Sunday 13th December: From Palace to Battery.
A splendid sun shone on the fifty ramblers who turned up for a leisurely and interesting walk in Mellieha.
It started off from the roundabout at the top of the Mellieha ridge and the group was immediately immersed in the simple but effective technicalities that our forefathers used to construct the Girna. The typical example of the rudimentary dry-stone hut that survived the elements for God-knows-how-many years is in a good state of conservation in spite of its location at this busy junction.
Some 400 meters down the way to the palace of Selmun a short detour was taken to visit the paleo-christian tomb hewn in the rock, and the twin resting-places inside drew a lot of interest.
We moved on to the Selmun Palace, which magnificent baroque edifice never ceases to delight. Deservedly it did receive great admiration and innumerable clicks from digital contraptions, especially under the excellent light conditions of the clear and bright sunlight of the morning.
From the palace the group made its way towards the west for some 500 meters before making a 90 degree turn to the north again following a well trodden path on the garigue. Some four Mgiebah were encountered, all in a very good state of conservation, and the ramblers took the opportunity to look closely at the simplicity of the old practice of bee-keeping. Further along the path in the direction of the Xaghra ta’ Ghirdellu we skimmed the ridge that gave excellent views of the valley beneath and the deep blue sea beyond, which was enlivened with a high and colourful Oil Rig being hauled by two tow-boats. The bright sun shining splendidly on the lush green valley below, the cliff face of the ridge of Ghajn Hadid opposite, and the clear blue skies above, reflected a picture of pure bliss.
Traversing the Xaghra ta’Ghirdellu following the concreted lane the ramblers were soon in the east-side of Santa Marija Estate. Their attention was drawn to the rare sight of wild fauna that, in the absence of hunters, flocks to the numerous trees there. Collared doves and other wild birds breed in Santa Marija Estate because the residents there have organised themselves to protect the neighbourhood and the valley of Ghajn Zejtuna, which Mepa was persuaded to schedule very recently.
Stepping all the way down to the beach where parapets “adorn” the fronts of the residential boathouses the ramblers enjoyed a deserved rest and refreshment. Then the coastline was followed right up to the old military Battery which today houses the Tunnara Museum. The Museum that was especially opened for the occasion and it was a delight to see the exhibits there. Mr Tony Valletta gave a detailed and vivid description of the old methods used for catching tuna until some fifty years ago.
Walk Leader: Alex
Some photos below