Sunday, 30 March 2008
In March 2008, the Save Wied Garnaw Action Group turned four!
The Group takes this opportunity to inform the friends of Wied Garnaw and of Malta’s countryside about the Group’s work, what it has achieved -- and also not achieved -- in these four years.
The Save Wied Garnaw Action Group has campaigned continuously to prevent the destruction of Wied Garnaw by industrial and other developments which should be sited in industrial estates not in valleys.
The Action Group has also lobbied strongly for better legislative protection and enforcement of the law so as to save all Malta’s countryside, the outside development zone (ODZ). The Action Group members have sacrificed time and money towards this end but at least one takes satisfaction in seeing that the Group helped put ODZ areas in the national spotlight, it helped show MEPA’s inability to protect ODZ areas and the need for action to remedy this situation. To be constructive in its approach the Group also presented a brief of proposals to the Prime Minister and Minister for the Environment on how certain ODZ shortcomings may be remedied.
The Action Group’s pressure ensured that MEPA refuses an application for a permit to build four warehouses, and another application to build a residential complex and garages in Wied Garnaw.
The Group has also actively supported the following campaigns to oppose the building of: a tourist village and marina at Hondoq ir-Rummien in Gozo, a villa complex at Ramla l-Hamra, and bungalows and other structures on Ta’ Cenc cliffs.
Moreover, the Action Group’s pressure has ensured that MEPA twice refuses the application to build a plant to sort metal, tyres, wood, paper and other inorganic waste in Wied Garnaw. However, every victory consitutes only temporary respite, as ODZ applicants reapply if refused the first time round, and then appeal if refused twice. In fact, the waste sorting plant application is now stuck at the appeal stage. For over a year now, the Planning Appeals Board has been deferring this hearing.
The appeal process is riddled with bureaucratic inefficiencies and turns a blind eye at applicants’ evident attempts at protracting the process when the outcome does not look promising in their regard. This is because until the appeal is still underway, there is still hope that the appellant cracks the system in the end.
The appeal re the waste sorting plant has been deferred five times now. The fifth hearing was on 26th March 08, this Wednesday and has now been deferred to May 08, simply because the appellant didn’t bother to inform the PAB beforehand that the appellant wanted an MP to be questioned as part of the hearing.
Save Wied Garnaw Action Group members have attended these five hearings. In the process of attending hearings that get deffered, members waste their time without getting any compensation for it. But the PAB and the appellant’s architect have no incentive to stop deferments -- PAB members and the apellant’s architect get paid every time they attend a hearing. So these continued deferrments are often used to psychologically wear down the resistance made by ordinary citizens who cannot keeping taking leave from work, leave their family and fork out their time for free.
But, i believe that nobody can deny the writing on the wall any longer -- most Maltese people do not want these bureaucratic and other abuses in the development planning system. Most Maltese people want a MEPA that promotes sustainable development and respects not only those who can pay architects and lawyers, or who have party political contacts, but a MEPA that respects every law-abiding ordinary citizen. Because this requirement is at the basis of a true democracy - all should be equal in the eyes of the law.
The Save Wied Garnaw Action Group wishes to thank all those of you who have shown support to Malta’s countryside and to the Group’s efforts. The Group would be very happy to receive your comments, suggestions and feedback, by email or by post.
With best wishes for a green, beautiful and healthy Malta,
Save Wied Garnaw Action Group
Saturday, 29 March 2008
It is however relevant to add that whereas this amazing site was under threat of being turned into a golf course the last time we visited, today we can breathe a collective sigh of relief knowing that this area is now safely preserved as part of Malta's first nature and history park going by the name of Il-Majjistral. More detailed information can be found here http://www.majjistral.org/
It is up to us to enjoy this area - responsibly.
Walk Duration: 3 hours
Walk Leader: Steven
Distance Covered: 6.5 km
Friday, 28 March 2008
From The Times of Malta
The Ramblers Association has revoked the stand of tolerance it had taken on the sanctioning of boathouses in Dwejra after it learnt that money collected as fines from the controversial mass sanctioning is contributing to further environmental plunder of the landscape "in form of a cafeteria".
The association said it had reluctantly taken a position of tolerance earlier this year when the benefits to the environment of the entire Dwejra Park plan appeared to outweigh the disadvantage of accepting the illegal structures.
The association has now declared itself against all sanctioning of illegal constructions outside the development zone and called for their immediate removal by direct action as prescribed on paper by Mepa.
Alex Vella, secretary of the association, said irregularities should never be considered for sanctioning as more irregularities are provoked. Dwejra has been proposed as a candidate for Unseco World Heritage Site and is already part of the Natura 2000 network of European natural heritage, but in truth the shacks and the concrete structure make a mockery of a nature site, Mr Vella said.
Mepa last night reacted to the Ramblers' statement, saying it was not true that fines collected from the sanctioning of the boathouses are being used for the construction of a cafeteria.
Earlier this week Mepa stopped the construction of the structure, an Interpretative Centre, and is now investigating the relationship between the original plans and the current structure.
Mepa recently sanctioned a number of existing boathouses in the area as part of an integrated Heritage Park Action Plan.
Saturday, 15 March 2008
The group continued on its way (in glorious sunny weather one may add) past the tower known as Torri tal-Hamrija and a stone tablet which recalls the burial at sea of the British Governor of Malta Walter Norris Congreve (b.1862 - d.1927). The stretch of sea from here to Filfla, known as the Congreve Channel, marks this event. Descending the gently inclined cliff the group reached a limestone shelf next to the sea for a well deserved break. Continuing on we rounded past Wied iz-Zurrieq and climbed back tracing the southern lip of Wied Hoxt.
From here it was a short way up to our starting point.
Walk Duration: 2.5 hours
Walk Leader: Steven
Tuesday, 11 March 2008
Name : Ramblers Association of Malta
Address : c/o 24 Sir Adrian Dingli Street, Sliema
Telephone : 21342121
Fax : 21342121
Mobile : 99497080
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Description of infringement :
No less than 13 iron poles have been erected (without permit affixed anywhere) seemingly to take electrical supply to an out-building the use of which is unknown but certainly not used for habitation purposes. This area is known as Ta' Sanap and is close to the cliffs. It is very ecologically sensitive and protected under various denominations of conservation. The work was undertaken very speedily during election week and the visual impact together with the cost involved certainly does not render the exercise viable environmentally and economically. It is recommended that the poles are removed at once as was done in Bahrija, and an appropriate investigation into the matter opened if there is no permit.
MEPA's answer received 11th March:
Your complaint was investigated.
Below mentioned electricity poles are subject to Enforcement Notice ECF 494/07.
Currently there is a pending application PA 6256/07 "to sanction erection of poles".
Sunday, 9 March 2008
2,500 ODZ applications approved in two years
| by Catherine Polidano |
Over the years, like many other Maltese, I have campaigned for sustainable development based on the planning policies of Malta’s Structure Plan and Local Plans. Despite such campaigns I have continued to witness the plunder of Malta’s remaining green areas.
Faced with ever-increasing destruction of the Outside Development Zone, I recently researched the two scourges of Malta’s countryside – Mepa permits granted to ODZ development, and Mepa sanctioning of ODZ illegal developments.
I obtained data from Mepa’s Public Relations Officer, for which I express my thanks, from Mepa’s web site. Put together, this data reveals a disturbing picture:
Between 2005 and 2007 Mepa granted a permit to over 2,500 developments in ODZ.
In 2007, Mepa “closed” 440 enforcement cases – by sanctioning 380 (73 per cent) of them!
While the Structure Plan does allow some, mainly agricultural, development outside the development zone, I find it hard to believe that some 2,500 reservoirs and farmhouses were built in the last three years. Very often, Mepa issues ODZ permits against the recommendations of its own case officers. Additionally, sanctioning the bulk of illegal developments is an injustice to law-abiding, ordinary citizens.
For these reasons, I have written to the Mepa Auditor, Perit Joseph Falzon asking him to investigate:
Whether Mepa acted in accordance with the planning policies, local plans and the Structure Plan in the issue of over 2,500 ODZ development permits;
Whether the high rate of illegal development sanctioning was made in accordance with the Development Planning Act, with Malta’s planning policies and with local plans.
In what turned out to be a beautiful day, some 75 ramblers, including Dutch, Lebanese and English-speaking ramblers, turned up for today's walk. We started at the chapel dedicated to Santa Margerita (Burmarrad) from where we followed the watercourse downstream. Then we went upstream through the Wied il-Ghasel valley system,turned left to stroll the Burmarrad area until reaching a path through the fields leading us to Fort Mosta. We rambled just under the Victoria Lines till we reached the statue of San Guzepp tat-Targa (at Targa Gap). Going further uphill, we passed near the ex-Targa Battery, reaching the tal-Bezbezija area, aft after crossing the Victoria Lines at right angles, we passed near an entrenchment originally built by the knights in an area called Ta' Falka. Going downhill, we crossed a small tributary of the Ghajn Rihana valley system, till we reached il-Hzejjen, where we followed the watercourse upstream till ta' l-Imselliet area. Walking towards Zebbiegh, we turned left where we followed a path on the other side of the valley, and after reaching il-Hzejjen again, we turned right (uphill) till we crossed the main road to Bidnija and reached our starting point downhill through the lesser-known Wied l-Arkata.
Walk leader: Simon
Duration: 4 hours
Thursday, 6 March 2008
Extract from MEPA website:
Planning Enforcement Number
Location of development
Description of infringement
Site at, Wied Qirda, Limiti Ta', Zebbug (
Excavations and clearing of soil without permit
This infringement was reported in January and had stopped for a while. During election week activity has increased with intensity, and now there are power poles and cables installed. When the enforcement office MEPA was contacted by phone yesterday, the blunt reply was that no car was available to visit the site. This shows crass incompetence and unwillingness on the part of the Authority to stop illegality. Countless enforcement orders dating many years have not been acted upon and laws and regulations remain conspicuous by their non-application. With infringements still in place after long years the wrongdoer takes all the benefit of his illegal action and the wrong message is being sent out. Indeed it is evident that the wrong message is received and actioned at will and without impunity.
Please act according to the oath you had taken on assuming responsibility of your office, as it is your duty to God and the people.
Ramblers Association of
Wednesday, 5 March 2008
Originally published in Malta Today Midweek Wednesday, 05 March 2008
DPA amendments – can they save our countryside?
In theory, ordinary citizens need not worry about this application. The Structure Plan does not permit waste sorting plants in Wied Garnaw, which is outside the development zone (ODZ). And for MEPA to consider an ODZ development not permitted by the Structure Plan, the applicant must submit evidence as to why the proposed development cannot be undertaken within the development zone. The waste sorting plant applicant has not submitted this evidence.
But in reality, MEPA considers all ODZ applications it receives – whether these comply with the Structure Plan or not. In the last three years, MEPA permitted over 2,500 ODZ developments. These include permits for developments not allowed by the Structure Plan such as a printing press and soft-drink warehouses in Wied Garnaw.
Since MEPA and its political masters cannot be relied upon to protect the Maltese countryside, ordinary citizens are compelled to step in and act as environmental watchdogs. They are having to sacrifice personal time and money to scrutinise MEPA files and documents, attend meetings, write press releases, and organise awareness activities. At times, they have to take leave from work to attend MEPA hearings.
As MEPA’s watchdog, you must scrutinise an average of 7,000 development applications every year. Luckily for Wied Garnaw, the sacrifices of the ordinary citizen and environmental NGOs have paid off – MEPA has rejected the waste sorting plant application. It also rejected subsequent applications to build four workshops and a mega residential complex in Wied Garnaw. Missing my birthday cake back in 2004 proved worthwhile.
Unfortunately, each rejection brings only temporary respite. This is because the current Development Planning Act (DPA) empowers rejected would-be developers to request a reconsideration of their application. In the last three years, MEPA reconsidered over 850 ODZ applications it had originally rejected and granted a permit to more than half of them. Reconsideration does appear to weaken MEPA’s resistance to ODZ development.
And if reconsideration doesn’t go the developers’ way, there’s always the appeal. The Wied Garnaw waste plant application was reconsidered and rejected yet again. It is currently stuck in the appeals process – and so are the citizen objectors, who have to attend appeal hearing after appeal hearing as the case keeps getting adjourned.
Many developers try to twist MEPA’s arm differently: they develop first and apply for sanctioning later. Currently there are over 6,600 illegal developments bearing a MEPA enforcement notice. 42 per cent of these are ODZ illegal developments.
There is supposedly a penalty for developers who ignore an enforcement notice, but MEPA has rarely imposed it. Instead, MEPA often gives way to such cowboy developers. In 2007, MEPA “closed” 449 enforcement cases. Of these, 328 were sanctioned. Cowboy tactics work!
What can stop the destruction of Malta’s remaining green areas? What will release ordinary citizens from being MEPA watchdogs? Four fundamental legislative changes are needed: first, stop MEPA considering ODZ applications that do not comply with the Structure Plan; second, remove developers’ right to seek reconsideration; third, remove MEPA’s power to sanction illegal ODZ developments; and fourth, stop MEPA board members, namely architects, from working both for MEPA and its clients.
A week before parliament was suspended due to the upcoming national election, Government published a long-promised bill amending the Development Planning Act. Does the bill deliver the needed changes?
The bill deals a blow to ODZ illegal development. It proposes that MEPA “dismiss forthwith” applications to sanction illegal ODZ developments that were started after May 2007 and bear an enforcement notice.
But this proposal contains two loopholes. Firstly, it lets all pre-May 2007 illegal developments – over 6,000 of them – off the hook. Secondly, MEPA may still sanction post-May 2007 illegal developments if they are not ODZ or do not bear an enforcement notice.
At the very least, MEPA should be obliged to dismiss forthwith all ODZ sanctioning applications – regardless of when the developments were carried out, and whether or not they bear an enforcement notice.
Commendably, the bill also eliminates a legal loophole in the hearing of ODZ appeals. To date, ODZ developments which receive a MEPA permit have been allowed to proceed even if an appeal against this development would be initiated. The bill proposes that the Appeals Board may suspend the permit for up to three months, if an ordinary citizen appeals against it.
Additionally, the bill enhances citizens’ participation in the drafting of subsidiary plans. It also allows citizens extra time – twenty working days rather than the current two weeks – to register objections to development applications.
Ordinary citizens appreciate the greater opportunity to object to development applications. But citizens would rather not have to do so in the first place. And this is where the bill falls short. It does not stop MEPA from considering ODZ applications which do not comply with the Structure Plan.
To tackle the root problem behind ODZ destruction, a two-phase application processing system needs to be entrenched in the Development Planning Act. This system would oblige MEPA to first check whether a proposed ODZ development is permitted by the Structure Plan and, if not, whether the applicant has submitted valid reasons why it cannot be located within the development zone. Those that fail this test would be rejected outright. Only those that pass would be eligible to a full screening process.
The bill doesn’t even stop MEPA from reconsidering ODZ applications. The right to reconsideration needs to be removed, not only for ODZ but for all development applications. After all, this right does not exist in the judicial system. If you’re not content with a court decision, you may appeal. But you cannot ask the court to hear your case all over again!
Neither does the bill try to stem the abuse that may arise because some MEPA board members, namely architects, are currently allowed to serve two masters. New legal provisions should prohibit MEPA board members from concurrently working for MEPA clients. The remuneration given to MEPA board members should understandably be raised to reflect this exclusive work commitment.
In my ordinary citizen’s eyes, the bill proposed on the eve of dissolving Parliament stems some of the ODZ bleeding, but it does not outlaw the infliction of fresh ODZ wounds. It increases the opportunity for citizen participation but it does not remove the root deficiencies which compel the citizen to be a 24/7 MEPA watchdog.
And on the eve of going to the polls I ask: which political party pledges to resolve the legislative deficiencies at the root of our countryside’s destruction? Ordinary citizens await the answer.
Tuesday, 4 March 2008
Article First Published on Tuesday, 4th March 2008
Upgrading the law of the land
The massive campaign by the Ramblers Association of Malta to promote rambling as a means to enhance the quality of life is gaining ground.
More members are joining our ranks in order to discover the natural beauty of our islands particularly the countryside and coastal zones. We take heart from the fact that our honest endeavours in collaboration with other green NGOs have recently been instrumental in retrieving land that belongs to us all. However, to our utter dismay, the rape of the countryside continues unabated as we sadly witness more public land usurped by unscrupulous grabbers, developers, pseudo-farmers and squatters, all intent on clawing away pathways, garigue and prime areas of scenic beauty.
In these last 10 years we have seen the unauthorised closure of at least 45 pathways along the stretch of land from Ġebel Ciantar, along Dingli Cliffs, down to Miġra Ferħa and beyond to Fomm ir-Riħ. And this illegal dispossession, in just one segment, continues with impunity even in acclaimed areas of great historical areas (like Simblija) and those of archaeological importance as in Qlejjgħa tal-Baħrija with its picturesque Bronze Age Village.
Needless to point out, this a legal aspect which cries out for immediate legislation covering accessibility to the countryside. Unfortunately, Malta is the only EU country not to have the relevant legislation. Yet, it appears that all those with the political responsibility to address this unbearable situation are adopting the ostrich mentality or sweeping it under the carpet as if this perennial problem does not exist.
In no other EU country is accessibility to the countryside, foreshore and coastal cliffs so restricted and abusively barred as in the Maltese Islands. In all civilised countries, the state, in association with local councils, issues guide books and definitive maps in order to ensure that public spaces and pathways are open to all and not misappropriated or barred by selfish individuals who arrogantly ride roughshod over the rights of the citizen. They firmly believe that right of way may only be restricted by official prohibition enforced by public authorities and signs around restricted areas have to name the authority in question. Ideally the age-old concept of every man's right gives everyone the basic right to roam freely in the countryside as long as this causes no harm to property or nature.
According to a Finnish Ministry of the Environment publication of February, 1999 "everyone's right has evolved in Finland over the centuries from a largely unwritten code of practice to become a fundamental legal right. Every man's right does not however cover activities which damage the environment or disturb others".
Understandably, with the freedom to enjoy the countryside and coastal zones comes the obligation to leave the environment undisturbed and preserve its rich natural and historical heritage for future generations to enjoy.
In pursuance of one of its major objectives, the Ramblers Association of Malta fully endorses the recommendations submitted by the National Commission for a Sustainable Development Strategy for the Maltese Islands 2006-2016 which state inter alia that "the enjoyment of coastal areas depends on accessibility.
Some areas are not accessible due to land ownership issues. Measures need to be taken so that access to the coast is possible whether the land is private or owned by government" (section 3.1.7).
With regard to leisure and the environment, this section recommends that "places that combine leisure with enjoyment of the natural environment could be a source of improved health and therefore accessibility to such places should be improved. It is therefore desirable that public footpaths are identified in the countryside and false claims to land title checked. Paths that are abusively closed to the public should be opened" (section 3.1.11).
The Ramblers Association of Malta pleads to all concerned for the immediate implementation of these recommendations and for protection against the constant threats from presumed owners and usurpers whose illegal actions and harassment have been stepped up in recent months.
Mr Bugeja is president of the Ramblers Association of Malta.
Sunday, 2 March 2008
It is hard to believe, Mr Vella wrote, that MEPA is unaware of the irreversible damage being done to this site that has Natura 2000 status. A MEPA Board Decision taken as far back as 1999 is being reversed and an Enforcement Order on new illegal development, instead of being ordered to be reversed as recently proposed by Minister Pullicino (his aerial photos scheme), is on the way to being sanctioned.
The full story starts with the military road, which up to some years back was public property and gave access to the beach and the foreshore. It was closed illegally when a simple barrier that stopped wheeled traffic but allowed access on foot to the beach, was replaced by a metal door that barred all but the former owners of the villa who installed the metal door and built the adjacent high wall. Public access and constitutional right of way to the foreshore was thus denied, and public property misappropriated. All was done without the relevant permit. For some time now various ministers have promised RAM that the situation will be remedied.
To rub salt into the wound, Mr Vella added, Mr Gasan has extended the military road in various directions in an area of exceptional beauty. Pristine natural habitats, scheduled under various denominations of conservation, seem to mean absolutely nothing to MEPA. The destruction becomes more serious when considering the fact that these roads were not necessary and meant only to accommodate motorised sport and leisure of the owners of the villa (not necessarily the owners of the land and, certainly, not of the old road, beach and foreshore) in a highly sensitive and protected area. Rocks were broken and boulders removed to facilitate vehicle access to the shore, presumably for the owners to enjoy their water sports unhindered by common mortals.
Enforcement Notice 00466/07 was recently issued to put a temporary stop to the rampage and misappropriation. In accordance with Minister Pullicino’s new measures, aerial photos to check what was there before and then have the illegality removed before consideration is given to any relative application should have followed it.
However, Mr Gasan through his architects Martin Xuereb & Associates, now puts in an application to “Reinstate and marginally extend security fence, planting of indigenous trees / shrubs and reinstating rubble walls in vicinity of existing dwelling, repairing damaged internal roads and footpaths.” This is an evident fabrication and Mr Vella wrote: Even the MEPA mapserver can reveal the ante-mortem. Besides, there was only one road stopping mid-way and certainly no damaged internal roads to repair. Only footpaths led to the beach and to the fields.
The “reinstating rubble walls in vicinity of existing dwelling” bit is also a ‘clever’ euphemism of scandalous proportions. Just consider that 10 years ago the former owners also tried to enclose more land on the cliff edge through the construction of a wall without a permit. ECF01195/98 put a stop to this illegality. An appeal (826/98E) was lodged on 9 November 1998 against the enforcement order but it was conclusively over-ruled by the decision of the Appeals Board on 28 September 1999, confirming that the wall be removed within 16 days. Needless to say the enforcement order was never carried out and the wall allowed to remain. In the meantime more stone rubble was thrown behind the illegal wall for future use. It’s time has now come.
Enter Joe Gasan who applies to sanction the wall: Application 05953/06 – “To sanction existing rubble wall (whole rubble) and extend same to enclose private property.” It is a brazen wonder of wonders that the “DCC 46-01A/07, held on 24 April 2007, approved the application in view that the height of wall is acceptable and keeps away people from damaging the natural habitat and fauna.”
Mr Vella wrote: What an act of hypocritical environmental heroism! Everybody else, Maltese or foreign, is deprived from enjoying the views from the cliff top, disturbed by the former owners themselves with dumping of rubble, while the new owners selfishly enjoy them from the top in comfort. Everybody else is denied access to the beach and foreshore while the new owners are permitted to abusively get there on sporty jeeps driving in the middle of virgin land with abundant flora and fauna, in a conservation area specially scheduled exactly against such insensitivity.
Mr Vella added: Please, spare us the pathetic pretext that the previous wall was refused for the reason that there was no permit and that the issue of maintenance was non-existent. Walls over cliff edges are regulated by special conditions; need one remind MEPA of that?
This is blatant contempt of the law and it is MEPA’s duty to put paid to this abuse with immediate effect.
Should the Authority not rise to the occasion the Ramblers Association will do everything legally possible to fight the injustice with the might of its numbers. Furthermore, it intends to organise protests to reclaim the rights of civil society over the appropriated areas.
Destruction was carried out illegally and is irreversible in an area that falls under various schedules of conservation. Such crimes are punishable by heavy fines under the law and ought to be applied. The irregularity can never be sanctioned under EU conventions signed by Malta.
In reply to Mr Vella, Peter Gingell, MEPA marketing executive, replied: “Further to your queries some time ago, I am herewith forwarding you some information on the action the authority has taken over these weeks on particular cases you outlined within the area of Fomm ir-Rih and Ras il-Pellegrin l/o Rabat and Mgarr.
“Villa Delfino – The site is already subject to enforcement action in ECF 466/07 (formation of track), ECF 1195/98 (illegal wall) & ECF 745/96 (illegal extension to gun post). The latter two cases were issued against the previous owners. All three cases were referred for direct action. Incidentally, more work (laying of tiles) was noted last week within the premises and in breach of the active notices. Workers were asked to cease work. As such PA 6321/07 is to be recommended for dismissal in terms of Art 57.2 of the DPA. The PEO went on site today and found the gate closed.
“Rubble wall – The said rubble wall is now sanctioned by PA 5953/06 issued 13/02/08. The permit would be included in the monitoring process to ensure compliance with the permit conditions.
“Track at Ras il-Pellegrin – No permits were traced and investigations led nowhere. ECF 95/08 is to be issued against the unknown landowner / occupier for having formed a track on scheduled property.
“Caravan – The PEO has been trying to meet its owner for the last months but to no avail. Therefore ECF 94/08 is now to be issued and will be fixed on site in line with procedures.
“New building on farm - Building is covered by PA 1527/04. Development is monitored and the last inspection carried out on 21/01/08 revealed that the work is compliant with permit.”
Today’s walk was led by the affable and ever-pleasant John Mizzi of Sannat, the stalwart defender of Ta’ Cenc. John took us to the verdant and magnificent
During the walk John Mizzi was always pointing out and explaining features in his inimitable and enthusiastic way. John Is highly recommended for anyone who wants to go on a guided walk in Gozo, with a selection of walks with several themes. For further information, please visit http://www.gozo-excursions.com/. We are quite sure that you will not be disappointed.
Walk Leader: John Mizzi
Duration: 3 1/2 hours
Some photos below.
For those who are interested, the Madonna keeps her appointment with Angelik every Wednesday at 1745.
On the valley floor, with the old steam-engine driven pumping station in the background
|From the Malta Independent 2nd March 2008 |
Ramblers Association protests situation at Fomm ir-Rih
Saturday, 1 March 2008
The next part, from Marsalforn to Ramla l-Hamra, was the hardest part of today’s walk. Most of the group walked beneath the cliff, with the sea on the left-hand side, sometimes just a few inches away. All the Gozitans we met while scouting the walk had told us that it was not possible to walk along this stretch of the coast. In fact, part of the walk is not possible if the sea is rough, and some parts of the ledges are very slippery. Still, we walked all the way to Ramla l-Hamra, with the last section mostly along boulder scree beneath crumbling clay cliffs.
A small part of the group elected to use the safer, although still difficult, route, along the top of the cliff, then down to Ramla.
At Ramla we were met by Lino Bugeja with a car full pizza ordered from a well-known Nadur bakery. It took quite a while for all the ramblers to arrive, in small groups, tired but satisfied to have made it.
After a longish break at Ramla, we struck inland to make our way back to Ghasri. We walked for a short distance along
Walk Leaders: Romano, helped by Alex and Simon.
Duration: 8 hours including breaks.Some photos below