The sky has cleared by the time Charlie Frew and I set off for our ascent of Buffalo Hill (well, to me it's an ascent; to Charlie a slow stroll to a peak he runs up and down for a bit of fun before breakfast). Ma On Shan looks impressive as we walk through villages near Sai Kung, before following a country trail uphill.
After we've crested the ridge, the trail leads alongside Ngong Ping, with fine views behind us, to Ma On Shan.
Then, Charlie - lately branded a "robot" for his relentless hiking style - says it's uphill from a junction. So we climb, the grassy slopes of Buffalo Hill, again looking across the wild landscape towards Ma On Shan. Charlie vanishes ahead of me; I puff and pant (blaming the weight of my camera bag), and find him relaxing on a boulder with a view as if in a favourite armchair. A great vantage; too bad the sky has largely clouded over again.
From the summit of Buffalo Hills (606 metres), views over nearby hillsides to (you've guessed it) Ma On Shan recall parts of the Scottish Highlands; yet Sha Tin is close by to our left, and we're little more than a stone's throw from Kowloon.
We cross a dip to a second summit, 604-metre West Buffalo Hill, then Charlie yomps off down a path angling down a grassy slope. Turns out that he likes to run up here from Sai Kung, run over the peaks, then run back to Sai Kung again.
We continue past the Gilwell Camp, walk a little down the narrow road that angles down Fei Ngo Shan (Kowloon Peak), then turn down the Wilson Trail - with Buffalo Hill now looming above.
A shaft of sunlight penetrates the rather murky late afternoon, lighting Marina Cove below but not the nearby hillsides.
Phew!@ - sure are a lot of steps as we drop down, drop down more through woodland, to arrive at the narrow road in Ho Chung Valley. I'm the slowcoach again, arriving to find Charlie announcing he plans to run up this trail on Saturday. Shaking my head at this mad plan, I walk with him down footpaths through old fields, and on to the highway - and a minibus towards the city.