Walk 8 – Dingli Cliffs to Bahrija
A very hairy walk
This walk I did in the wrong order. I didn’t do it straight after walk 7 but I left it out and came back to it. Partly because it sounded very challenging and partly because it was quite remote so I wasn’t sure about how I’d arrange transport. So I’m now going back and completing this missing section of the coastal walk with two walking companions – Sarah and Antonia.
This coast is particularly wild and the walk involves some navigating of a narrow cliff edge path. I was definitely right not do this alone because it ended up being a very hairy walk.
We started off on the road out of Dingli and after a short walk, we arrived at the Mtahleb chapel. This chapel dates back to 1656 and as it’s sitting on edge of a cliff there are beautiful views from here. You can just make out Taco doing a poo at the front of the chapel (don’t worry I picked it up of course).
The countryside is really beautiful around here and it felt very undeveloped compared to the rest of Malta. In fact, it felt very unlike Malta as we looked around.
The highlight and challenge of this walk is the trek down to the bottom of the gorge at Miġra l-Ferħa. After a few false starts as we found the winding downhill road to a small car park at the bottom. From here you can see a dramatic gorge and if you look for them – some very cool steps carved into the rocks that lead right down to the sea.
Amazingly you can get right down to the shoreline. It was quite a narrow gorge and very slippery so it was quite a challenge to get to the end. It felt like we were in Australia or South Africa – not the usual Maltese landscape at all.
A cliff-edge walk
We felt quite daring making it down to the bottom of this slippery gorge. However, there was much more to come! We headed back up the gorge and began to follow the narrow path along the cliff edge. It started off okay and it was breathtakingly beautiful. But as we carried on the path became extremely narrow and close to the cliff edge in several places. I was panicking a bit that Taco was going to be skid off the side so I was holding onto her and learning over away from the edge so as not to lose my balance. Sarah was also looking pretty stressed about the path ahead. We debated on whether we should carry on or turn back.
Antonia was much more relaxed and calmed us down. Anyway, the thought of retracing our steps wasn’t particularly appealing so we pressed ahead. I definitely wouldn’t recommend doing this walk on a windy day.
Eventually, after about 2km we were able to climb down to an open section of rock with salt pans and some rather odd beanbag shaped rocks. This area is known as il-Blata tal-Melh which means Rock Salt. It was such a relief to be on low, flat, wide rock!
We relaxed a bit but not for long as we were now completely unsure of how to get up from this place without having to re-trace the hairy walk along the cliff edge. Then we spied some fishermen. They must have got down here somehow. Antonia bravely tried to edge herself round a very narrow ledge whilst Sarah and I looked away (crazy woman).
Madly consulting the walking book we realised we had walked a bit too far around and eventually we found a narrow stairway carved into the limestone that was described in the guidebook. It was like a godsend! A way out! We didn’t have to do the cliff edge again.
We did, however, have a very steep climb up back towards Bahrija. We made our way inland across some agricultural fields. All was going well until Taco ate something dodgy by the roadside and was sick. She looked really poorly and kept lying down. I wasn’t sure she was going to be able to walk back to the car so I ended up carrying her for a while. Not what I needed at the end of a very steep uphill climb.
Finally, we were on level ground and we walked back to the car which we’d parked at this odd-looking church in Bahrija. At last we were able to relax. Poor Taco was feely a bit sorry for herself for the rest of the day.
This is our walking route – although this does include a section done by car between the start and finishing point (we forgot to turn off the satnav). This walk was amazing and totally different from anything else I’ve seen in Malta. However, I won’t be rushing back! I would recommend doing it but only if you don’t have a fear of heights and only on a good calm day.