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Ramblers’ walks in December: tribute and censure where due

L-Aħrax. Photos: Mary Attard

L-Aħrax. Photos: Mary Attard

The Ramblers’ Association walk leaders take great care to scout a walk and see to the safety of a route. They also prepare brief presentations about what captures their imagination along a route, be it cultural, natural, geological, or scenic.

Ramblers’ walks are not just about walking. One of the declared missions of the association is to promote rambling activities as a means of education on the Maltese natural and cultural endowment, and as a means of living a healthy lifestyle.

To this end the interests of walkers will be satisfied this month as their intellectual, visual and physical faculties will be well nourished.

For although December is a month when the weather turns relatively cold and the walks are accordingly routed inland, none of the delightful attributes of walking will be forsaken. The December walks will provide healthy exercise and satisfy ramblers’ geological, historical and scenic curiosities.

Next Sunday’s walk starts on the Mġarr church parvis and takes around four hours of moderate terrain up the ridges of Dwejra and Bidnija and down adjacent valleys, with scenic views.

A country laneA country lane

On Wednesday, December 6, a walk of historical and geological interest will start at Żabbar, circling Xgħajra, Smart City, Kalkara and Vittoriosa. It is a relatively easy three-hour walk starting near Żabbar parish church.

A pleasant walk starts at Marsascala parish church on Sunday, December 10, that goes along the coast and country lanes to reach Sant’Antnin Park, returning through the hamlet of Bidni after four hours.

On Wednesday, December 13, a public holiday, there is the only coastal walk of the month. Starting near the Mellieħa Bay Hotel, it will cover sights of coves and inlets, the Coral Lagoon and Aħrax Tower.

The walks will satisfy ramblers’ geological, historical and scenic curiosities

The High Ridge walk on Sunday, December 17, crosses winding alleys of Naxxar from its starting point at the old Trade Fair car park, and skirts Għargħur via the lofty Victoria Lines as far as Madliena on old paths.

Another Wednesday walk is planned for December 20 around Malta’s central villages – Mosta, Lija and Attard. The meeting place is the Attard parish church parvis.

There is a walk on Christmas Eve, Sunday 24, and another on New Year’s Eve, Sunday 31. On Christmas Eve, the walk leaves San Pawl tat-Tarġa chapel down the valley, with its cart ruts, and on to Għallis and Magħtab, returning about three hours later through Tarġa Gap.

On New Year’s Eve, the walk is shorter and will target Pembroke. The walk leader will provide an account of the highlights of the British garrison there. The walk will be in aid of the Malta Community Chest Fund and donations will go towards this worthwhile cause. The meeting place will be the car park in front of Corinthia San Ġorġ Hotel.

PembrokePembroke

All Sunday walks start at 9am and the Wednesday walks start at 2pm, with leaders giving information en route. It is to their credit that walk leaders locate new and safe tracks, as remote from asphalt as legitimately possible in such a small island.

They also pass on educational information they would have prepared about any interesting features that are encountered. But they do not hold back from decrying anything foul that insensitively stains our beautiful countryside, either committed illegally, or with the blessing of the Planning Authority.

Sadly, the PA seems eagerly intent to permit development of any sort on declared green areas, as if the construction industry is in want of work. Any excuse is acceptable to gulp up Outside Development Zones. Alas, the granting of permits has become their yardstick of success!  All else, including the Environment and Resources Authority, are irrelevant.

For more information on the walks, visit the Ramblers’ website where more details are given. One can also call on 9949 7080 or 7733 2433 in case of difficulty.

Alex Vella is executive president of the Ramblers’ Association of Malta.

www.ramblersmalta.org

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