Today I had booked a tour to the Horton Plains, a national park located on a high plateau, where there is a famous view called World’s End – a sheer cliff, with all of western Sri Lanka stretching away into the distance. My guide advised leaving very early, since the view is usually covered with mist from the mid-morning.
The weather forecast for the day was bad, but suggested it might not rain early in the morning. When we left at half past five there was only a light drizzle, which soon stopped. At around six, it got light, and I could watch the passing tea plantations and small villages. At half past six we reached the park, and I started my walk. The landscape and plants at this relatively high altitude were completely different to anything I had seen before in Sri Lanka – or anywhere else for that matter.
The path first arrived at “Little World’s End” – a smaller cliff, also with a view. I was relieved that it was still not raining and that despite the clouds the famous view was partially visible.
I hurried on, but after a few more minutes the inevitable happened – it started to rain heavily. I pulled on a waterproof top, but had to accept my legs and paws getting soaking wet. The path turned into a small stream.
Arriving at World’s End, all there was to see was a big bank of thick cloud.
I carried on along the path, and the rain continued to fall steadily. Although it was unpleasant to have wet fur all down my legs, after a while I got used to it. The rain was even pleasantly cool, and the scenery was interesting.
The next highlight of the walk was Baker’s Falls, a powerful waterfall swollen by the recent rains.
After the falls, the path became easier and less like a small river. There were more lonely, windswept landscapes to admire until suddenly I was back at the park entrance.
Back at the van, I changed my trousers and took off my soaking shoes. The one-hour trip back felt very long – I hadn’t had enough sleep, my fur was still wet, and the windows of the van steamed up to obscure any interesting views. I reached the Hill Club at around noon, with a sense of relief. It was now raining heavily, so I went straight to bed for a well-needed nap. I awoke an hour later to the find water streaming down from the ceiling of my room – the strong winds must have damaged the roof, creating a big leak. I changed rooms and set out about hanging up my wet things in the hope that they might dry.
There was nothing to do but simply enjoy the old colonial Hill Club. I wandered around, taking more photos…….
……and then treated myself to high tea, a wonderful club tradition where you stuff yourself with cakes, savoury snacks and tea in the mid-afternoon.
After such a huge tea, I sat and wrote my blog in the reading room. In the early evening I tried a game of snooker in one of the club’s two billiard rooms – although the table was so big it was hard work for a small teddy bear.
I dined late and chose Indian Ocean Kingfish, which was a bit like tuna in texture and taste, washed down with a bottle of wine (my first wine since I had arrived in Sri Lanka). It had been a difficult day, but sometimes the life of a traveller is like that. The walk had been very interesting, if wet, and the comforts of the Hill Club more than made up for spending half the day with wet fur.