Brandygala (Image is from web; credit goes to the rightful owner.)
Date : 11th April 2017
Crew : 7 Males (17 – 21 years of age)
Route : Kandy > Matale > Etipola road > Asgiriya waththa junction > Madiwela > up the hill and the same way back.
Weather : sunny in the morning, a little gloomy in the noon and heavy rain by afternoon.
- Only few leeches were encountered by us as the area was dry… but there may be hundreds of them in the rainy season as I felt. So, better take precautions.
- Better take a guide (or stick to the foot paths) if you are going to the higher peak as there are traps (Wedi lanu and Madu) made to hunt animals and hunters roam around in the night; potential threat of getting shot at if you couldn’t get down before sunset.
- Be aware there are wild boars and ‘Debaru’ in the vicinity.
- Do NOT leave anything behind but footsteps; cannot comply..? stay home watching a file rather than hiking. ‘Thank you’, in advance.
The journey was started from the Kandy bus stand where we all gathered and took a bus to Matale (Warakamura road Matale |Route No. 593 | Rs.45 – normal). Then we took an Etipola bus up to Asgiriyawaththa junction (Rs. 20) from where the road to Madiwela begins. We could have reduced an extra 5km hike which we took from Asgiriya waththa junction to Madiwela village if we were able to catch the Madiwela bus, which unfortunately we couldn’t. The Etipola bus stand is at a corner of the Matale town where you can’t see when you passes by the town. So, better ask for directions from someone.
At the bus stand we got into a little chit-chat with a bus driver and he advised to stick to the foot paths as there are traps set by people (We found one. so yes, there are traps.) and also there are some un-licensed liquor distillers with guns. As well to get down before sunset as there are hunters by night fall.
After a walk along the road which was partially tar treated, broken and concreted, we came to a junction where a road to a factory begins (Must be a tea factory, but seems like it doesn’t work anymore. )
The foot path mentioned above begins near the bridge, to the left in the photo. Then it was a long walk again to the foot of the mountain along the Madiwela road.
Then the road continued beyond the Madiwela village. Then we entered the wilderness from a point at the road. Unfortunately I couldn’t take a photograph of the place. Up to the point we were directed by the villagers who were friendly and willing to help. So must thank them very much.
We filled up our water bottles from a stream where there was a ‘pihillak’ built by the villagers and then we made our way into the wilderness. The route was clear in this part and was just a hike in opposite direction to the peak to get onto the ridge. The route went through a little forest and then through a rock face covered with ‘Kalanduru’. Along the way until the ridge top, we went across the stream once.
Over the rock face covered with ‘kalanduru’ towards the top of the ridge, in the direction opposite to the peak.
Beginning of the ridge and we are redirected toward the peak now.
Then the hike was along the ridge towards the peak.
Along the ridge, towards the peak through thorny shrubs and bushes. (This is the area where we came across several wild boars on our way back.)
The path was clear for some extent, but we lost the track of it after some time and came to the stream again. Then we hiked up along the stream and took off into the wilderness again in the direction of the higher peak without knowing which peak must be our destination.
So we hiked for a while and ended up no-where at a place where we couldn’t go any further due to a steep rock face stood in front of us. So we turned around and took the way back to the stream (an upstream point than the place where we took off of it). Then it was a little hike along the stream again until we came to the rock face of the lower peak of the Brandygala mountain; where our destination was. Then the way was clear. so we hiked over the rock face towards the peak.
The final climb had a place where the a single slip of step would cause a fall of several hundred feet, and a cave opening so that you have to squeeze yourself to get through and another climb up, where a slip means ending up back in the Madiwela village.
It took about 3 hours for us to get onto the top even after losing the way and we spent about one and a half hours on the top; taking photographs, making some funny videos and enjoying the glamorous view. The central hills, Brandygala top peak, Etipola peak, Wiltshire range, Mukulussa range, Yakuraga range and also the Dumbara range (knuckles) were visible.
We started climbing down at about two thirty and got down within an hour as we decided the way to go from the peak to avoid any loss of track like the climb up. On the way down, we encountered some wild boars and had to wait until they move on and must mention that we saw several individual ‘Debara’s on out way, but fortunate enough not to encounter a comb of them.
On the way back…
We had about thirty minutes when we go down before the final bus leaves the Madiwela village which is at 4 p.m. So we took a bath at the ‘Pihilla’ and felt so refreshed. Then we waited for the bus at Madiwela for a while, but then again decided to go to the Etipola road on foot so that at least we can get on a Etipola bus. On the way, a tipper from the Madiwela village stopped by for us and we got a ride to Matale town; the ride was a blessing as else, we would have to walk all the way, wait for a bus and then come to the Matale town and this ride kept all that burden way and saved about two hours of time for us. But still, the driver was so crazy as he went up to 60 kmph in the small and broken road in which a little slip would make the tipper to end up several hundred meters down in the slope with all of us in the back dead.
However we were also lucky to have a Colombo bus in the halt at Matale when we got down from the lorry. So we took it and that’s all about the journey; which I enjoyed a lot.