease of access to the countryside in Hong Kong.