Saturday, 5 November 2011

Put your walking boots on

Put your walking boots on

Beauty of Malta is just a ramble away for everyone and it’s so easy to find out

The Ramblers’ Association of Malta has just launched its Autumn Walks programme including scenic routes through some of the finest and most exhilarating walking areas in the Maltese archipelago.

These popular walks encapsulate the main aims of this active NGO, mainly to promote rambling as a means of a better quality of life, to foster awareness and empathy towards Malta’s exceptional natural beauty and historical heritage and to ensure a more congenial environment throughout the Maltese countryside and coastal zone.

It may surprise visitors but after the first rains, the Maltese islands make a dramatic change as the dry, almost forbidding summer landscape rapidly changes, offering the most fascinating walks in the central Mediterranean region. They present a superb array of scenic landscape rich in geological and archaeological features, secluded beaches, ancient coastal towers, wayside chapels and vernacular art scattered in remote corners far from the hustle and bustle of the fast track of our lives.

This series of circular walks has been carefully planned to take in the rugged coastline scenery, impressive views of rock formations, a Bronze Age village (c. 800BC) complete with the bell-shaped silos then used for the storage of water or grain and the many rural characteristics dotting the Maltese countryside. These include the giren (corbelled huts), notarial deeds carved on stone, mġiebaħ (beehives) on the wild thyme covered xagħri (garigue), cart ruts, cave settlements like Għar il-Kbir in the limits of Dingli and the barumbari (pigeon houses).

Some of the walks in late autumn reveal the richness of our flora with over 1,000 varieties of delicate flowers foremost of which is the pyramidal orchid mainly growing on the garigue. The English mystic poet William Blake marvels about seeing “heaven in a wild flower”, in which case an endless paradise awaits the rambler in Malta with a feel for nature.

A walk along the green valleys of Wied Liemu and Wied Ħażrun , both rich in mediaeval remains, may regale the seasoned rambler with the discovery of the lost mediaeval chapels of St Nicholas and St James or a hamlet standing in solitary splendour.

This year, the Ramblers’ Association will be furthering its global aspiration in promoting international understanding through rambling when overseas groups will join the local clan in their pursuits.

For more information contact the Ramblers’ Association at

Mr Bugeja is honorary president of the Ramblers’ Association of Malta.

A silo pit in a Bronze Age settlement (c.800BC) in the limits of Ta’ Żuta. Photo: J.M. Falzon

The majestic cliffs along the northwest coast of the Maltese islands Photo: Romano Cassar

The pyramidal orchid, arguably the queen of the rich Maltese flora. Photo: Annalise Falzon

The secluded and inaccessible bay of Fomm ir-Riħ limits of Baħrija. Photo: Romano Cassar

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