So if you’re on the Tinworth Trail, where are you going? The route star ts in the northeast corner of the territory at Sha Tau Kok, runs southwest through the New Territories, hops the bay and picks up in Lantau. “You can cross the water at Shum Tseng. There’s a famous roast goose restaurant there.
Take a minibus to Tsing Ying, do one stop to Sunny Bay then start running again. We are not making people swim across the bay,” Will says with a chuckle. The Tinworth then continues southwest to Tai O, and boasts a 5,000-metre positive elevation change over its 90 kilometres. Will claims it can be done in roughly 17 hours. “You can do it in one go or over a year. We don’t care.” Notably, only four of the 90 kilometres treads the same ground as the Big Four. “The Tinworth’s not a government trail.
Sometimes they gussy things up and make it kind of nice and install concrete steps,” Will says. “There are a million trails out in the woods if you know where to look, and Nic loved the muddy, scrambly, howdo- I-get-up-there trails, so we have a few of those “shiggy” sections. It’s a bit more challenging, but not impossible. People seem to really like those.” Like the other four trails, the Tinworth is a collection of existing trails strung together, but unlike those it hasn’t been given a bureaucratic seal of approval. Will doesn’t pretend it’s anything more than a website built by a group of runners, hikers, race organisers and [fitness tracking app] Strava users putting their collective experience to work to build something new.
There’s a little bit of “you should be able to get from here to there,” involved too, as Will describes it. “When I was musing about it, the first thing I had to do was convince a few others this might be a good idea. So there was a group of us who explored different trails. Then it was a matter of sure you can design a trail, but how do people follow it?” The Tinworth has only been “open” since November, but so far, so good. Early feedback suggests those who’ve tried it (most have heard about it by word of mouth) have enjoyed it, and they’re enjoying its hidden gem cache. Of course, its unofficial status means there are no brightly coloured ribbons or signposts or arrows guiding walkers and runners along the way. “We used technology to solve that problem,” says Will.
“The website has a map and a GPX link. That’s a spatial topographic file that you load onto your phone or your smar twatch, and it will tell you where you are on the trail, and help you navigate. And it works with satellite, so anyone with a smar twatch will be fine if there’s no cell reception, which is rare. Coverage here is terrific.”