Great western! Ever heard this name in Sri Lanka?? Yes it is not a name of any European destination, but a beautiful mountain located in beautiful hill country of Sri Lanka.
Easiest way to visit great western is getting the Badulla train from Colombo fort.
In a Friday evening, we met at Colombo fort to get the night mail train to great western.
Train started journey from Fort around 8.15 pm with a huge crowd of passengers who are going to villages for the weekend.
Ticket prices for third class was just 155 LKR. After a tiring train ride,we reached Great Western around 2.00 am.
It was too cold to stay outside the station in that morning.Luckily we have contacted the Railway Station while searching for a guide, so they were kind enough to provide us a space in a store room to sleep until sun rise.
But make sure you bring some worm clothes and bed sheets to make yourself warm since the rest room is just having few cement benches which are too cold to sleep.
You can easily find the starting point from the land mark of the small kovil on the left side of the railway tracks.But is advised to contact a guide before you go there.
We have contacted Mr. Morgan for the hike and he is providing breakfast and lunch upon request. You can contact him on 0770-791002.
We started journey with Morgan around 7.30 in the morning since we were too lazy to get up in the bone freezing cold. You can see Sri Padaya Mountain in the opposite side of the station.
Even the Great western mountain is located just behind the Station, we had to walk nearly a kilo meter to reach the starting point of the trek.
You can fill up your water bottles from the water stream next to the Kovil. Since there are no any other water streams in the during thetrek, it’sadvised to bring sufficient amount of water to the hike.
First part of the hike is bit hard with the slippery grasslands. But after few meters we entered to a thick forest area and it was a relief for us to walk under a shady path since it was getting hot under the heavy sunlight.
We were resting for few minutes on the dry leaves after walking few kilometers in to the forest. And had breakfast there. Morgan has arranged us some pol rotty for breakfast with chilie paste.
From this resting point you have to be careful to choose the correct path to the peak. Foot path to left side leads you to a trek around a huge granite rock, right side foot path takes you in the right direction to the peak. To reach the top of the mountain, we walked more than two kilo meters while having breaks on steep rock heads.
In some points we had to cling in to trees to walk easily on the foggy soil. Few leopards and wild boars are residing at the forest.
But lucky we couldn’t see any dangerous animal on the trek. Our Guide Morgan was really helpful for us during the whole journey. He is known as most ideal guide for the Great Western hike.
You don’t have to get permission to enter the trail, but if you are planning to do camping on the top, it’s better to inform Morgan early.
After walking through a bushy area we have reached the top of the mountain. But to get the perfect view of underneath valleys, we had to walk another kilo meter across the mountain.
Summit point was a huge rock in an edge. Walking to this area was joyful for us seeing the railway lines far away from the station. Morgan was encouraging us to walk fast to reach summit.
We were so surprised to see a train coming from the Thalawakale station. We all sat on the summit point to see the magnificent scene of two trains passing each other close to the station.
You have to reach the summit by 11.30 to witness this train passing from the summit. It was really beautiful to watch how these long blue ladies passing each other with a majestic look.
From the summit you can see Sri Padaya Mountain from opposite and Pithuruthalagala Mountain from left side. It was a spectacular view which vanished all our tiredness.
We were really tired after the climb, so we decided to rest under the bushes while sun was burning us so badly. We returned to the shady campsite to have lunch which was also arranged by Morgan.
After having the delicious lunch prepared by Morgan’s wife, we were resting for few minutes. Even we started climbing down to catch the train to Colombo at 2.15pm, unfortunately we had to come down with heavy a rain.
We were too late to catch that train. So Morgan advised us to get another train at 4.00 pm to Nanuoya since from there we can go to Nuwara Eliya to get a Colombo bus.
In a heavy rain we reached down to the station with mud all over us. So we had to change our clothes and rest in the rest room until 4.00 pm to get the rain.
Morgan was also stayed with us until our train comes and as the guide fee and food, we paid 6000 LKR to Morgan. He is an experienced guide for Great Western hike from a long time and can be recommended for a great hike.
From Great Western we came to the Nanuoya and from there we had to get a Colombo bus. After staying more than an hour, we finally got in to an A/C bus. Ticket price was around 500 LKR at that time.
Bus left Nuwara Eliya around 5.15pm and reached Colombo Fort around 10.00pm. Even though it was extremely tired after climbing the mountain in a day, we all were satisfied with the journey with full of amazing memories.