Ella Rock

Map

Crew : 6

Transportation : Cars (Kandy to Ella and back), Walk (Ella Rock)

Duration : Two Days

 

There was a long weekend coming and one of my friends suggested to go on a road trip. Though we had many suggestions earlier for road trips, all were limited to planing stage. So we decided it is better to plan a small road trip with more time allocated to sightseeing than driving. “Ella” won most of our votes. There were only six people confirmed participation (Including me) and two cars were more than enough. To make that more of a road trip, we decided to go to Nuwara Eliya on the first day and then drive to Ella and spend the night there. Our initial plan was to camp at Ella rock but we found out that it is not allowed to camp there now as someone has set fire (may be mistakenly but it is totally irresponsible) in recent past. We were angry with the people who are responsible to the fire for ruining a another best camping location for Sri Lankans. So we had to search for accommodation and found a decent place in Ella town for reasonable price.

We spend the night of the previous day at a friend’s house. We started our drive around 9 am from Pilimathalawa by two cars. We had breakfast in Gampola town and took our time driving up to the misty hills of Nuwaraeliya. All four of the usual partners for bicycle rides (Read more about our bicycle rides from Nuwara Eliya to Kandy and Pattipola to Kandy) were there, so we took a break to have a good cup of tea at our favorite spot. A hot cup of tea combined with a piece of chocolate cake from Macwoods Labukellie tea Centre was the ideal combination for the misty and cold weather. It took around another half an hour to take a group photo and hang around the observation deck.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….18491685_1758641527486045_694067606873923044_o
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
18489679_1758639047486293_7783345629866926412_o18517996_1758638347486363_6246576930089623428_o

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….18518342_1758640024152862_7690496756726733918_o…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
Next we drove up to NuwaraEliya town. It was just around noon and we were not hungry. So we went to the park next to the Lake Gregory and enjoyed the warm sun rays filtering through the misty clouds. It was a long weekend and the park was fairly crowded. Children were in line to take a ride on a Pony while a bit older crowd were focusing on a Zip line across the park. After spending sometime lying on the ground we thought of checking out the kayaks that were for rent. It was 500 LKR per kayak for 45 minutes. We rented three kayaks and teamed up to balance the weight! 😀 We had to be seated when they pushed the kayaks to water from a feet height lake bank. We were bit worried about the balance and splash of water, but they managed to put our kayaks to water safely.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….18558741_1758761110807420_127088797361000753_o18527112_1758640894152775_7019476613349627924_o
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….18527169_1758640020819529_5865554796385935020_o…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….18556440_1758642284152636_8281952112759130978_o18451474_1758760880807443_538746128270620434_o
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….18518234_1758644637485734_2335284843804842902_o
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….18556687_1758644164152448_5806078539292477615_o18527504_1758631427487055_3709989596673470700_o
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
It was easier than it looked. We got used to the kayaks and rowed them to the other corner of Lake Gregory. We were busy with taking photographs and suddenly realized that the lake surface is empty and we were the only people in the middle of the water. Then a sharp whistling noise pointed us to the sky. A seaplane was about to land on us!!!
😛
So we used the full strength and rowed our kayaks to the closest river bank. The plane landed afterwards giving us better opportunities to take more photos. We decided to head back to the land to have the lunch. We searched for restaurant suggestions in the internet  and went straight to “Salmiya” restaurent but they had many orders waiting so we decided to look for something else as we were extremely hungry. Our next stop was “Calamander Lake Gregory”. We ordered soon and enjoyed our food for more than an hour before starting the journey up to Ella.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….18451775_1758640394152825_3661809312086989107_o…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
18449650_1758631844153680_4288113424693545031_o…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….18449514_1758634700820061_6663152876509696916_o…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….18451361_1758632117486986_235642860613573569_o…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
We reached Ella around 5 pm and took some time to rest after the long drive. It was drizzling and the whole world was covered in freezing cold mist when we looked outside. We had no choice but to go out for Dinner. We went straight to Cafe Chill as we were there before and it was popular for their tasty dishes. It was 30th of December and they had a DJ organized. So we thought to go there and asked the staff about it. Sadly the waiter informed that they have limited it only for foreigners due to some issues occurred sometime before. It was a big slap for Locals but we had to accept the fact that the owners made the decision in favor of their industry and the good name of Sri Lanka. So we went straight back to the place we booked and went to bed early with the hopes of starting the Ella rock Journey early in the morning.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….18491762_1758760684140796_7281902673391038282_o…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….18489578_1758760640807467_1820897480912140753_o18451378_1758760927474105_6153979177668261083_o…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
It was around 4 am when i woke up by the alarm. We hurried in to our hiking clothes and went toward the Ella rock road by a car. We were said that the by road to Ella rock is on the left hand, so we decided to use google maps to find the location. It took only 30 minutes to reach the google map location but we couldn’t find any junction. So we decided to seek help from a villager. But we couldn’t find anyone as it was too early. Then a Threwheeler came towards us and we asked them about the directions. They directed us towards a junction on the road we came and when we went, there wasn’t any by road. So we searched on our own for around 30 minutes and found out that the people who we asked for directions had mislead us, The by road was just few meters ahead of the place where we met them! That was one of the worst experiences I have ever had.

We drove on that road and came to a dead end near the Kithal-Ella Railway station. The final part of the road is not in a good condition but our car managed to do some Off road-ing. We parked it near by and went down on a foot path to the railway station. There was a villager feeding his cow nearby and he kindly lead us towards the trail to Ella rock.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….IMG_4373IMG_4375
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….IMG_4376IMG_4377
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

You have to walk on the rail track for few meters from Kithal-Ella railway station until the 166.25 sign post and take a left turn to the foot steps towards the small tea plantation. Few steps after we found a a small bridge over a crystal clear water stream but sadly the Sun came out at the exact same time. We had high hopes to capture the rising sun from Ella rock, as we heard that is a marvelous experience. But with the delay to finding the correct by road, we missed that. There was a small shop (like thing) adjacent to a clay (wattle and daub) house. We decided to have a break there as we are already late. There were biscuits so we bought a packet and had some plain tea. She was looking after three small kids (her grand children) while their parents are working somewhere, Faces of those kids gave us a clear idea about the hardship of life that they are facing. Old lady confirmed our trail is correct and gave us some tips stay on the main trail without wandering to one of many foot paths there. There was few dogs and one decided to climb the rock with us.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….IMG_4380IMG_4382
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….IMG_4390IMG_4398
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….IMG_4399
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The climb was less intense for most of the part and we met few groups of foreigners on the way. Gigantic umbrella of trees filtered the warm sun rays and unveiled the beautiful sky from time to time. It was a wonderful experience and we could imagine how it will be at the sun rise. After about 45 minutes of climbing we reached to a plane, Which could have been an excellent camping location.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….IMG_4402
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….IMG_4420IMG_4417
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….IMG_4429IMG_4428
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….IMG_4447IMG_4443
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….IMG_4453…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
Just after that the climb began, it isn’t the hardest but comparatively the way up to that point is much easier. We took many breaks to catch our breath and capture many photos as we could. We met a couple and few groups of foreigners each after a dog guiding them to the top!
😀

There are two path from the top, one towards Rawana Ella and the other just leading to the Ella town side. We spent around an hour there under the thick shade of the pine trees before starting the journey back to Ella town.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….IMG_4477IMG_4450
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….IMG_4458IMG_4484
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….IMG_4526
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….IMG_4550IMG_4585
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
We went straight back to the place we spend the night and packed the bags. Then went to the same cafe we had the dinner last night and had a long satisfying lunch. It was around 2 pm when we finished and decided to drive back home. We reached Mahiyanganaya around 5pm and I had left to Ampara for work while others going to Kandy.

Advertisements

Pattipola – Nuwara Eliya – Kandy Bike Ride

UntitledCrew : 4

Transportation : Train and Mountain bicycles

Duration : Two Days

This time we thought of extending our previous route and ride from Pattipola to Kandy. We took our bicycles to Pattipola by Train and went Pattipola by Kandy – Badulla Night mail train. It left Kandy at 3.30 a.m. and It is one of the most beautiful scenes that i have seen, the dawn through cold misty mountains on the way to Pattipola. The train reached Pattipola railway station around 10.30 a.m. and it took another 30 minutes to clear our bicycles from the station. A drizzle started as soon as we entered the road, we decided to stop for a while. But started riding again in the rain because the rain didn’t stopped. We had our brunch in a roadside cafe and realized Roti, pol sambol and tea are the perfect match for the cold and rainy weather.
🙂
There are two roads from Ambewela to Nuwara Eliya. one is Peradeniya-Badulla-Chenkaladi (PBC) Highway (18.3 kms) and the other is Blackpool-Ambewela-Pattipola-Hortain plains road (15 kms) . Since we had to ride in the rain as any of us hadn’t brought rain coats and the Blackpool-Ambewela-Pattipola-Hortain plains road had a better scenic view, we decided to use that road. We stopped many times to rest because the road had more climbs than downhills. It was like a completely different country there but the sadness is any of us couldn’t use our cameras in the rain because they weren’t waterproofed. We stopped at Ambewela farms dairy shop and had chocolate milk and fresh yoghourt. We saw some local visitors throw empty yoghourt cups to the road while there are several dust bins few feet away.
😦
On the way one of our bicycles had a trouble with the free wheel and we had to take it to Nuwara Eliya by a Three Wheeler. We arrived Nuwara Eliya around 6 p.m. and went for the dinner after a rest and a hot water bath. Dinner was great and the whole day cycling made the food tastier.

After a long sleep we started our second day of the journey. First thing we had to do in the morning was to repair the bicycle with the freewheel trouble and we found a place with a skilled and a kind owner near the St.Xavier’s Church, Nuwara Eliya.  After that we had our breakfast, bought rain coats and then started the ride. As first couple of kilometers from Nuwara Eliya town to top pass (Nuwara Eliya town limit) is the steepest climb of the entire ride, it was around 10.30 a.m. when we reached top pass. We have mounted our cameras to bicycles and then started down hill cycling. Unfortunately the rain started again and the whole world around us covered in a thick layer of mist that we couldn’t see even few meters ahead. We had to slow down and follow a queue of vehicle lights until Mackwoods tea center. We waited there sipping tea and having chocolate cake about an hour until heavy rain stops. Then we all checked and adjusted our brakes again and started downhill ride. The mist was thicker this time and ice cold rain drops managed to hit right on our faces. We took very few breaks because we were already late due to the rain and mist. It was around 7 p.m when we reached near Peradeniya and had a rest @ faculty of Engineering , University of Peradeniya. I was exhausted  because it was the first time that i have been on the mountain bicycle for consecutive two days but was happy to be back on the bicycle.

If you are planning to ride from Nuwara Eliya in a rainy season it is better to have a rain coat, riding glasses and a mountable torch in case u have to ride in the misty weather. And be completely confident about your bicycle, specially the breaks and gears because a drizzle can drastically reduce the grip between break pads and the rim as well as reduce the lubricity on gear wheels and the chain causing the chain skip between gear changes.

photo credits : Sarith senarath and Kalhara jayasinghe

Downhill cycling video :

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSCF5065DSCF5091

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..1383552_751427141540827_1866727241_nDSCF5056

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..1395968_751427084874166_256569081_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..1385395_751426978207510_270883177_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSCF5115DSCF5106

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSCF5103DSCF5100

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 DSCF5152DSCF5088…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSC00099…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..1375813_751427658207442_184628962_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..1184771_751427708207437_1130137456_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..1395245_751427364874138_884521524_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSCF5159DSCF5160

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSCF5154DSCF5158

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..1390648_751427288207479_828790393_n1382167_751427484874126_2053852679_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSCF5167…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSCF5163DSCF5164

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSCF5182DSCF5170

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSCF5165DSCF5166

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSCF5184A View from Nuwara eliya town

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSCF5189DSCF5188

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..:)…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSCF5156DSCF5197

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSCF5199dew

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..  DSCF5210Good morning!

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..The friendly dogRepair

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..St.Xavier's church, NuwaraEliyaDSCF5226

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. DSCF5258 1395248_10202199093846859_1577008763_n

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. DSCF5236…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSCF52391378486_751427924874082_962417139_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

1376514_751428041540737_1554035439_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSCF5250DSCF5261

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..MackwoodsDSCF5267

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSCF5237DSCF5274

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..MistyThe place…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..1378131_751428138207394_482738890_n1375167_10202199125207643_351832771_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..1378533_751427064874168_312016579_n1374066_751426464874228_1202438596_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..1382362_751428111540730_1886854450_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..DSCF5285DSCF5286

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..   1391506_10202199124247619_657911601_n

Nuwara Eliya – Kandy bike ride

mapCrew : 4 and 10

Transportation : Lorry and mountain bicycle

Duration : Two Days

There are 76 kms from Nuwara Eliya to Kandy and the road is in a good condition. It is better not to ride your bicycle all the way up to Nuwara Eliya from Kandy, which will be an exhausting tour. But if you are experienced you can try the up hill ride which once my two friends did. They started to ride from Kandy at about 4 a.m. and reached to Nuwara Eliya town at about 2 p.m. We arranged a lorry to take our bikes to Nuwara Eliya and enjoyed the lorry ride. 😀
The lorry driver and the helper were very friendly and they only charged a little for transporting us and the bicycles. It is better to arrange accommodation earlier, otherwise you will be facing difficulties in finding a proper place to stay at night in a long weekend, when visitors are frequent. There are good, a bit high priced places to eat in Nuwara Eliya town as well as around the Gregory Lake.

We started our journey from Nuwara Eliya  at about 9 a.m. Though Kandy has a low altitude than Nuwara Eliya, there are several places we have to ride up hill. The first 4 kms are the hardest from those. We had to ride about 80 meters higher than the starting point at Nuwara Eliya, which is around 1920 meters above sea level. After that, the journey become more easy and interesting as we have to ride our bicycles downhill. Only things to be concerned are  our speed limit and the vehicles coming towards Nuwara Eliya. Since the road has many blind and extreme bends it is better if you are 100% sure about your brakes and tires. On the way, my bike had a tire punch and as we didn’t carried a pump but only a tire tube I had to ride few kilometers with that tire punch until Blue field Tea Factory. People there was very friendly and they were kind enough to let us use their compressor to fill the tire.

After Ramboda there are several climbs but not harder compared to the climb we started with.  From Gampola the road is almost flat but need to turn your attention more to the road traffic. Finally we arrived to the Faculty of Engineering at about 5 p.m. and rested for a while before going back to our homes.

Photo and Video Credits : Sarith Senarath, Pradeepa Senanayake

Video : Downhill cycling near Macwoods, Labukale

Video : Downhill cycling

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..314734_10150410036251041_1335815576_n315947_2392166731633_1453129563_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..317440_2392169531703_335482914_n303177_10150410020626041_267850803_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..405760_3158533250317_145495848_n320247_10150410020521041_244583855_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..423950_3158536370395_1370630596_n430285_2852782955904_1404886244_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..426333_10150654232506041_1144056413_n403064_2852945479967_1838917826_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..427359_3158546410646_581532604_n424217_2852803036406_1621727060_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..316779_10150410021266041_800844335_n313639_10150410025466041_1167666659_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..409124_2852807516518_99498460_n312942_2392177531903_154628786_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..296087_10150410021606041_1390155968_n427183_3158574371345_1378909307_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..307755_2392181972014_1527840087_n309888_2392176451876_1513037355_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..383646_2958664293718_1760721468_n310502_10150410024506041_507554279_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..307710_10150410021181041_1331182401_n299659_2392178051916_1298342375_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..310848_10150410026011041_410115484_n423119_3158580771505_1685036280_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..423092_2852944119933_145898951_n425114_2852961080357_1012512798_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..308387_2392191172244_972522776_n417560_10150654230761041_777257561_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..307346_10150410032711041_314405296_n296270_10150410032491041_1403928379_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..402528_2852968200535_744905891_n315336_10150410029001041_347725689_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..294148_10150410032146041_807512019_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..400168_10150654234461041_211714868_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..304785_10150410030326041_97697858_n294071_10150410033021041_1534693074_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..300989_10150410034796041_1598850261_n307162_2392206812635_1863821034_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..421838_2854361035355_269474326_n407562_2852976480742_254007479_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..314386_2392207852661_1600311409_n310581_10150410030121041_389844273_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..431269_2852959320313_847792305_n320818_10150410033701041_1235684028_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..425635_3158522410046_37896060_n313021_10150410025136041_1619842790_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..419187_10150654234216041_816756650_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..428614_10150654234026041_2128684729_n…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..396604_2854395436215_1402556837_n426696_2854365355463_1499684452_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..426426_2854411436615_565795382_n407925_2854432437140_368406636_n

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..309611_10150410036411041_258813172_n409196_3158527810181_1399507491_n