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It’s autumn – walking time again

Ramblers on the southeast coast trail. Photos: Mary Attard

Ramblers on the southeast coast trail. Photos: Mary Attard

After a long, hot summer that discouraged physical activity out of water, the autumn programme of walks prepared by the Ramblers’ Association starts next Sunday.

The autumn programme includes 16 varied and spirited walks all over the Maltese Islands, combining both cultural and scenic country walks. A summary of the walks planned for October is featured below. The full programme may be viewed on the association’s website and Facebook pages below. For further assistance or information, call 9949 7080 or 7733 2433.

The last walk of October aims to achieve three of the goals set out by the association. It will be the Ramblers’ contribution for the month of October to the Be Active campaign and the Victoria Lines national trail, besides our civic duty of protecting the environment.

The Be Active Campaign is organised by Sports Malta as part of the 2018 edition of the European Week of Sport, launched by the European Commission for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture. The European Ramblers’ Association is a partner of this movement and encourages affiliates to take active part in the initiative.

The campaign’s main goal is common with that of the Ramblers’ Association – to promote sport and physical activity across Europe to motivate people to be more active in everyday life, no matter their age, background or fitness level. Being active is easier than it sounds, and simple walking is an activity that all but the lazy can undertake. Especially in our times when obesity is widespread, the Ramblers Association is encouraging physical activity by inviting all to join the programmed walks, and then walk on their own.

The Friends of the Victoria Lines National Trail is promoting the creation of this new national trail, in co-operation with the Malta Tourism Authority. The Ramblers’ Association supports this initiative because it  appreciates the unique historical, environmental, economic and social value of this Maltese heritage site that has been left in a state of careless abandon and abused of.

Ramblers regard it as their civic duty to protect the environment, both urban and rural, and take pride in doing so. We are living in a time of growing prosperity, which unfortunately promotes a relatively higher rate of growth of waste. Excessive development, totally disproportionate to the size of Malta, worsens the quality of life the Maltese enjoy. Waste management leaves much to be desired, especially in respect of enforcement, as litter is strewn everywhere with impunity, in spite of public bins and other official efforts to collect at source.

In urban environments the flood of foreign workers does not help as they tend to dump their rubbish bags on pavements at times convenient for them, and not a short time before collection. The result is that rubbish bags, some torn open by animals and with their contents spilt, hinder smooth passage on pavements for long periods of the day.

In the countryside, the dumping of waste, especially construction waste but also furniture and old appliances, is still rampant. And then there are leftovers from picnics and outings, roadside litter tossed from vehicles, and wind-blown plastics entangled in shrubs and trees – evidence of how disrespectful some individuals are towards society and the environment. Ramblers feel it is their duty to pay back a little to the environment for the pleasure they gain from the natural and cultural heritage. Right of access entails the duty to care for and conserve, as well as defend, all environments.

Rambers at Dwejra during the Valleys of Mosta walk.Rambers at Dwejra during the Valleys of Mosta walk.

October walks

The following are the six walks taking place during October:

Sunday, October 7 – Mtarfa:  A cultural walk through the British garrison of Mtarfa with explanations of the typical military buildings and old chapel, followed by a visit to the olive-oil press next to Mdina at this time when olive pressing is in progress. This easy walk leaves Mdina Gate at 9am. Duration: Two hours, 30 minutes.

Wednesday, October 10 – Southeast coast: Another easy walk starting at Marsascala parish church at 2pm, and following a coastal trail to San Tumas on to St Peter’s Pool and Delimara.  Duration: Three hours.

Sunday, October 14 – Marsamxett Harbour:  The rendezvous is past the bridge to Manoel Island at 9am. The walk is along the promenades of Ta’ Xbiex, Msida and Pietà and then up the pinetum en route to St Philip Garden and Hastings, returning to Sliema with the ferry. Duration: Four hours, including the ferry trip.

Sunday, October 21 – Valleys of Mosta: This moderate to hard walk starts at Ġnien l-Gharusa tal-Mosta at 9am and taking in Qlejgha Valley and id-Dwejra. Duration: Four hours.

Wednesday, October 24 – Qormi village:  A cultural visit to this old town on the 275th anniversary of it earning its title of Città Pinto by Grand Master Pinto de Fonseca. Ramblers will visit the core of the town to admire its numerous niches, chapels, palaces and important houses. The walk starts in the car park behind St Sebastian church at 2pm. The return route will take in part of Wied is-Sewda. Duration: Three hours.

Sunday, October 28 – Victoria Lines West: Starting from Għargħur parish church parvis at 9am this moderately hard walk will take some four hours to traverse three valleys – Wied il-Faħam, Wied id-Dies and Wied Anġlu – to reach Fort Madliena before making its way back. All along the way the ramblers will collect light waste littering the path, in recycling bags with gloves, both of which will be provided at the start of the walk.

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

www.ramblersmalta.org

www.facebook.com/ramblersmalta

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