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Celebrating the spring of the Victoria Lines

The Lines were construed as a defensive wall to protect the island from a high vantage point through a natural fault from coast to coast. Photos: Mary Attard

The Lines were construed as a defensive wall to protect the island from a high vantage point through a natural fault from coast to coast. Photos: Mary Attard

In their programme for spring, the Ramblers’ Association of Malta intends to celebrate the worthy initiative of the Friends of the Victoria Lines Trail. Their mission is to advance the existing yet forsaken trail along the Lines to the rank of a national trail. They are working hard on the central authorities, local councils and NGOs to upgrade the trail with the aim of giving it the designation that befits its importance as counterpart to a national monument.

The public would be enticed to visit the Lines if easy access is provided to the path overlooking them.The public would be enticed to visit the Lines if easy access is provided to the path overlooking them.

The Victoria Lines were created and promoted by two successive powers of regional influence during their time – the Knights of St John and the British Empire. They were construed as a defensive wall to protect the island at a high vantage formation through a natural fault from coast to coast.

The wall was complemented by a defenders’ path behind it, just as the canals in the UK were complemented with the tow-path for beasts of burden to pull the barges. Today the tow-paths are protected national heritage in the UK, and have been transformed into excellent scenic walking paths along the canals, for all to enjoy. What should keep us from protecting the defenders’ path along the Lines, which equally offers excellent panoramic views over land and sea, for all to enjoy?

The authorities have publicly resolved to restore the Lines where walls have crumbled. This will not be enough if life is not brought to them by enticing the public to visit the Lines by providing easy access to the path overlooking them. Once the path becomes a quality trail from east to west, with access made easy and hindrances such as gates and other contraptions eliminated, the Lines will attract locals to take up scenic walking and will become a certain tourist attraction in themselves.

The Lines will attract locals to take up scenic walking and will become a tourist attraction in themselves

The Ramblers’ Association has just launched its programme of walks for spring 2018, running from April to June, with en­thralling walks through the Maltese countryside and coastal zones, as well as interesting cultural tours highlighting our rich heritage of fine arts and arcitecture. It includes the first walk along part of the Victoria Lines.

The association’s website below provides all the details of every walk programmed, and everybody is invited to come along for a walk of his or her choice. All that one has to do is to be at the starting point on the appointed hour of the relative walk, and join the fun. In case of difficulty call 9949 7080 or 7733 2433.

Between Għargħur and Madliena the Lines hit the bottom, and then rise to the ‘Top of the world’.Between Għargħur and Madliena the Lines hit the bottom, and then rise to the ‘Top of the world’.

April walks

Wednesday, April 4 at 2pm: St Thomas bay and Munxar – a scenic ramble along the perimeter of the Munxar promontary and inland through a maze of old lanes, lasting about three hours. This easy walk starts at the St Thomas bay car park.

Sunday, April 8 at 9am: Wied il-Qlejgħa and the quaint hamlets of Gomerino and Għemieri – a moderately hard walk on rough ground lasting some four hours, starting at the Busugrilla roundabout.

Sunday, April 15: By the Victoria Lines between Għargħur and Madliena – at Wied il-Faħam, Wied id-Dies and Wied Anġlu, the Lines hit the bottom then rise to the ‘Top of the world’, offering wondrous landscapes and seascapes. The walk starts at Għarghur parish church at 9am and is moderately difficult.

Wednesday, April 18 at 2pm: From the Msida church the ramble takes to popular promenades and proceeds along smooth paths on coastal garigue with seaward views and saline fragrance. It will be an easy walk lasting some three hours, ideal for beginners.

Sunday, April 22 at 9am: Għar Lapsi to Għar Niffied – a walk of some four hours of rough terrain, slippery inclines and along clifftops, only for hardy ramblers. Starts off at Għar Lapsi.

Saturday, April 28: A moderate walk in Gozo of about four hours starting at the Mġarr sea terminal at 9am. The island of hills challenges tough walkers up and down its undulating surface. This is the only Saturday walk on the programme.

Alex Vella is executive director of the Ramblers Association of Malta.

www.ramblersmalta.org

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