Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Walks Programme: January to March 2010

See the 17th Feb 2010 post for the latest amended programme.

Walks Programme: January to March 2010

RAM presents the programme of walks proposed for the first three months of 2010. All walks are circular walks unless otherwise noted. Some walks might present problems to anyone who is not used to walking over unpaved ground. Good walking shoes and suitable clothing for the weather are recommended. It is always a good idea to bring some drinking water along, especially on the longer walks. RAM endeavours to adhere to the published walks programme but reserves the right to make changes without prior notice as the need arises.
Walks are organized for the benefit of RAM members. Guests are welcome but a contribution of €5 will be requested.

RAM takes great care in picking the trails but one’s safety is ultimately one’s responsibility. One can choose to stop walking at any stage as one deems it fit to suit one’s abilities. RAM declines all responsibility for any personal injury or loss of belongings.

Only in case of very bad weather will walks be cancelled. If in doubt please consult the blog (http://ramblersassociation.blogspot.com/) or phone 99497080.

RAM Grading Standards:

Very Hard - only for hardy ramblers loving difficult challenges, ready to take a beating.
Hard - for the fit rambler in good physical shape to take on steep inclines and long stretches.
Moderate – for the average rambler who can take on up to four hour stretches of walking on uneven surfaces.
Easy – for the occasional rambler who prefers leisurely strides at a slower pace.

Note: Booking a place on a restricted walk is not the same as buying a ticket to a concert. I.e., if a member is accepted on the walk, then the member cannot decide to transfer his/her place to another person. If a member cannot make it to a walk that he/she has booked, he/she should inform the organisers at once as there might be others on the waiting-list waiting to come along.

Sat. 9 Jan: Birzebbuga - Hal Far Circular. (Scenic, Historical, Geological)
From the Church of St Peter we will walk along the coast and the Freeport until we reach the cliffs. A country lane that follows the cliff will lead us through farmland to Fort Benghaisa and Ghar Hasan. Then we visit Hasan’s cave, which is connected to a traditional legend told at the time of Count Roger. An Arab named Hasan seized a Maltese girl and kept her in this cave to serve his various needs. We will walk back to Birzebbuga through Hal Far.
Duration: circa 3 hrs
Rating: Moderate
Meeting Place: St Peter’s Parish Church, Birzebbugia
Time: 0900

Wed. 13 Jan: Rabat - Zebbug Circular ( Scenic, Historical, Geological)
From St Dominic’s convent we will walk to the Archbishop’s Seminary where the view of the valley will be taken in. Our walk will lead to the old Observatory and through fields to the Rabat-Siggiewi main road. A country lane will lead us to Zebbug and on to San Blas, from where we will take the uphill trodden path back.
Duration: 2.5 hrs
Rating: Moderate with some traffic at times
Meeting Place: St Dominic’s Church parvis
Time: 1400

Wed. 20 Jan: Zebbiegh-Golden Bay Circular (Scenic Historical, Geological)
Walking on paths through the fields and country lanes, the Victoria Lines will be followed to the plateau on which the Lippijja Tower was built in 1637 on orders of Grandmaster Jean de Lascaris-Castellar. We will follow the cliff edge, taking in the lovely seaviews on our left until the sandy beaches of Ghajn Tuffieha and Golden Bay come into view, with the lovely landscape to the right. Through farmland and beside the Roman Baths we will walk back to Mgarr and Zebbiegh.
Duration: circa 3 hrs Rating: Moderate with some uneven surfaces and inclines
Meeting Place: Zebbiegh parish church
Time: 1400 .

Sat 23 Jan: Siggiewi and a Visit to the Malta Falconry Centre (Scenic, Cultural)
A straight-forward walk through part of Wied Xkora onto part of Wied Qirda back onto Wied Hesri which takes us back towards and below the village of Siggiewi, culminating on the road between Siggiewi cemetery and Ta Bria cemetery.
The highlight of this walk is a visit to the Malta Falconry Centre where a live display of birds of prey (hawks, owls, falcons eagles) will be put on and we will also have the opportunity to observe and handle these birds. The visit to the falconry centre will be at a reduced price of €5.50.
For those wishing to visit the Falconry Centre, please book by sending an email to ram205@gmail.com, and a cheque for €5.50 payable to the Ramblers Association of Malta, to P.O. Box 108, Sliema, SLM 1000.
Duration 2.5 hrs
Rating: Moderate
Meeting Place: Siggiewi bypass by The Limestone Heritage siteTime: 0800

Sat. 30 Jan: Qawra, Burmarrad,Wardija Circular(Scenic and Historical)
From the St Pauls Bay promenade and the Salini Park, we take country paths through the fields of Burmarrad to San Pawl Milqi’ and a Roman Villa of the 10th century BC. A steep hill road to Wardija will provide overwhelming views of the valley below and the sea beyond. Wardija is an important village with imposing palaces like Palazzo Promontorio, the hunting lodge of Grandmaster de Rohan, villas and farmhouses. We will folllow the country lane back to Qawra.
Duration: circa 3 hrs Rating: Moderate with some inclines
Meeting place: Qawra Police Station
Time: 0900

Wed. 3 Feb: Luqa, Sta Lucija, Ghaxaq, Gudja Circular (Scenic, Historical)
A small path through the meadows will take us to Santa Lucija for a visit to the dainty Chinese Garden. After a short break, another lane will lead us to the 1585 Santa Lucija Church in the limits of Ghaxaq. Then we will continue the ramble to the center of the village of Gudja and the quaint parish church of Santa Marija and its square. Thence we will walk on to the Bir Miftuh chapel and follow a country lane back to Luqa.
Duration: 2.5 hrs
Rating: Moderate with some traffic
Meeting Place: Luqa parish church.
Time: 1400

Sun 7th Feb: Xemxija, Mistra and the Underground Flour Mill (Historical)
The highlight of this circular walk is a visit to the underground flour mill in the area, now scheduled as a Grade 1 national monument. This is one of seven underground flour mills constructed in the 1950s, during the cold war, as part of civil defence measures. The complex is entirely cut into the rocks, consisting of an entrance passage leading to the milling chambers, where the 80hp Petter-Fielding main drive engine and the milling machinery are placed. This mill is one of only two that are in working order, restored recently by volunteers and the local council. This will be a planned tour guided by people who are very familiar with the place and the machinery, and we are sure that it will be enjoyed by everyone who attends. The machinery will be run during our visit, something which is not done during normal visits.
This is a restricted walk. There will be a charge of €3.50 per person to go towards the upkeep of the mill. Please book by email to: ram205@gmail.com, Send a cheque for €3.50 payable to the Ramblers Association of Malta, at P.O. Box 108, Sliema, SLM 1000. Booking opens on 7th January.
Duration: About 3 hrs
Rating: Moderate
Meeting Place: Xemxija, near the entrance to the Simar reserve, just before Xemxija hill.
Time: 0900

Wed. 10 Feb: Mellieha, Qammieh, Ghadira Circular ( Scenic, Geological)
Leaving Mellieha village we take a path on uneven terrain and down a slope which we will follow up to Popeye Village. The Roman road will lead to a rough landscape right up to the new Sewage Plant at ic-Cumnija. We will climb up a steep path to the plateau of Qammieh, viewing the old apiary on the way. The magnificent views from there will be enjoyed until we reach the Red Tower. Down to Ghadira we will then climb the road to Mellieha.
Duration: circa 3 hrs
Rating: Moderate to hard, with steep inclines and uneven ground
Meeting Place: Mellieha parish church
Time: 0900

Wed 17 Feb: Mellieha-Selmun Circular (Scenic, Historical, Geological)
Starting at the imposing parish church dedicated to Marija Bambina we will climb down to pay a visit to the very old Sanctuary of Il-Madonna tal-Mellieha. Skimming the coast the walk will proceed over the hill towards Selmun and its famous Palace, and then on to Fort Campbell. A tour of this fortification will be complemented with the magnificent scenic views over the Bay of St Paul’s. Our way back to Mellieha will take us past the paleo-christian tombs and a Girna.
Duration: circa 3 hrs
Rating: Moderate with some steep inclines
Meeting Place: Mellieha parish church
Time: 1400.

Friday 26th to Sunday 28th February: Gozo Weekend.
The programme of walks for each day will be given only to participants at the hotel every morning during our stay. The first walk will be held on Friday afternoon at 2.30pm after check-in at the hotel.

Rates at the San Andrea Hotel have remained unchanged from last year. The rates per room on Half-board basis, are:

Side view: €120.00 per twin room for 2 person 2 nights (€30.00 pppn)
Sea view: € 138.00 per twin room for 2 persons 2 nights (€34.50 pppn)
Side view: € 160.00 per triple room for 3 persons 2 nights (€26.67 pppn)
Sea view: € 182.00 per triple room for 3 persons 2 nights (€30.33 pppn)
Side view: € 82.00 per twin room for 1 person 2 nights (€ 41.00 pppn)
Sea view: € 90.00 per twin room for 1 person 2 nights (€ 45.00 pppn)
(Please note that the third bed in the triple room will be a folding bed that needs to be folded away during the day to make space in the room.)
Participants can check into the hotel anytime after noon on Friday 26th Feb. The management of San Andrea has always given us the best service and our sixth time should not be an exception. We have been promised good value for money once again. Only paid-up members need apply, as always on a first-come first-served basis.

To book your place, please send your details to ram205@gmail.com, complete with a cheque made out to the Ramblers Association of Malta, to the above PO Box address. Booking opens on 1st February.

Saturday 13th March: Siggiewi- Fawwara Circular (Scenic, cultural)
From Siggiewi we cross the valley towards Is-Salib tal-Gholja, then we climb up to the ridge. We then head towards Fawwara cliffs, from where we have an easy walk down to Siggiewi passing by interesting cultural edifices.
Duration: circa 3 hrs
Rating: Moderate
Meeting Place: Siggiewi main square near the Police Station
Time: 0900

Sunday 21st March: Marsaxlokk area (Scenic)
From our meeting place, this circular walk skirts the power station to Ras il-Fenek, then around Munxar to St.Thomas Bay, where we can take a short break. We will then proceed to tas-Silg Chapel, passing near a fireworks factory, then back down to Marsaxlokk,
Duration: circa 3.5 hrs
Rating: Moderate
Meeting Place: Hunters' Tower Restaurant (a short walk from the church and bus stop)
Time: 0930

Saturday 27th March: Marsascala area (Historical/geological/Scenic)
This walk includes visiting some interesting historical features such as a watermill and historical towers. We will pass through the Munxar headland and Xrobb l-Ghagin and then back to Marsascala.Duration: circa 3 hrs
Rating: Moderate
Meeting Place: Inspire (ex-Razzett tal-Hbiberija)
Time: 0900

Wednesday 31st March: The North West with Lunch (Scenic, Gastronomical)

We will take a westerly direction to Anchor Bay, climb behind Popeye Village to follow the cliff-edge right down to ic-Cumnija. We will sweep Qammieh taking in the views in all directions. A lunch will follow.

This walk was initially planned for the 6th March, but had to be moved because of the rally. More details will be given later on.

Duration: 3.5 hours plus the lunch

Rating: Moderate, with rough terrain and moderate inclines

Meeting Place: Mellieha Bay bus terminus

Time: 0900

Green Country Code – for a more respectful approach to our countryside
Adapted from Malta, Gozo & Comino: Off the Beaten Track - a Nature Trust publication 2002

Refrain from collecting or causing harm to any specimens of flora, fauna, geological items such as fossils and stalactites or archaeological artefacts.
Respect natural habitats, sensitive sites and the local inhabitants. Tread lightly and avoid disturbance.
Avoid causing noise and light pollution (especially in caves or at night)
Do not dispose of any waste in the countryside or sea
Do not light fires in vulnerable locations such as caves, beneath trees, on dry grass or garigue areas
Keep to paths where possible – avoid trespassing on defined private property and cultivated fields.
Avoid trampling
Be informed beforehand of the protection status of any sites you will be passing through – some activities may be restricted in such areas or at least they may require extra attention upon visiting
Report any grass fires or emergencies on 112
Enjoy the countryside!

Important telephone numbers:

· Emergencies, Fire, Police: 112
· Police: 2122 4001
· Administrative Law Enforcement MALTA: 2122 4001 or 21235761
· Administrative Law Enforcement GOZO: 21562040

Report environmental issues to MEPA on their 24-hour emergency tel no: 2069 9595.
As per the MEPA advert, this should be used for all emergency reports related to pollution, littering, nature protection, illegal development, construction site management.

> If you encounter injured wildlife contact immediately International Animal Rescue Malta
(Mr Max Farrugia mobile: 9947 1212)
> If you encounter marine wildlife (injured/stranded/dead) contact Nature Trust’s Marine Rescue
Team on 9942 2085/6.
> Report sightings of marine mammals, reptiles and sharks to Nature Trust on 9942 2085/6 or
> Be extremely cautious when handling injured animals!
> For weekend emergencies i.c.w. injured pet animals such as cats and dogs contact the Vet
Emergency Service on 50043888

Report archaeological findings to: Anthony Pace, Superintendent of Cultural Heritage, 138, Melita Street, Valletta. VLT 08. Tel. +356 21 230711; +356 21 251874; Fax. +356 21 251140 E-mail anthony.pace@gov.mt
http://www.culturalheritage.gov.mt/ http://www.culturalheritage.org.mt/

The Natural History Museum at Mdina may be interested in knowing about any dead wildlife you encounter.

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