Review: Walking on Malta by Paddy Dillon – Published by Cicerone - £14.95

LAST year nearly 40,000 passengers flew from Leeds Bradford International Airport to Malta making it one of the top twenty destinations from West and North Yorkshire for holidaymakers. And whilst most of these will have gone for the sun and the sea, an increasing number go there in the spring and autumn to go walking when the temperatures are ideal in the low to mid-twenties for this type of activity.

I received this book from Cicerone a week or so before we headed off to Malta in October and found it very useful as we undertook two of the thirty three walks whilst we were there. Malta is often classed as Great Britain with the sun as it was a British colony for over 160 years from 1800 to 1964 when it became independent but still retains its membership of the Commonwealth to this day. As a consequence virtually everyone in Malta speaks good English, the road signs are all in English and all transport drives on the left hand side of the road.

Of the thirty three walks in the book, twenty four are on Malta itself, eight are on Gozo the neighbouring island to the north of Malta and one on the smaller island of Comino situated between Malta and Gozo. Eight of the walks are circular with the remainder being linear but in the book Paddy Dillon, who has over seventy walking books to his credit, has included three pages about the public transport system and how easy it is to get from one village or town to another using the local services making it easy to complete the walk and then to return to either the starting point or back to one’s accommodation.

There are also sections about Access, Accommodation, Geology, History, Language, Maps to use, Money, Religion, Weather, Wildlife, plus details about the Ramblers Association of Malta which has now been in existence for just over a decade and who we noticed organise a couple of guided walks each week on the island.

The two walks that we undertook whilst we were in Malta were very clear to follow, highly descriptive of places to see on route and where food and drink is available. This is the same for all of the walks in the book and each one is accompanied by an easy to follow sketch map of the walk. At the end of the book there are four appendixes – Route Summary Table, Useful Contacts, A History of Malta and a Topographical Glossary of Place Names.

The walks range from short two mile walks to a full day’s walk of 11¾ miles with every distance in between. In the Gozo section of eight walks, six of these can be joined together to form a full circumnavigation of the coastline of the island. By joining two of these together each day for a walk of about twelve miles, the whole island can be walked over three days. Likewise the walk on Comino is a five mile circuit of the island that can be completed in a morning or afternoon.

This is a book well worth taking on holiday to Malta as it provides opportunities to see and explore parts of the island that would otherwise be missed as well as giving much additional information about various aspects of island life there.

by John Burland