June marks the end of the 2018/2019 walking year, and with the weather becoming too warm for pleasant rambling, the Ramblers’ Association of Malta (RAM) has programmed its morning walks to start earlier, and the afternoon ones to begin later. Those interested in taking part are therefore advised to kindly take note of the revised times on the programme for June below.
It has been another happy rambling year for the association during which, fortunately, there were no major hitches and only a couple of cancellations due to inclement weather. Membership continued to grow unabated, as well as the number of non-members joining the weekly walks. The average number of walkers increased substantially to around 70, and it is heartening to encounter more and more ramblers grouped separately to enjoy what is left of the Maltese countryside.
To crown it all, this year’s walking tour in Portugal has been extraordinary. RAM exchanged visits with the Clube de Actividades de Ar Livre (CAAL) and 49 Maltese ramblers were treated by CAAL to a fascinating week of activities. And we were all marvelled by sights that will never be forgotten and left open-mouthed by sites we never knew existed.
The programme was cleverly prepared with interesting cultural visits before and following every walk, so that we gained an insight into medieval Portuguese history and on the role played by the Knights Templar, who were instrumental to evict the Moors from Portugal. While elsewhere the Templars were violently suppressed by the Catholic Church soon after the last crusades, in Portugal they simply took the form of a ‘new’ military order – the Order of Christ, with their main seat at the Convento de Cristo in Tomar. This grandoise monastery reflects the evolution of the Templars, with its Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline and Renaissance architecture, and is a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Lastly I take this opportunity to announce that I have stepped down from the position of president of the Ramblers’ Association after 10 years in office, though still remaining a member of the committee. The purpose of stepping down is to make way for younger blood to foster new ideas and vitality within the association. The new president is Ingram Bondin, in whom I and all the other committee members have full confidence. His nomination was unanimously approved.
All are welcome to join the walks. Further information can be obtained from the website or by calling the mobile number below.
Sunday, June 2. The Three Cities and Kalkara: A very easy cultural and scenic walk ideal for beginners along the quaint streets of the Three Cities and their coastline as far as the Wied Għammieq cemetery. This is a circular walk of some four hours starting at Senglea Gate car park at 8.30am.
Sunday, June 9. San Ġwann, Swieqi and Wied Għomor: Relatively new villages built around old chapels and artefacts are often overlooked, and this easy circular walk will take in prehistoric cart ruts and the old chapel of Santa Magdalena before proceeding to the threatened Wied Għomor. The starting point is opposite the San Ġwann parish church at 8.30am and lasts about four hours.
Wednesday, June 12. Marsascala and Żonqor: A scenic walk along the coast of the village that leads to the shoreline of Żonqor and beyond. The moderate walk on rough terrain that will last some three hours, starting from the parvis of the parish church at 4pm.
Saturday, June 15. Żebbug, Tal-Virtù and Siġġiewi: Another moderate scenic and cultural walk that lasts about four hours along lovely open countryside with steep uphill and downhill stretches on rough terrain. It will pass by the San Blas chapel, the Buskett foothills and the Laferla Cross. Please note that the walk starts at 7am from in front of the ex-Peridot Hall in Żebbuġ (Bus 62, stop: Qirda).
Sunday, June 23. The clay slopes around il-Qarraba: The scenic element will prevail as this walk hugs the waterline from Għajn Tuffieħa to Ġnejna, trekking around Il-Qarraba plateau. However, the walk is hard and long, with steep inclines, and participants should have a head for heights. It starts at 7am at the parking lot near the old Riviera Martinque, returning there some four hours later.
Sunday, June 30. The Maritime Museum, the Inquisitor’s Palace and Fort St Angelo: The walking season comes to an end with a guided cultural visit to the three more important historical sites in Vittoriosa, followed with a farewell lunch at a restaurant there. Due to space limitations the number of participants will be restricted, and prior booking, on a first-come, first-served basis will be necessary for the event. There will be a special entry fee of €1 for each visit. Bookings may be made by sending an e-mail to the Ramblers on firstname.lastname@example.org or by sending a text message on 9949 7080 by Saturday, June 22. Lunch will be optional at the price indicated on the restaurant menu. The meeting place, time and name of restaurant will be announced later only to the applicants whose booking is confirmed.
Alex Vella is a committee member of the Ramblers’ Association of Malta.
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