Spring is in the air. The sky brightens, daylight grows longer and in the clear bright atmospheric conditions so unique to our Mediterranean region ramblers will in March relish the splendour of contrasting hues and shades offered by the open countryside and the bathed foreshore.
The highlight of the month is the Gozo weedend. Ramblers will be in Gozo from March 10 to 12, lodging in a seaside hotel in Marsalforn and away from it all.
For 10 years running the Gozo weekend has been a favourite social occasion. In a spirit of camaraderie members enjoy breakfast, walking leisurely and having dinner together during a relaxing time, topped up by entertaining quiz-nites and good fun before bedtime.
The sister island offers not only a brief escape from routine but a great delight in the harmony of its rustic and urban surrounds, which happily remain more traditional in character and spirit than what survives in Malta.
Fortunately, Gozo is lagging behind in the “development progress” bragged about in Malta. Although some scars on its topography start to show, most of it has yet been spared from this plague that deprives a nation of its soul.
Ramblers will luxuriate as much in trodding along the lush verdant and almond blossoms of its scenic valleys as in pacing the quaint village lanes and quiet piazzas, where the village church still holds prominence. God forbid Gozo will lose its soul as well.
The rest of the walks for March are mostly scenic as they have been planned to lead our members in open spaces to access nature at its best. Everyone is invited to come along and have a go at starting a healthy lifestyle.
All that one has to do is to choose a walk and be at the starting point at the appointed time, wearing comfortable non-slip shoes and adequate dress. For more information call 9949 7080.
Walks programme for March:
March 5: Buskett/Għar il-Kbir/Fawwara (scenic and cultural)
We climb up to get breathtaking views of Buskett Gardens, then visit l-Għar il-Kbir, Clapham Junction (cart ruts) and Fawwara.
Duration: about 3 to 4 hours. Rating: moderate with steep inclines/rough ground. Slippery if wet. Meeting place: Buskett Gardens covered car park, Dingli. Time: 09:00
March 8: Dingli/Mtaħleb/Raba Nemel/Dingli (scenic/historical)
A walk through rural farmland to an area of cart ruts on a land cliff and on to the small hamlet of Mtahleb, enjoying great views over the sea and charming countryside.
Duration: about 2 to 3 hours. Rating: easy to moderate with some inclines. Meeting place: parish church, Dingli. Time: 14:00
March 10 to 12: Gozo weekend (featured on this page)
March 12: Żejtun/Marsaxlokk/Żejtun (scenic and historical)
A fairly-long walk covering urban, rural and coastal features such as old residencies, alleys, chapels, forts, old hamlets, cliffs, bays and others.
Duration: Approximately 5 hours. Rating: moderate to hard (mainly because of the length) with some inclines. Meeting place: near St Catherine parish church, Żejtun. Time: 09:00
March 19: Gozo-Mġarr to Ta’ Pinu (scenic)
From Mġarr terminus we head up to Għajnsielem, then follow a path beneath the cliffs of Nadur and the Kenuna communications tower, and on to Santa Verna Temples, with spectacular views of the Cittadella. Down to Għasri then on round l-Għolja tal-Għammar to Ta’ Pinu sanctuary.
Duration: 4 hours approximately. Rating: moderate. Meeting place: Mġarr quay after the arrival of 09:00 Gozo ferry boat from Ċirkewwa. Get your Tallinja card.
March 22: Għadira (Mellieħa Bay Hotel)/Ramla Bay/Marfa Bay/Ċirkewwa/Paradise Bay/countryroads near the Red Tower/Għadira. (scenic and historical)
This is a circular tour through the beautiful landscape of high hills and cliffs, rural farmland, some verdant wooded parts and a rocky and sandy coastline.
Duration: from 2 to 3 hours. Rating: easy to moderate with some inclines. Meeting place: Mellieħa Bay Hotel (at Għadira). Time: 14:00
March 26: Qajjenza to Fort Bengħisa and a visit to Borg in-Nadur (scenic and historical)
A coastal walk along the shore of Marsaxlokk Bay up to Fort Bengħisa, with a detour to visit the Bronze Age village of Borg in-Nadur.
Duration: Approximately 3 to 4 hours. Rating: easy, with a moderate stretch of uphill to Borg in-Nadur. Meeting place: Old gas bottling plant, Qajjenza. Time: 09:00
Alex Vella is executive president of the Ramblers Association of Malta.