Ma On Shan (peak)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Ma On Shan.
Ma On Shan
Ma On Shan is located in Hong Kong
Ma On Shan
Ma On Shan
Location of Ma On Shan in Hong Kong
Highest point
Elevation 702 m (2,303 ft)
Coordinates 22°24′32″N 114°15′6″E / 22.40889°N 114.25167°E / 22.40889; 114.25167Coordinates: 22°24′32″N 114°15′6″E / 22.40889°N 114.25167°E / 22.40889; 114.25167
Ma On Shan
HK MaOnShan AuKungKok.JPG
The saddle of Ma On Shan is clearly seen in the background.
Traditional Chinese 馬鞍山
Literal meaning saddle ridge
Overlooking Sha Tin Racecourse, Ma On Shan and its saddle is unmistakable

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 height 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.

Beneath the west face of the mountain along Tolo Harbour, the Ma On Shan new town extension, administratively part of Sha Tin, is named after the hill. It ends north in Wu Kai Sha.

A group of villages located east of the peak is named Shap Sze Heung and the harbour of Three Fathoms Cove.

Geography and geology[edit]

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 down from Ma On Shan, with the biggest located on the southwest slope of Ma On Shan, near Ma On Shan Village.

The mountain was formerly mined for its high-purity (60%) iron ore, with annual output in the 1950s and 1960s exceeding 100,000 tonnes.[1] An extensive network of tunnels is buried under the hill. The iron mine was abandoned when it became uncompetitive, in the 1970s.

Vegetation[edit]

The north slope of Ma On Shan is mostly tree-covered, while the south slope is mainly shrubs and grasses. On these hostile volcanic hills, only hardy and highly adaptable plants survive. There are some rare flora species, including Rhododendron simsii, which blooms with red flowers in late March, and two other species of native Rhododendron. Rare and protected species of plants also grow on Ma On Shan including the Chinese Lily (Lilium brownii) which is found on the mountain's eastern slope.

Bamboo Orchid flower

A few types of wild orchid grow in the streams of Ma On Shan, including Hong Kong's most common orchid, the Bamboo Orchid, so called because its distinctive stem resembles bamboo.

Wildlife[edit]

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).

Summitting for sport[edit]

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 course record of 19 minutes and 8 seconds is held by local runner Matt Moroz and was set on 28 February 2014. However a local outdoor adventure club have a biannual event which also hikes Ma On Shan as a competition. The winning time is consistently under 18 minutes with the record of 17.46 set in 1991 by a then 49-year-old scout leader Wong Yip.

See also[edit]

References[edit]