Borġ in-Nadur, Wied Żembaq and Wied Qoton

This Harrison Lewis walk was led by Barbara. Although we started by the sea at St George’s bay, Birżebbuġa this was a country walk exploring the quiet valleys of Wied Żembaq (“Jasmine Valley”) and Wied Qoton (“Cotton Valley”.

St Georges Bay, Birżebbuġa, the start of the walk.

The Cross at Borġ in-Nadur

Our first point of interest was the site of the Bronze Age Village at Borġ in-Nadur. This is also the site of a series of visions of the Virgin Mary reported by Angelik Caruana, a resident of Birżebbuġa, from 2005 onwards. Religious meetings are regularly held at this spot.

The view from the Bronze Age village.

The smooth limestone path leading up the edge of Wied Żembaq

Further up Wied Żembaq lie the ruins of a large country house, known as ‘Casa Ippolito’. It was built in 1664 by the Sicilian Baron Ippolito Novantieri who was married to a Maltese lady. The history of the house is the subject of several myths and legends which have been handed down over the generations.

Interior ceiling of the ruined Casa Ippolito

It was a beautiful morning, if a little too hot towards the end, and the landscape, full of wild flowers, was magical.

A typical field of wildflowers

All of today’s pictures were taken using my new toy – the iPhone 4S.

An abundance of poppies.

There are several other ancient sites in this area which is well worth exploring further.

Malta Circumnavigation Day 9: Ġnejna Bay to Ras il-Qammieħ

This was a remarkable leg of the circumnavigation, for several reasons. It was the longest of the walks so far, approximately 5 hours and 19km in length and contained by far the most strenuous section I have completed. More photographs were taken than on any other part. It included the sparse clifftops of the far Northwest of the Island and overall was one of the best walks of the whole journey.


The clay slopes at Il-Karraba

Having given up on the section between Ġnejna and Għajn Tuffieħa at the end of the last section, I was determined to persist and complete this part by the “low route”, keeping as close to the water as possible. In the event I was glad that I went this way, for two reasons. Firstly, it’s a very interesting section of coastline and secondly, it confirmed that I should never take friends by this route – it’s simply too tough. In particular the scramble up the clay slopes by Il-Karraba is steep and crumbly underfoot. I needed to use a trekking pole (fully collapsed) and dig it in for every two steps taken – just like ice-axe technique! By the time I reached the top my legs felt like jelly.  This was followed by an immediate steep descent to the lovely Għajn Tuffieħa beach only to climb straight back up the long series of steps to the top. Only 45 minutes into to the longest section and I was feeling completely exhausted!

Ras il-Wahx

Recovery was relatively quick and after a brief visit to the Għajn Tuffieħa knight’s tower, I headed on into the Il-Majjistral nature and history park and the cliff top of Ras il-Waħx (“Ogre’s Head”).

Distant Ras il-Qammieħ from below Għajn Żnuber tower

Carrying on along the magnificent coastline, I eventually arrived at the controversial Għajn Żnuber (“Pine Tree Spring”) “tower”. This was almost certainly not built by the Knights of St John but was perhaps an observation station or hunting turret dating from the 18th or even a late as the 19th Century.

Anchor Bay and Popeye Village

At Anchor Bay we find the delightfully incongruous “Popeye Village”, originally the set for the 1980 Robin Williams version of Popeye which failed at the box office but has left the legacy of a popular children’s destination in Malta.

Gozo Channel, Comino and a glimpse of the Blue Lagoon

After more desolate but stunning coastline I eventually arrived at the day’s destination, the rather alarmingly named Ras il-Qammieħ (“Jumper’s Head”) with dramatic views across the Gozo Channel, to Comino and Gozo. We are now on the Marfa Ridge, the most Northerly of  the  succession of EW ridges which span this part of Malta. The end of a great walk which will no doubt become a favourite, like Wied iż-Żurrieq to Għar Lapsi, to be repeated many times. For a full account of this walk see the captions on the photo journey.