5th December 1999
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Amidst water, hills and forest

By Laila Nasry and Ruhanie Perera
Take  adip in the icy water of the BatuluoyaAmidst looming mountains and thick forests, streamlets and winding roads is a spot where time stands still. A place where the weary soul, enchanted by the abundant beauty of nature in all her glory, finds peace. It is the ultimate paradise for the nature lover. 

"Fishing Hut" situated on the Maskeliya-Adam's Peak Road is accessible by three routes: the Hatton Road via Dickoya, Norwood to Maskeliya; the Ginigathena-Maskeliya Road cutting across Rozella and Norton Bridge and finally through Kitulgala straight to Maskeliya. 

Situated in the 687 hectare Moray Estate (16 km. from the turnoff on the Maskeliya- Adam's Peak Road), "Fishing Hut" is located in its last division, Rajamalay.

The road through the estate is winding and steep and though more suitable for a four-wheel drive vehicle, it is accessible even by van or car. Strategically placed signposts dot the way so there is no chance of getting lost. The climb up is breathtaking. The Moussakelle reservoir spread below us and the 'Samanala' range loomed in the distance. Even more spectacular was the panorama from the viewpoint constructed at 4200 feet above sea level. Standing there and looking down, down, down gives you an unimaginable 'on top of the world' feeling. 

The first hut was built in 1932 as a getaway for the British planters who owned the estate at the time. It was James, the father of Appuhamy - the present caretaker, who had put up the wooden structure. 

In the old days the planters went fishing for trout in the Batulu Oya, which flows in front of the hut, but this practice is long gone, as there is no more trout in the Oya. In 1993, the original hut was demolished and reconstructed along with a second hut in order to accommodate more nature lovers. 

History has a way of repeating itself, for this time it was Appuhamy who built the huts. "I was 11 years old when my father was building the first hut and I used to take tea for him. I observed the work he did. Everything I learnt then was what helped me," recalled Appuhamy. 

Both huts are built on the water's edge and a cobbled pathway leads you to it. Hut no: 1 though has a tree house, which overlooks the water and the virgin montane forest of the opposite bank. The tree house is a landscape artist's dream for the view is unbelievable. Though hut no1 is slightly larger , both accommodate a maximum of eight. There are summerhouses in every imaginable nook and corner around the huts and even a cosy corner for lovers. 

The concept is all about rustic living. Built with branches and discards from the Moray factory like the old windows, each hut has two bedrooms and two attached toilets. The rooms have two double beds each. All fittings are natural and eco-friendly, even the clothes-hangers are made of twigs. 

The only exception is the tiled toilets, equipped with modern day comforts. They don't however, include a shower, encouraging visitors instead to take a dip in the icy water of the Batuluoya. The small dining hall and a sitting area complete the homey atmosphere. 

A Petromax lamp, three hurricane lamps; a table top two- burner gas cooker, BBQ facility, a coconut scraper, crockery and cutlery are provided, but linen and food provisions have to be taken as well as cooking utensils, a gas cylinder and kerosene. 

An estate road runs through a jungle, half way up to Adam's Peak, so if you fancy a four and a half mile, two hour trek, this is the way to reach the sacred mountain. Other places that could be visited from the Fishing Hut are the power stations which lie on the way to Moray and "Fairlawn falls" (part of Fairlawn estate) in Upcot, 28 k.m. away. The "Fishing Hut" itself is a bird watcher's dream and an ideal retreat for all nature lovers.

Win a great holiday

Maskeliya Plantations are now offering all Sunday Times readers a chance to experience the unique rustic beauty of the Fishing Hut. You can win a super weekend at the Fishing Hut by simply answering the question on the coupon and mailing it into: The Fishing Hut Quiz, c/o The Sunday Times, P.O Box 1136, Colombo. Entries should reach us before December 15 and the winner will be announced on December 19. So rush those entries in and who knows you may be off for a dream vacation, with your family and friends.

The winner is entitled to a weekend at the Fishing Hut which can accommodate upto eight adults.

Q: On which estate is The Fishing Hut located?

Want to go?

"Fishing Hut" is owned by Maskeliya Plantations Ltd, an organisation that has won many national awards. 

Rates are Rs 1,500 per day and bookings could be made through Maskeliya Plantations Limited.

320/1 Union Place Colombo 2, tel: 339225, 304695 and 304696. Contact person: A.D.G. Williams.

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