Wild Wall

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When I first started planning my China trip I knew I wanted to be on a more remote part of the Great Wall at dawn.   There was 'talk' on the Internet of sleeping in a watchtower but it was difficult to arrange especially at that time of the year.  I read William Lindesay's book "Alone On The Great Wall" and then found his website.   Serendipitously he was offering accommodation at his family farmhouse at the foot of a wild section of the Wall near Huairou Xiangshuihu a scenic area a couple of hours north east of Beijing.  He promised to have us up there to see the sun rise
Jimmy Lindesay chooses a kite on our way out of Beijing
Approaching the Lindesay compound

 

Their comfortable farm house sits in an idyllic setting surrounded by hills and everyone topped by a watchtower.  Will and Qui are wonderful hosts.  It is a real privilege to be on the Great Wall of China with someone so knowledgeable about it's history and concerned for it's preservation

Taking afternoon tea in the garden
 
As promised, we were up on the Great Wall for dawn.  This involved a 3.30am wake up call and a light breakfast but it was well worth the effort.  Will's idea of a short walk from the farmhouse is a little different from mine but we made it in time with moonlight supplementing the light from our torches

 

Turning our backs on the rising sun we saw the first light of day illuminating the Wall as far as the eye could see

 

 
 
This section of un-restored wall is in pretty dire straits, Trees, flowering bushes and shrubs grow along the top.  The ground underfoot is uneven and in parts slippery.  There are no handrails, no souvenir sellers no Mongol hoards leaping out for photo op's.  It's peaceful and majestic and worth every minute of the arduous ascent. Upon our return to the farmhouse Will cooked us a full English breakfast
Inside a watchtower
The 'Oxbow'
William Lindesay OBE
Our Wild Wall Weekends had attracted a very fit clientele.  We opted out of the afternoon hike so the others could go on a very strenuous climb.  There was a torrential downpour on Sunday so were unable to venture on to the wall again
 
With the rest of the group up on The Wall we decide to get to know the neighbours

 

If the opportunity to stay with Will and Qi appeals to you, check out the Wild Wall website.  www.wildwall.com 

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