Horton Plains National park - Trek to Worlds End
Horton's Plains National Park, Sri Lanka
Early start today with a wake up call at 5.30 and tea or coffee waiting for us in the dining room. At 6 o'clock we piled into 2 separate minivans which would take to Horton's Plains national park. The journey took us around 1.5 hours to complete, as it involved driving up the mountain pass on a bumpy sink tracked pothole infested Tarmac road. As we wound our way up the pass, we drove through several poor Tamil communities living in shacks and surviving on subsistence farming. We finally reached Horton Plains National Park at around 7.15.
The original name of the national park is මහ එළිය තැන්න (Maha Eliya Thenna). But in the British period the park was renamed after Sir Robert Wilmot-Horton the British governor of Ceylon from 1831 to 1837, who travelled to the area to meet the Ratemahatmaya of Sabaragamuwa in 1836.
Horton Plains is located on the southern plateau of the central highlands of Sri Lanka. The peaks of Kirigalpoththa (2,389 metres (7,838 ft)) and Thotupola Kanda (2,357 metres (7,733 ft)), the second and the third highest of Sri Lanka, are situated to the west and north respectively. The park's elevation ranges from 2,100-2,300 metres (6,900-7,500 ft).
The mean annual rainfall is greater than 2,000 millimetres (79 in). Frequent cloudy cover limits the amount of sunlight that is available to plants. The mean annual temperature is 13 °C (55 °F) but the temperature varies considerably during the course of a day, reaching as high as 27 °C (81 °F) during the day time, and dipping as low as 5 °C (41 °F) at night.
As we drove to the starting point we came across some Sambar deer,(very like our Red deer in Britain), and a jungle fowl which looked exactly like a cockrel The hike involved a 10pm round trip through some spectacular scenery on a rough dirt track, (it very much reminded me of Scotland, with gorse and rough grass with wooded glades covering the expanse of the plains). At around the 1/2 way point we reached Worlds End, which literally is like the world's end, as the cliff stops abruptly and all you can see for miles is a vast expanse of woodland far below you and as far as the eye can see. After stopping for a while to admire the scenery and take photos, we continued our hike to Little Worlds End, and then on to the end, scrabbling up through an old dried up river bed part of the way. We finally reached the end at 10.20 and stopped for refreshments, the whole trek having taken us on a round circuit of around 10km.