Ma On Shan (peak)
|Ma On Shan|
|Elevation||702 m (2,303 ft)|
|Ma On Shan (peak)|
The saddle of Ma On Shan is clearly seen in the background.
|Literal meaning||saddle ridge|
Ma On Shan (Chinese: 馬鞍山) is a saddle-shaped peak in east of Tolo Harbour in the New Territories of Hong Kong. With a peak of 702 metres (2,303 ft), it stands among the ten highest mountains in Hong Kong. The mountain borders Sha Tin and Tai Po districts.
Iron ore was mined here in the past. An extensive network of tunnels is buried under the hill. The iron mine was abandoned after losing advantages over other less expensive sources.
Ma On Shan can be distinguished by the west face which looks like a saddle. and "Ma On Shan" can be translated as "horse saddle mountain". Nine streams flow around the Ma On Shan, with the biggest stream located at the Southwest slope of Ma On Shan, where Ma On Shan Village is also located.
The North Slope of Ma On Shan is mostly covered in trees, while the south slope is mostly covered in shrubs and grasses. On these hostile volcanic hills, only hardy and highly adaptable plants survive. Occasionally you may spot some rare flora species for example, three species of native Rhododendron has been recorded along the slope, including Rhododendron simsii, which blooms with red flowers in late March. Rare and protected species of plants also grow on Ma On Shan including the Chinese Lily (Lilium brownii) which grows on Ma On Shan's east facing slope.
A few types of wild Orchids also grow in the streams of Ma On Shan including Hong Kong's most common orchid, the Bamboo Orchid, so called because of a distinct stem that looks like bamboo.
The natural environment of Ma On Shan is relatively undisturbed, so this valuable sanctuary gives shelter to many wildlife species. Common mammals are Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla), Chinese Porcupine (Hystrix brachyura), Wild boar (Sus scrofa) and Common Muntjac (Munitacus muntjac).
Summiting for sport
Ma On Shan is one of the peaks used in the annual '4 Peaks' running and sailing race in Hong Kong. It is a much prized feat among Hong Kong trail runners to test themselves on running to the top. The current Strava CR (course record) of 19 minutes and 8 seconds is held by local runner Matt Moroz and was set on 28 February 2014.
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