The eagle-eyed may have noticed a change to the sub-title of this blog. “The British Isles” has been changed to “Britain & Malta” since we are now, of course, living in Malta.
My very first walk on the island was an inland one, from our home in the village of Rabat to the town of Mosta with its famous domed church. The route was not direct, but first curved round the Mtarfa ridge then down the Fiddien valley, by Chadwick Lakes and L’Isperanza gorge. This was a total distance of 7.25Km (yes we are fully metric now! – we’ve even set the satnav on metric distances.)
It was a beautiful, sunny spring morning and, after leaving Rabat, I hardly met a soul on the whole journey until climbing out of L-Isperanza valley into Mosta.
The beginning of the walk, through Rabat, reinforced the correctness of our decision to live in a true Maltese village, away from the main tourist trail – although I did encounter a few early bird tourists as I passed St Paul’s Church and the grotto where he is said to have lived during his sojourn in Malta.
Chadwick Lakes, in the Wied Tal-Qlejgha, are not actually lakes but a series of surface-water catchments designed by the great Victorian sanitary engineer, Osbert Chadwick. They are no longer in use but serve as a habitat for wildlife and also as a favourite Sunday afternoon recreation area for the Maltese community.
The last third of the walk was through the Wied L-Isperanza (Valley of Hope) a dramatic off-road approach to Mosta. It was quite overgrown and the walking was tedious at times although not difficult. The valley is the scene of a famous Maltese legend about a young, terrified Mosta girl who was fleeing up the valley from invading corsairs.
She hid herself in a cave, praying to Our Lady for help. A spider finished spinning its web across the opening of the cave resulting in the pirates not bothering to check inside. The site of the cave is now a grotto (see photo-journey) over which was built the baroque Chapel of Our Lady of Hope in 1760.
On arriving in Mosta I settled on a bench to devour a well-earned banana when I saw that my bus was about to leave! Hence no photo of the bus until after my arrival back in Rabat.
This was a great start to what I hope will be many enjoyable walks on the Island. See the photo-journey which has explanatory captions.