The Ramblers’ Association of Malta recently announced its programme of walks for the first quarter of the new year, covering the winter season from January to March.
With the chilly weather encouraging brisk walking, keen lovers of the outside greet our schedule with excitement, as evidenced by their preparedness and numbers converging at the meeting points. Credit goes to our walk leaders who, even in tiny Malta and Gozo, succeed to find new routes along valleys and ridges in close touch with nature. Utmost care is taken not to risk intrusion on tilled fields, but well-trodden and established paths are readily accessed without fear.
One of the association’s missions is to protect and take care of the natural and cultural environment, and our awareness to protect the countryside and those who tend to it – farmers – is never-ending. At the same time we seek to entertain walkers by bringing them in close proximity to nature to experience countryside and panoramic views that have not yet been disturbed or ruined with the blessing of the Planning Authority.
Our walk leaders succeed to find new routes along valleys and ridges in close touch with nature
We are very conscious that our natural surrounds are fast disappearing, thanks to arrogant members of the various Planning Authority boards, commissions, tribunals and committees, who are unashamedly taking decisions that run counter to numerous planning policies.
In addition, some people still do not care for nature. Besides the unofficial ‘No entry’, ‘Keep out’ or similar signs in the countryside, one increasingly finds dumps of construction waste and leftover garbage. This affliction on nature shows no sign of abatement despite official measures to collect bulky refuse and bring-in sites. These measures are not enough unless the authorities introduce very hefty fines and monitor against such abuse by all means available, as is done in other countries.
The full winter programme of walks may be accessed on the association’s website below and anyone who wishes to sample our walks may join any one of them. However, it is important that those deciding to join walks for the first time act prudently, and start with a walk that is graded easy if they are not certain they can take the moderate or harder walks. All our walks are graded, and the description of gradings may be found at the beginning of every full programme that is issued.
Call 9949 7080 or 7733 2433 for more advice and information.
The January programme offers seven walks, with Sunday walks starting at 9am and Wednesday walks at 2pm. This month there will also be a Saturday walk in Gozo.
Wednesday, January 2: Siġġiewi and its surrounding valleys – An easy walk of about three hours for beginners, starting at the front of the Limestone Heritage on the Siġġiewi Bypass.
Sunday, January 6: The Mġarr countryside – A moderate ramble of some three to four hours with spectacular sea views. The meeting place is Mġarr church parvis.
Sunday, January13: Marsascala to Marsaxlokk – An easy walk between the two traditional fishing villages with lovely country and sea panoramas. The walk starts from the Marsascala parish church along the promenade and then on to Marsaxlokk.
The association is organising this walk in support of the individual effort of two friends of the Ramblers who will be walking around the whole coastline of Malta to raise awareness and funds for Puttinu Cares. The ramblers will meet up with the two friends en route, greet them for their effort and accompany them as far as Marsascala in support. The walk will last around three hours.
Wednesday, January 16: Żebbuġ to Siġġiewi – A pleasant, relatively easy meander along country lanes, taking in San Blas chapel, Wied Ħesri, Ta’ Bordin ridge and Wied Baqqija. The route will take some three hours and starts at Żebbuġ parish church.
Saturday, January 19: Gozo – The route follows quaint rural paths from Marsalforn through Żebbuġ and Għasri ending up at Victoria. It is a moderately difficult walk of some three hours, starting at the Mġarr ferry terminal at 8.55am, taking Bus 322 to Marsalforn.
Sunday, January 27: Dingli countryside and coast – A moderate to hard long walk of about four hours along ridges and valleys, taking in Miġra l-Ferħa, Ras id-Dawwara and Mtaħleb. Excellent country and coastal cliff views are offered en route that starts at Dingli parish church.
Wednesday, January 30: Mellieħa North West: Right from the start at the Mellieħa parish church parvis the northwest direction is taken, descending the fabulous Ġnien Ingraw valley towards Iċ-Ċumnija via the rocky stretch where the British had a heavy anti-aircraft emplacement. An easy walk of about three hours.
Alex Vella is executive president of the Ramblers’ Association of Malta.
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