Picture the scene; it’s 6am, we’ve already been up an hour, it’s cold, wind is blowing the rain into our face and we can barely see more than a few feet in front of us for mist. You could be mistaken for thinking I’m describing a standard Winter morning’s commute in the north of England, but I can confirm that I am talking about Sri Lanka. At this point, Kat turns to me and says; “I don’t want to do this”.
We had arrived in cold, rainy Nuwara Eliya two days earlier. The climate had been a complete shock to us and, for me, it actually felt a little like home. A quiet town hidden away up in the clouds on green hills – quite the contrast from Colombo and even Kandy.
The first night and day were spent discovering the town – or the little that it had to offer and we got the impression that three nights was perhaps one too many for Nuwara Eliya. Not to worry though; we found the town pub – also named ‘The Pub’ just like in Kandy – and decided to while away a few hours with the cheapest beer we have found in Sri Lanka so far. I guess every cloud (and there were lots of them) has a silver lining.
Thankfully, we only had one full day to burn as we had arranged to spend the following morning trekking through Horton Plains – home to the ‘World’s End’.
And so, we fast forward to the scene at the beginning of the post. Our driver, Kalum, had suggested that we picks us up from the hotel at 5am so that we beat the crowds and the clouds. There was very little wiggle room and our request for a 6am pick up was dismissed as “too late”. The optimist in me says that he meant “too late” for us in terms of the weather and the masses, however the cynic in me suggests that he meant “too late” in terms of him being able to squeeze another job in after us. I guess we’ll never know.
Right, where were we? Ah yes, cold, wet, miserable and tired at the ticket office – that’s right! We handed over our 5800 rupees for two foreigners, a local and a car and quickly rushed back to the car. The local ticket was 60 rupees, in case you were curious. Ours, as you can imagine, were ever so slightly more expensive.
Shortly after that, something miraculous happened. We got back in the car, drove a few more kilometres and were dropped off at the entrance to the Plains. To our shock, the rain and wind had mostly disappeared and it was clearing up to be a rather tolerable day. All of a sudden, the smiles were back on our faces and Kalum’s decision to pick us up at 5am seemed an inspired one.
The walk itself was fairly painless. Granted it was just short of 10 kilometres – a little too much for any time of day, never mind 6am – but it was mostly a flat path with plenty of signposts and information about the surrounding areas. A bit of a walk in the park, you could say, especially after trekking the jungle in Thailand a few months ago. Before we knew it, we were at our first point of interest: Mini World’s End.
As the name would suggest, Mini World’s End is a slightly smaller version of World’s End. Don’t say you never learn anything from this blog! World’s End is a cliff with an 870m drop from which, on a clear day, you can see for absolutely miles. So yeah, Mini World’s End is that but a bit smaller. I think the pictures may do it slightly more justice than my explanation.
The view truly was breathtaking and to be so close to the clouds was a really strange feeling. If this was Mini World’s End then we couldn’t wait to see what World’s End had in store for us!
Much of the same, it seemed, albeit on a larger scale. The views once again were mind-blowing, although I think you’d probably need to see them for yourself to believe them. It was a great place to just take stock, clear your mind and appreciate what’s around you. The annoyance of our 5am start seemed a million miles away.
The final stop was Baker’s Fall waterfall a few kilometres away which, if you’re into that sort of thing, is probably quite nice. I struggle to get over-enamoured with waterfalls but it was fairly pretty. I think the fact I’ve seen almost as many waterfalls as I have temples has maybe played a part in that!
Our trek was rounded off nicely with a further three kilometre walk and we were back in the car before 10am. Good going I’d say! The struggle we now faced was what to do with the rest of our day!
Next stop is Ella, home to the famous Ella’s Rock – another huge walk that you apparently need to start as early as possible. Anything later than 5am will be a bonus.
P.S. I realise that to anyone not familiar with the work of R.E.M my title won’t make much sense…your loss.