Testimonies

Here are some of the comments we have received in our mail bag. It’s always great to hear from you so keep ’em coming and let us know if you want your name to remain anon. Remember you may use the comment form on this website to contact us.

Anonymous
I was reading the Times on-line when I came across the article about Ramblers in Malta. What a wonderful surprise! I was born and raised in Malta where hiking was one of my passions. I hope to resettle there in the not-too-distant future after having lived over 35 years in the states. One of the things on my to-do list will be definitely be to join your group. Keep up the good work!

Astrid V
I would like to congratulate all who contributed to the writing of this newsletter.

Prosit, very well put! Keep it up,

Anton A
Nixtieq nuri lill-President u l-kumitat ta l-Assocjazzjoni tieghek kemm apprezzajt l-ittra ta? rikonoxximent li ghogobkom tibghatuli, dwar il-mixja ma? tul il-Kottonera Lines.

Min-naha tieghi inhossni grat hafna li ghaziltu dinix-xaqliba tal-Birgu ghall-mixja taghkom, ghax il-membri dehru li hadu interess mhux ftit. Dan ikompli jghin fir-rijabilitazzjoni ta? din ix-xaqliba li, sa ftit taz-zmien ilu, kienet xi ftit injorata.

Inwieghedek kull ghajnuna, min-naha tieghi, li s-Socjeta Storiko-Kulturali tal-Birgu tista tkun mitluba taghti lill-Assocjazzjoni tieghek fil-gejjieni.

John D
I have just read the internet edition of The Malta Times of Friday 28th May and was delighted to see the Article published ?Ramblers Forge On Regardless?. The inclusion being in the ?News Section?. Excellent! Well written & delightful photo too. The content is positive and RAM is unquestionably gaining in stature and progress with each article & letter I read. Incidentally, I must not forget to say, we also read the recently reported Meeting with Government Minister/s which is most encouraging and you are definitely continuing to focus the minds of the public & Government and also remaining upbeat and professional & getting results.

Christiane S
Well done for such a brilliant and informative website! We will be joining Ramblers in their quest to safeguard Malta’s beautiful countryside. Will send in membership form shortly.

Lenie R ( Netherlands )
I follow my impulse and congratulate RAM with the outcome of the talk with the minister on Munxar! It was interesting to read also, that Ras ir-Raheb officially is open to the public, as I never felt sure about the situation, so I dropped the archaeology site from my programme for my (small) archaeological groups. The eastside of Malta, I dropped from my walking-programms because of the the situation along the path of Xrobb-l’Ghagin (parallel to the former site of the Deutsche Welle), because of the shocking and aggressive presence (cages and rifles) of the bird-catchers along that scenic, archaeologically interesting path. Each time I am in Malta, I discover, purely for my own enjoyment and relaxation some new paths. Last April, this was the footpath into Rdum Il-Kbir from San Blas, Gozo. Scenery and vegetation are most unique. It would have the rank and value of a nature park (and be protected!). As it now, the path ends at 2 hunter’s huts. Just wanted to point the beauty of it out, Thanks for your good work, it raises hopes, Lenie Reedijk Netherlands

Charles V
Ili hafna biex insib kif se nifrahlek ghall-kuragg u d-determinazzjoni li wrejt u ghadek qed turi. Issa rajt l-email address fit-times u ktibtu . Prosit u prosit !

Jien minn dejjem inhobb nimxi – wahdi l-izjed .

Ghidli x’irrid naghmel biex nidhol membru . Fis-shana tas-sajf innaqqas hafna mill-mixi fit-tul . Pero xorta rrid insir membru minn issa, please.

Jekk hemm kif nista’ nghinkom, nipprova – ittri u artikli fil-gazzetti , xoghol bil-kompjuter , perezempju . Araw inthom.

Bertus Z
Dear Alex,

Sterling work done with Munxar and the Meeting. Prosit!

Keep the pressure on.

Arthur B
I would like to thank you for the pleasant walk we had on the 10th of May at Bahrija, this was my first walk with you which I really enjoyed. I am looking for ward for next Sunday’s walk at Fomm ir-Rih.

Saviour P
Many thanks for your reply. Wishing you and the Association all the best in your endeavours to promote this wonderful activity in all freedom. Hoping to join you in the not too distant future.

Karen B
These are some photos I took at the Bahrija walk. They are nothing special but I though that you might be interested. The walk was a great experience. Keep up the fantastic work you are doing. I will definitely recommend my friends to join this Association.

Josie H
Mgarr-MostaTwo of our walks – Mgarr to Mosta and Ghajn Tuffieha to Paradise Bay; were spoilt only by the numerous gun wielding hunters shooting their guns all over the place – they were everywhere and it was a bit scary and intimidating walking along with all the shooting going on. Are there any restrictions as to how close to footpaths they may get? It was quite sad to see several injured birds along the way that had been shot but not killed.

Our sincere thanks to Lino Bugeja who took the trouble to meet us at Birgu on Monday 24th April to give us some background/history of Birgu. The gesture was greatly appreciated and I hope that we may one day be able to reciprocate.

Michael H
Just a quickie to say how much I enjoyed your Wied Incita walk and also Alex’s walk around Mosta. Both fed ideas for other walks and also got me interested in leading a small informal walking holiday back here later in the autumn. So you may see more of me. Meantime if you or your friends are in Sussex and would like to see some nice rambling country do get in touch.

Many thanks for sending me a copy of the latest Newsletter and programme of walks for December.

As previously discussed with Alex, my husband and I live in the UK but go to Malta 2 to 3 times a year. We are members of the Ramblers UK and we do a lot of walking in the UK, other countries including Malta while we are there. We are finding some wonderful walks in Malta and we love to discover the countless places of both historical and geographical interest.

We have just returned to the UK after spending two weeks in Malta. One of the walks we undertook was part of the Victoria Lines – from Bingemma to Mosta. Absolutely wonderful. What was most disappointing was the constant shooting going on around us and the hundreds of spent cartridges lying around. You are made to feel quite vulnerable walking along the way. Apart from ignoring the numerous notices posted along the walk that shooting is prohibited, the shooters do not have the decency to leave the area clean by taking their rubbish with them. They also cause quite a bit of damage building hidey holes by knocking down part of the Lines etc.

Another concerning issue we find is that it appears that anyone can paint the letters RTO wherever they wish to suit their intentions, denying countryside lovers legitimate access to paths/locations. One example of this is at Ghajn Tuffieha where we wanted to walk along the top from the smaller bay to Lippia Tower. Access to the path leading us to the tower as indicated both on the ground and on the map is denied as RTO has been painted on every part of the wall where we could gain access to the path. With all the shooting going on and the bird trappers hurling abuse and foul language at us, we do not take the risk of ignoring the RTOs. We had to abandon that particular walk and back trek to Ghajn Tuffieha and got the bus to Mgarr instead.

Is there any way that we can verify if an RTO is legitimate or not??

We are booked to come to Malta in April next year. Six of our walking friends from across the UK are also coming with us for a week’s walking in Malta. My husband is planning and leading all the walks. We would like to include the whole of the Victoria Lines (in one walk) in our programme but we have been unsuccessful in finding a detailed route of the Lines from East to West.

We would be most grateful if you could let us have instructions of the walk from beginning to end or details of any book that may contain them.

Many thanks in anticipation of your kind help.

Josie H., Bristol
Dear Committee Members,

It is indeed most encouraging to see so much excellent correspondence and also Editorial comment in the Maltese Newspapers, for example, the Sat 19th Nov “When Politicians Take The Rap” and also letters published in The Times (of Malta) written by the President Mr Lino Bugeja; the Secretary Mr Alex Vella; Mr Theodore Sammut; Mr Frank Spiteri.

I tend to restrict myself to the Malta Times ‘Online version'(lack of time to also read the Independant) owing to being UK residents and of course inevitably, I may have missed reading everyday so please forgive if I have failed to read and hence omitted to acknowledge anyone’s name above. Your perseverance and publicity drive is admired; it takes dedication, time & commitment, to effect change, and especially to shift opinion in Malta, where changes, even for the best reasons, tend to be slowly achieved and after much effort (I hope I don’t offend with such comments! & certainly UK can definitely be similarly tainted!)

Allow me to refer to “The Rambling Potential” (The Times, Fri 14th Oct) in which a number of telling points were made in a clear & compelling manner by Mr Bugeja – indeed I am flattered to see you were kind enough to include in the above published letter, a quotation (from an overseas supporter, me..) from an earlier letter I sent to the Association. I am delighted.

All of your published letters are extremely well constructed, and persuasive, with sensible yet attention grabbing remarks made & conclusions drawn but especially the reader is left with the strong feeling of a real opportunity which is rightfully there on the horizon, if justice is to be achieved for Maltese residents now and not to be lost to future generations. There must always be a temptation for ‘some people’ to try and capture or ensnare/fence off a sliver of land here or a track there, for their own benefit, irrespective of the good of the general population. Perhaps only human nature ; but what is undeniably wrong, is surely for those in authority to turn a blind eye. Such inaction is not equitable, it is unprofessional and has a way of returning to haunt the lethargic.

An injustice, done by the perverse few, to hold a loaded pistol at the many? Highway robbery by a landgrabber is not a pretty sight.

Political Will, can be an intransigent & volatile companion.

Our forthcoming Visit to the Islands, next month, will be accompanied with anxiety, if our steps lead away from the commercial shopping district of Republic Street (but only briefly so as not to disappoint business owners!) and venture into the countryside, especially in the absence of ‘rights of way’.

We are encouraged whenever we see your correspondence in the Press and although we are persuaded it will be a long struggle, clearly, you have the stomach for the inevitable setbacks and your enthusiasm shows you will be steadfast in your resolve.

The comprehensively detailed May Newsletter prepared by Mr Vella, is a first class example of excellently formulated content, allied to precise layout and good sense in every line. Professionalism gleams throughout.

Although my wife & I have visited Malta for many years, we are obviously beginners in the understanding of your culture & traditions and my remarks are quite likely to be conclusions not shared by your good-selves, as such, please forgive any of the following inaccuracies:

Population in Malta tends to be concentrated closely together, with isolated or detached homes being less numerous. To my mind these circumstances would encourage citizens to really appreciate their own, wild, isolated, dramatic and individual countryside. Older folks tend to be set in their ways, but not all and it is the youngsters who need to be taught/encouraged to protect and value the natural areas which remain. Obviously I’m speaking as a non-expert and committee members will have a far broader intimate knowledge.

My wife & I are not members of any UK Rambling Assn., are early retired and tend to take short, leisurely walks. Far, far less strenuous than the rambles made by Committee Members?who are doubtless experienced and much travelled Ramblers. My point is that many holidaymakers to Malta are probably of a similar persuasion to my own (wishing to take a ramble of an hour or two) but there is ‘room’ for both the experienced or the novice. Of course other potential holiday visitors to the Republic will be experienced ramblers and if circumstances were different, would surely come to fulfil their need for a fuller or more intensive walking holiday, and as you have rightly said on a number of occasions, when the circumstances are right, the tourist product will be enhanced (ie increased wealth creation) with the knowledge that people both Maltese and tourists, who love the countryside, are those that also respect its fragility and are responsible enough to want it to remain unspoilt, wild and beautiful.

We also visit the Island of Madeira and instantly you will know I’m going to refer to the Levada walks. Yes they are outstanding but so are many, many locations in MALTA, yes different and in their own way & a splendid contrast, that is good. Not all tourists want to sit round the hotel pool or endlessly buy postcards; apologies to the entrepreneurs who may be reading! There is a time and place for all and I suspect the seasonal heat would make outdoor walking more arduous in peak summer (I must be careful here as I have no knowledge of peak season, nor the cicada!) whereas the Winter & Spring are more refreshing for an invigorating walk, cooler, to enjoy the wild grasses & delicate beautiful wild flowers, the wind in your hair and timeless traditional views of the horizon.

I am submitting this note, merely as feedback, as I appreciate it is helpful to receive comments from supporters.

My Best Wishes to you All.
John & Valerie

Kim W
My experiences to date of walking in Malta and Gozo are blighted with instances of reaching signs on fences and walls proclaiming land as private with RTO as an additional warning.

I’d love to know where I can and can’t actually tread without getting a volley of abuse from a weekend farmer or worse, a hunter or trapper.

Noel A
My husband and I were very pleased to hear about it as we thought it would make certain areas of the Maltese countryside accessible to us and also to tourists without fearing that someone would come up with a shotgun in hand demanding why we’re on his property. This has happened to us in the past and now we avoid such risks as we have our children to consider.

Franco C
I am Maltese but live in Gibraltar and follow Malta news online. I have always been interested in rambling and do some here in Spain. Pleased to see what you are organising as it is much needed and long overdue. It is also an important countermeasure to hunting and the liberties taken there.

Stephen G
Proset ta’ l-inizjattiva. Jien dilettant kbir tal-mixi (u mountain biking) fil kampanja u mxebba’ sa mniehri bl-attitudini ta’ dawk li jaghmlu l-art taghhom u li jippretendu li l-kampanja tgawdiha mit-triq. Nemmen li flimkien nistghu naghmlu differenza kbira.

The paces
I fully agree and give my full support.

I am irked at the way the countryside has been taken over, and building coming up everywhere, not knowing if it is legal or not.

When I was a child we used to go for country walks, but today I do not dare take my children because everywhere has been taken over by hunters.

Hunters associations have even cleaned places, which is good, but this only for their enjoyment. If I am not mistaken in Bahrija there are signs telling passers-by that the countryside is better appreciated from the road .so that hunters may enjoy it.

Joe M
I live abroad and I have been watching your progress so far. I have despatched the news article to all of my address book to people who love rambling in Malta and live in the UK. This will be sensational news for them and I am sure that they will circulate the info. It will be a great idea if you will design a website, so that all those interested will log on. I have suffered many incidents myself when I used to go for walks all over the islands, and at one time I was threatened. But thanks to you and your vigorous stamina this will be put to a stop.

Thanks for your work and thanks to you I will now enjoy my favourite healthy pastime when I return to Malta for long winter holidays.

Evarist B
Prosit tal-inizjattiva favur id-drittijiet ta’dawk li jiehdu gost jimxu fil-kampanja fejn nista’nghin ghidli; awguri ta’ success

Liliana S
It would be really great to finally have pathways along the Maltese countryside and be able to walk and enjoy the Mediterranean nature without having any fears of being shot at by some hunter!

Every time we come back to Malta we enjoy going for walks I still have it in my mind to walk all around Malta. You will find that there are many tourists who would be interested to come to Malta to enjoy walking. I would certainly have my friends here in Holland join me.

Brenda P
We returned to the UK last week after our regular winter holiday in Malta, where we enjoyed some great walks. We love the countryside and the wild places and wis you every success in your venture.

As guests in the country we are keen not to encroach on residents’ privacy, so it would be helpful to have public access ways clearly marked, and clearer maps. We did notice rather ambiguous signing in some areas .There must be many visitors, casual walkers as ourselves, especially in winter and spring, who will support your endeavours.

Patrick A
I have read with great interest the setting up of a Ramblers association. I am keen to join the organisation and give a helping hand in whatever is necessary. It is a disgrace that all paths leading down to Dingli cliffs have RTOs, or that one cannot do a round-the-coast walk around Gozo. And spring has not started yet within a couple of weeks trapping season starts and it will be a nightmare to walk anywhere round the countryside.

Andrew G
First and foremost I would like to congratulate you for setting the Ramblers’ Association. Such associations exist all over the civilized world and so at long last Malta too will start to benefit from such activities.

Not only is trekking a good form of exercise and another means of socialising but it will help educate us with regard to our own heritage and should hopefully also safeguard our ever-so-less accessible countryside. The Ministry of Tourism should also back you up as such activities would attract the like of ramblers from other countries.

I was brought up to respect nature and the environment and like many others I at times have been scared off by hunters while simply enjoying a walk, having a picnic and on one occasion flying a kite with my young daughter. It has always frustrated me that I had no means to check whether the land actually belongs to the hunters and why so much land was owned by them making it impossible to go anywhere.

William B
I am a regular visitor to Malta and one of my pastimes is rambling. I am aware of some of the problems in doing this freely in Malta. I would willingly join a Maltese Ramblers’ Association

Josephine L
I would like you to know how much we support your campaign for access to Malta’s open spaces. For long a few selfish hunters(?) have sequestered the Malta countryside with red paint and illegal signs. And why is there no access along the length of the Dwejra Victoria Lines, on of the best walks in Malta. It is quite scandalous. Not just for the Maltese but for the tourists who enable Malta to survive.

The find there is nowhere to them to walk without being sworn at and threatened. It has been a long time one of the major scandals of life in Malta. Congratulations on your movement. We truly hope you are successful. Footpath networks, such as those that are available in England, must be established. The coastline and the natural landscape belong to the people and not to a few egoists.

Tony M
Having family in Malta I am frequently on the Island for holidays with my family, and like everybody else I deplore the proliferation of no entry signs almost everywhere worth walking in, as well as all the barking dogs and rifle-welding hunters. My last visit was at Christmas and we managed a couple of decent hikes but only by braving the afore-mentioned obstacles.

JM D
Our own interest stems from the annual visits we have been taking in Malta for the last 10+ years. It is usual for us to take a walk in the countryside during our stay but you will not be surprised to learn that on occasions, the rambles we have taken are less than comfortable. Indeed.

Steven B
I realise it will be very difficult to cut through the red tape with the various government quangos involved I have in fact at times queried with MEPA on the subject and all I get is wishy-washy answers so in the meantime my philosophy has remained (unfortunately) trespass with care and may the Lord forgive my trespasses.

Jessica M
I would like to congratulate for your hard work and for setting up the Ramblers’ Association in Malta. I am a long time visitor to Malta (my second home) and I am one of the people that just loves going for country walks. However I noticed that every year public land seems to be getting less and less accessible. Quite a frustrating situation.