Origins of the Ramblers’ Association of Malta
The Ramblers Association of Malta (RAM) was set up in February 2005 on the initiative of Lino Bugeja, who had long led a one-man campaign in the press against whole swathes of countryside and a good number of country paths and lanes being closed off little by little by means of gates, fences and those ubiquitous signs claiming “RTO” or suchlike. The initial meeting to set up the association held at the Din l-Art Helwa premises in Valletta attracted a turnout of around 300 persons eager to share their experiences and do something positive to reclaim the countryside for the benefit of all. An ad-hoc committee was set up to start the ball rolling in preparation for the first general meeting held in October last year. Once again the public responded positively to this meeting and a committee was elected to serve for two years with the energetic Lino Bugeja being reconfirmed as President of the Association.
It was felt from the start that members were clamouring for activities and these duly kicked off with a visit in November to the little known prehistoric site of Misqa where Dr.Louis Vella (himself a committee member) explained his theories and findings on this rather mysterious site. More walks followed – some just for the fun of rambling per se, others with a historical flavour – among the latter, one can mention the visit to the Bronze Age village site at Bahrija – ably illustrated by Professor Anthony Bonanno and very well attended despite a very heavy and lengthy downpour just when the ramble was about to start. Clearly inclement weather does not dishearten hardcore ramblers! Encouraged by such positive response RAM has now embarked on a program of walks which cover up to the end of June. The program included a first – a three day rambling event in Gozo which was fully booked almost from the word go.
Despite its successful and well-subscribed walks program RAM has not rested on its laurels. The Association has not lost sight of its principal aim of making the countryside accessible for all and has made representations with politicians and relevant authorities on this matter. It is also constantly vigilant about new abuses and closures and reports regularly to the authorities on such misdemeanours. Although in its infancy as an NGO, Ramblers has also made a very strong objection to the proposed Ta Cenc development and members of its committee regularly interact with other NGO’s in an effort to safeguard our natural and cultural heritage.
If you think it’s time you started discovering the beauty of your country, enjoy participating in group walks or perhaps just want to lend your support to this initiative, then becoming a member of RAM is for you. Well over three hundred people have already do so every year.