Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Southern Ridges, Initial Impressions

This past Sunday, I ran the Southern Ridges for the first time, attempting to chart a new route. You can find a map of the Southern Ridges here. This post is on my initial impressions. In time, I should post a more detailed route. It may come with pictures, but I’m not going to promise that [lugging a camera while running is not my favorite thing to do].

I ran from home first, but my description of the route I took starts formally from the eastern end of Science Park Drive, just east of DSO National Laboratories and Science Hub.

From the start point, I entered Kent Ridge Park and followed the path, veering east whenever possible. I quickly reached a flight of stairs that brought me up to Vigilante Drive. From there, it was a short distance east before I reached the canopy walk that overlooks Hortpark.

[It is possible to bypass the canopy walk and to take the track directly down to Hortpark. The canopy walk basically wraps around the track to Hortpark in a circular arc. It is more scenic to go on the canopy walk though.]

Following the canopy walk brought me to the entrance to Reflections at Bukit Chandu.

[From Bukit Chandu, I made the mistake of descending down along Pepys Road until I reached Pasir Panjang Road. Backtracking uphill was a slow tiring affair. Don’t make the same mistake I did.]

Near the exit of the canopy walk to Bukit Chandu is a sign that points the way down to Hortpark. It leads to the same path mentioned above that bypasses the canopy walk.

The path down to Hortpark is a winding affair. Once you’re within Hortpark, you’ll see a lot of plants (duh), families, and the odd tourist.

I ran along the length of Hortpark due east towards Alexandra Arch.

Crossing Alexandra Arch, I followed the steel bridge east. I passed Preston Road, then Henderson Waves.

Once past Henderson Waves, I pushed north along Mount Faber Loop. I continued until I reached Faber Point, the summit of Mount Faber.

By then, I was pretty tired, and I decided against taking the Marang Trail down to Telok Blangah Road, opposite Vivocity. Climbing Mount Faber again on the way back would have wiped me out. I turned around and ran back the way I came, with a short detour to Wessex Estate (more on that in a later post).


It’s theoretically possible to extend a run on the Southern Ridges westwards to Clementi Woods and West Coast Park. I don’t intend to explore this option anytime soon, however. Comments on this would be welcome.

I started my run at 2:30 pm. [Normally, that’s a crazy time to run due to the heat, but it had rained at dawn (my original intended time), and the weather was fine at 2:30 pm, cloudy and cool, relatively.] There were literally hordes of families walking the Southern Ridges after Hortpark. And the steel bridge is narrow, so it wasn’t the best place to run. Any runner intending to use the Southern Ridges should keep the time of day and people traffic in mind.

Running the Southern Ridges the way I did entails traversing a medium length point-to-point distance. But it was a difficult run, mainly because of the hilly terrain. Ascending to Bukit Chandu from Science Park Drive isn’t easy; ascending to Mount Faber is even more challenging. If you think you could benefit from some hill work, the Southern Ridges could just be the ticket for you.

The nicest views are without doubt, from the vantage of Henderson Waves and Faber Point.

There are several access points to the Southern Ridges between Hortpark and Mount Faber. Alexandra Arch is one, Preston Road is another, and there are almost certainly access points along Henderson Road and possibly behind the Defence Technology Towers. This list is not exhaustive. Comments would again, be welcome on this.

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