In its spring program, the Malta Randonneurs Association intends to celebrate the worthy initiative of the Friends of the Victoria Lines Trail. Their mission is to advance the existing path but abandoned along the Lines to the rank of national path. They are working hard with central authorities, local councils and NGOs to improve the trail with the aim of giving it the designation that suits its importance as a counterpart of a national monument.
The Victoria Lines were created and promoted by two successive powers of regional influence during their time – the Knights of St. John and the British Empire. They were interpreted as a defensive wall to protect the island to a beneficial formation through a natural fault from coast to coast.
The wall was completed with a defender path behind it, just as the canals in the UK were supplemented by the workhorse towpath to pull barges. Today the towpaths are part of the UK’s protected national heritage and have been transformed into excellent scenic walking trails along the canals for all to enjoy. What should prevent us from protecting the defenders’ path along the Lines, which also offers excellent panoramic views over land and sea, for everyone to enjoy?
The authorities have publicly decided to restore the lines where the walls collapsed. It will not be enough if they do not bring life to them by enticing the public to visit the Lines by providing easy access to the path above them. Once the path becomes a quality east-to-west trail, with easy access and obstacles such as gates and other gear removed, the lines will attract locals to walk around and become a certain tourist attraction in themselves. .
The lines will attract locals to take scenic walks and become a tourist attraction in itself
The Walkers Association has just launched its walking program for Spring 2018, from April to June, with exciting walks through the Maltese countryside and coastal areas, as well as interesting cultural tours showcasing our rich heritage of fine arts and architecture. It includes the first walk along part of the Victoria lines.
The association’s website below gives all the details of each scheduled ride, and everyone is invited to join the ride of their choice. All one has to do is be at the starting point at the set time of the relative walk, and join the fun. In case of difficulty call 9949 7080 or 7733 2433.
Wednesday April 4 at 2 p.m .: St Thomas and Munxar Bay – a scenic hike along the perimeter of the Munxar promontory and inland through a maze of old lanes, lasting approximately three hours. This easy walk begins at the St Thomas Bay parking lot.
Sunday April 8 at 9 am: Wied il-Qlejgħa and the picturesque hamlets of Gomerino and Għemieri – a moderately difficult walk over rough terrain lasting around four hours, starting from the Busugrilla roundabout.
Sunday April 15: Via the Victoria lines between Għargħur and Madliena – at Wied il-Faħam, Wied id-Dies and Wied Anġlu, the lines bottom out and then rise to the “Top of the World”, offering marvelous landscapes and seascapes. The walk starts at Għarghur Parish Church at 9am and is moderately difficult.
Wednesday April 18 at 2 p.m .: From Msida Church, the hike takes popular walks and continues along smooth trails on a coastal garigue with sea views and salty scent. It will be an easy walk of about three hours, ideal for beginners.
Sunday April 22 at 9 a.m.: From Għar Lapsi to Għar Niffed – a walk of about four hours over rough terrain, slippery slopes and along cliffs, reserved for seasoned hikers. Starts at Għar Lapsi.
Saturday April 28: A moderate walk in Gozo of about four hours from the Mġarr marine terminal at 9am. The Island of Hills challenges difficult walkers up and down its hilly surface. This is the only Saturday walk on the program.
Alex Vella is Executive Director of the Ramblers Association of Malta.
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