Monday, 5 December 2011

Geumseong Sanseong (금성산성 - Mountain Fortress) & Damyang (담양)

The weather forecast was sunshine! I'd been holding out all weekend for this day trip only to be greeted by overcast and hazy skies. Sod's law! The conditions may not have been perfect, but I was still pretty excited to be cycling out  to Geumsong Sanseong (금성산성 - Mountain Fortress). It's got fantastic views across the valleys and on a clear day I'm sure you can see as far as Mudeungsan back in Gwangju.

geumseong map
Daejeon myeon - Damyang - Geumsong Sanseong (66km round trip)
The route we took started from near Chonnam University back gate. From here you simply head north out of the city along Uchi-Ro. After 8km you will cross the Yeongsan River and turn right immediately after the bridge. From here you continue for another 4km to a village called Daejeon-Myeon. Once here you simply head east towards Damyang.. You could take highway 13, if you like that sort of thing, but I would recommend just hitting up one of the many country roads that run nearby.

As I mentioned it was a pretty bleak and overcast day, so I thought I would treat you to a photo from the route on a prettier day...
This is me, modelling the route on a more glorious October day. 

Now back to the cold grey reality of Dec 4th.


This photo was taken from another day, but along the same route. It's a small man made pond which mirrors the mountains behind. You often see people fishing at this spot. When I first passed this spot I promptly hit the brakes and swerved off the road causing a massive pile up of bicycles that included my friend Jonny and his wife Young. I learned a lesson about cycling that day!

Metasequoia Avenue

Once you get to Damyang head north-east on road 24. Alongside this road you will find Metasequoia Avenue. It's a nice pedestrianised road lined with these trees. It would be a perfect spot if it wasn't next to a highway (out of shot to the left). It's been in some dramas/movies and is apparently considered to be one of the most beautiful roads in Korea. If that's the case, I think they should start planting a few more trees on the side of the roads. There's an idea!

geumseong06 geumseong07
We stumbled across this gathering of scarecrows. I haven't a clue what that was all about.

Quite a lot of the roads around Damyang are tree-lined. There's tons of traffic on these roads though, especially at the weekend, so it's a welcome relief to get back on the farm roads. Geumseong Sanseong is quite well sign posted after Damyang, so it's pretty easy to find.


Sean, go and stand by that sign! (Just 2 km to go)


The last stretch before Geumseong Sanseong is a hideously steep hill.

The 35th kilometre brings wrinkles to my face.

Feel the burn!!!


The hill was a beast. We left our bikes in the car park where an old man said he would keep an eye on them. He didn't lie. I completely forgot to lock our bikes and they didn't disappear. Cheers fella!

You can buy Damyang Bamboo Makkoli whilst your there. Buy it. It's good stuff :)

Sean, go and stand by that tree!

This is the entrance to the fortress. It's approximately a 45 minute hike up from the car park. From here we thought we would hike the entire fortress, but apparently it takes about 5 hours to hike in its entirety. I imagine that's an exaggeration, but it is some awkward hiking. Trying to cycle from Gwangju and hike the whole fortress is not a realistic/enjoyable ambition. We definitely plan on returning for purely hiking mission. There are a few pensions in the vicinity so you could stay overnight and fit the hike in the next day.






It was a tougher climb than we'd anticipated.








Damyang Bamboom Makkoli
The aforementioned Damyang Bamboo Makkoli



On the route back we decided to cross this stream (it's a lot deeper in the summer) so we could take the cycle path back.

I hate this cycle path. It's boring and it's made of rubber. RUBBER!!! Why would you make a cycle path out of rubber? We didn't stay on this for long.

Once you get back to Damyang you can take road 29 all the way back to Gwangju, or better still take the farm roads alongside it.

The farm fields in Korea are lined with little roads like this. Almost every highway has a small farm road running nearby, so you can easily navigate your way around free from heavy traffic.



We found these turkeys in a farm on the way back home. I've never seen a turkey on a menu in Korea let alone in the flesh. They were huge!

If you're in Gwangju or the Jeollanam-Do area you should definitely check out Geumseong Sanseong. I will certainly be heading back, but preferably on a much nicer day.

No comments:

Post a Comment