Ma On Shan (peak)
|Ma On Shan|
|Elevation||702 m (2,303 ft)|
|Ma On Shan|
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 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.
Geography and geology
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. An extensive network of tunnels is buried under the hill. The iron mine was abandoned when it became uncompetitive, in the 1970s.
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.
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.
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 (Muntiacus muntjac).
Summitting 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 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.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ma On Shan (peak).|
- List of mountains, peaks and hills in Hong Kong
- Ma On Shan (town) - new town development to the northern side of the peak
- Take a glimpse of Hong Kong’s mining past, EJ Insight, 26 Sept 2015