Castlereagh Reservoir.

This is a very beautiful country. That’s not an empty patriotic assertion, or tawdry tourist promotion related catch-phrase it’s just an everyday fact of life. Wherever you go there’s an abundance of beautiful things, even Colombo- arguably the ugliest corner of this resplendent isle- has it’s moments. But once you’ve proceeded an hour or two out of the big(ish) city, in any direction, you’re dealing with another order of loveliness.

My latest brush with the absurd picturesqueness of the home island was at the Castlereagh Reservoir. Tucked away in one of the often over-looked valleys surrounding Hatton this isn’t a major tourist attraction, however if you were anywhere else it the world it would be.

A calm and clear blue expanse surrounded by rolling greens hills- it looks like a healthier version – less gloomy, of a scottish loch or, if you squint, even a swiss-alpine lake. Como or Maggiore anyone? It’s really a passable imitation yet, in this scenic-ly competitive land, it barely gets noticed.

If you take the time to stop and stare though it’s a pretty amazing location and – just three hours drive from Colombo. There are some great picnic spots on the banks but its worth a longer visit. There’s a host of inexpensive and some very expensive accomodation right on the lake shore. Two of the much vaunted and lovely but prohibitively expensive ($400+ a night) tea trails bungalows overlook the reservour but there are also Rs 4000 bungalows which benefit from more or less the same setting and views.

For a small fee many of these guesthouses will also arrange for a boat to take you out onto the water. In the morning as the mist rises over the lake and the soft edge of the sun slips over the crest of the surrounding ridge- absolutely priceless- (well about Rs 2000) A great place for a weekend escape one that ought to be more appreciated.

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