This time our goal was to cover the Dayagama(diyagama), Agarapathana track.
We started off from Pettah railway station on Saturday the 29th. We had reserved seats in the night mail and this time I was traveling by train after more than 2-3 years. Surprisingly the night mail departed on time, sharp at 8.00p.m. and believe me it arrived at Ohiya at 4.45 a.m. as scheduled! This is the first time it happened to us and we were pleasantly surprised. I'm not sure whether this was a co-incidence or not but to me it appear that the railway is better organized now. The night mail requires two back-up locomotive additions(Rambukkana & Nawalapitiya) and the split to Kandy at Peradeniya. My previous experience had always been delays and issues at these places. This time I hardly noticed these processes taking place. It was so quick and well coordinated.
The on-time arrival of the train at Ohiya was a bit of a problem for us
We had planned to hire a van to the Anderson(Ginihiriya) bungalow
from Ohiya and we had taken the usual delays in to account, but this time we had to kill few hour till dawn
So we took a bit of a crazy decision: We did not get down at Ohiya! We just continued in the night mail (tickets we had were valid up to Badulla) and the sunrise over Idulgashinna, Haputale, Bandarawela was fantastic!. We got down at a small station called "Heel-Oya", just before Ella and took Udarata Menike back to Ohiya. it was perfect timing then
(Udarata Menike too was on time!)
From Ohiya it was just 20 mins in the hired van to Ginihiriya
. We spent the rest of the day walking around and relaxing.
Monday(31) early morning we started our journey back from horton plains. We got the same van to drop us at the place where Diagama road starts on Pattipola - Ohoya road and started our walk down towards Diagama. This was at around 7.00 a.m.
The walk from pattipola road up to boarder of Horton plains en route to Diagama was fantastic. Its mainly a walk through the cloud forest (not much of grass lands in this part of the park) and the nearly 6km that we walked through the park was such a nice experience. By 10.30 in the morning we were out of the park.
We walked out from the national park to reach the 6th division of the Diagama estate. From there we used various modes of transportation (foot, tuk-tuk and an ELF van) to reach Thalawakele on some of the poorest paved roads I have seen.
Journey back from Hatton to Colombo was unexpectedly complicated because there were no busses to Colombo (or even to Awissawella) even as early as 4.30 p.m.