Rabat to Mosta Dome via Chadwick Lakes

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.

Triq Iz-Zondadari, Rabat

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.

Spring water levels in Chadwick Lakes

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.

L-Isperanza Gorge

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.

Worcestershire Beacon – at last.

When we first moved to Worcester in October 2009, I expected that I would pop up Worcestershire Beacon, the highest point in the county, within a couple of weeks. Well here we are in July 2010 and somehow it hasn’t happened – until today that is.

It’s been a very busy month but I didn’t want to get to the end of it without putting in at least one walk. So despite the rather dull and cloudy conditions I set off at 10:00am this morning.

I chose a slightly less-travelled way by starting from Earnslaw quarry, just off the B4218 Wyche Road between Great Malvern and Colwall. I didn’t meet a soul until gaining the ridge which was beginning to get busy along the tarmac path.

I avoided the tarmac all the way up but came down it to the main road, along which I returned to the car.

Not a day for views as the visibility into the distance was poor, so no sight of the Brecons today. I’ll be back!

See the photo-journey. Don’t forget to read the captions!

A Brief Visit to the Clent Hills

A beautiful sunny June morning and ideal for walking.  Unfortunately I have a rather tender Achilles tendon at the moment (not from walking, I hasten to add, but from running to catch a train) so we chose to pay our first visit to the Clent Hills. These lie to the South West of Birmingham, quite close to a large urban area. There were a few people about on a Thursday morning in June but we didn’t find it too overcrowded.

We parked as high as we could get, at the National Trust car park by the Nimmings Visitor Centre. (OS Explorer 219, SO 938807). Jaqui was able to make it up the gently sloping path to The Four Stones at the summit of Clent Hill. We followed this route given in a National Trust guide.

The views to the East (towards Birmingham), North and West are magnificent.

Afterwards we had a pleasant lunch at The Fountain, where we ate outside in what seemed like a Mediterranean climate.