October News & Annual Trekking Itinerary [Updated]

We’re in the last quarter of 2022 and looking forward to a fresh annual itinerary of local and overseas walks.

Current News

As I type this some of us are walking the 3-day Round Gozo trek (1st – 3rd October 2022) on behalf of Hospice Gozo. We are grateful that the Hospice foundation have asked us to lead this them and also grateful for Don Pace and John Darmanin who agreed to lead this trek. We’re grateful also for XirCammini members who have participated in this and other Hospice events this weekend. Let us keep supporting them in their very worthy cause.

We are also overwhelmed by the support that we have received by Regjun Punent, the regional association of local councils of the western region in Malta when walking the western region of the Universal Peace Walk on 16th September 2022. We will be walking the full Universal Peace walk in November 2022. In the meantime work on the signs continues. I also wish to thank Fr. Walter Vassallo ofm who is working on an app of the Universal Pleace Walk 1543AD. We hope to release this before the end of the year.

A special thanks also to Mark Mifsud for helping with finalising the accounts of XirCammini.

Oct 2022 – Sept 2023 Annual Itinerary

We are pleased to present you with the annual calendar of trekking. This has over 60 trekking activities, 9 of which overseas. More information on the overseas trekking events will follow in due course. We may also add a few more overseas treks or caminos as we further gauge members’ interest. With a few exceptions, we are streamlining our local walks to our customary Wednesday evening (19:00) walk and to Saturday afternoon (14:00). We have also included a few social events since these have gone down well in the past.

The overseas activites are:

  1. Trekking Fra le Vigne – Tenuta Regaliali & Palermo, Sicily (February, 2023)
  2. Camino Portungues (Mar/April 2023) from Porto to Santiago de Compostela
  3. Camino Portugues (April 2023) from Tui to Santiago de Compostela
  4. Pantelleria, (Early to mid-May 2023)
  5. Cammino di San Francesco from La Verna to Assisi (May/June 2023)
  6. Pollino and Sila, Italy – Trekking, Kayaking and Rafting (Jun/Jul 2023)
  7. Tochar Phadraig (St. Patrick’s Camino) and other Irish Walks, (Aug 2023), Ireland.
  8. Transumanza, Abbruzzo, Italy (Sept 2023)
  9. Camino de San Salvador from Leon to Oviedo, Spain (Sept 2023).

In Malta, in addition to the Official Launch of the Universal Peace Walk 1543AD (on its 480th anniversary) we will also walk the Victoria Lines again and also introduce a “Round Malta” over 3 Days. These local trekking events will be subject to prior booking since we would need to cater for transport and/or accommodation.

This is the updated full itinerary on pdf for you to download:

Onward and Upward

In the few years since registering XirCammini as a Voluntary Organisation we have come a relatively long way … and the road ahead is even longer and more exciting!

Introduction

From the original group (of less than 20) that walked the Camino Primitivo in May of 2018, XirCammini has grown to over 200 registered and paid-up members and a wider social media network of the XirCammini Community on Facebook of over 1,200.

We immediately started forging relations with like-minded, mainly, Camino and hiking organisations in Europe and also rolled out a robust itinerary of local and overseas trekking activities. In time we also became recognised as the local organisation representing the International Federation of Associations of the Way (of St James). As representatives of the Friends of the Way, XirCammini also provides Credencials and practical advice on various Caminos to all who request assistance prior to embarking on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. We do not profess to know it all. We are pilgrims helping fellow pilgrims on the journey.

In addition to pursuing Caminos in Spain, XirCammini was also the first international organisation to field groups walking all five Celtic Irish Caminos (61 Maltese walked the irish Caminos in 2019) and also the first international group to walk the Cammino di San Giacomo in Sicilia in 2021. Since founding the organisation we have walked, scouted or led trekking teams in Ireland, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Sri Lanka. Close to 200 people have joined us overseas on trekking experiences since 2019.

Committed to also putting Malta on the European map of faith-based heritage walks we started working on re-launching the pilgrimage of St. Gregory fromCitta Notabile ( Mdina) to “le terre di Santa Caterina (Zejtun) as mandated by Bishop Cubelles in 1543. Pro Pace Universali, or the Universal Peace walk 1543AD was again walked by XirCammini members on its anniversary date in March 2022 and shortly be available with waymarks as a self guided walk.

On the social well-being and charity front, it has become a Christmas tradition of ours to help inner-harbour families by collecting and donating shopping hampers during December. We have also assited other causes by leading charity / fund raising walks. We are grateful that our members participate whole-heartedly i nthese endeavours.

End of 2021-22 Itinerary: Hospice Walk

With only one overseas trek (Isole Eiolie) and two local ones (Selmun Sunset Walk and Universal Peace Walk Western Segment) to go, we will be concluding this trekking itinerary by leading a 3-day Round Gozo Walk in aid of Hospice Malta (money raised by Hospice Malta will go towards building much needed palliative care capabilities in Gozo).

We urge you to join at least one of the 3 events organised by Hospice Malta and to donate.

More information about registration and donating is available here. XirCammini is endeavouring to organise pre and post event transport as well as accommodation in Gozo for those interested in joining the 3-day Round Gozo walk that we are leading for Hospice. By completing our form you will be helping us. We cannot guarantee transport or accommodation for those who do not fill in the form. Please also note that to participate in the actual events you would need to separately register via the Hospice form.

I want to thank John Darmanin and Donald Pace who have offered to lead the walk.

The new 2022/23 Itinerary

I would like to share with you the upcoming local trekking itinerary for October and November 2022. The rest of the itinerary for Dec 2022 – Sept 2023 will follow shortly.

For October and November 2022 the itinerary is as follows. We will stick to the Wed evening and Saturday afternoon formula which worked well for us in the past:

DateCodeMeeting TimeNameLevel(*)Meeting Place
Saturday, 15th OctP16214:00Siggiewi / Tal Providenza Chapel / across valley towards Salib tal Gholja / across the ridge to Gebel Ciantar and the Bronze Age Grain Silos / down to Fawwara / back to SiggiewiModSiggiewi Parish Church
Wednesday, 19th OctP16319:00Birzebbugia /  Dar ta’ Pultu trail / Ta’ Kaccatura water reserovoir/ on towards football ground in Ghaxaq /Triq Telleritu / and back to starting point.EasySt George’s Bay, Birzebbugia (small parking place where boats are kept on land)
Saturday, 22nd OctP16414:00Bahrija / Bingemma/ Dwejra / Wied il-Qleghja /BahrijaModBahrija swings
Wednesday, 26th OctP16519:00Qrendi /Hagar Qim / towards Triq il-Wied / return to Qrendi.Mod.Qrendi Parish church
Saturday, 29th OctP16614:00L-Ahrax tal-Mellieha loopMod.Ghadira parking place, near the public toilets
Wednesday 2nd NovP16719:00Telgha t’Alla u Ommu, Naxxar/Birguma Victoria Lines towards Madliena looping back via GharghurModRoundabout at top of it-Telgha t’Alla u Ommu, Naxxar/Birguma.
Saturday, 5th  NovP16814:00Mgarr / Fomm ir-Rih / Round headland towards Gnejna / up to il-Lippija Tower looping back to Mgarr and Zebbiegh.Mod to hardZebbiegh Parish Church
Wednesday, 9th NovP16919:00Mdina ditch | Mtarfa | Qolla l-Bajda LoopModDomus Romana, Rabat
Saturday, 12th NovP17014:00Manikata Church Carpark / Pwales /Pilgrim Trail / Mizieb Valley / Majjistral / ManikataModManikata Church Carpark
Wednesday, 16th NovP17119:00Siggiewi loopModLimestone Heritage on the Siggiewi By-Pass
Saturday, 19th NovP17214:00Paradise Bay | Fomm Qammiegh LoopModParadise Bay Carpark
Wednesday 23rd NovP17319:00Gnien l-Gharusa tal-Mosta | Wied l-Ghasel, Burmarrad, Salini looping back to MostaModIn front of MCAST, Mosta  (opposite LIDL)
Sunday 27th NovP17408:30Universal Peace Walk 1543AD (28km walk (Registration required)ModCathedral Square, Mdina
Wednesday 30th NovP17519:00Rabat /Wied l-Isqof / Girgenti / Wied Hesri / Zebbug / RabatMod /hardDomus Romana, outside Mdina
Oct | Nov 2022 Local Trekking Itinerary

In respect of our overseas trekking itinerary for 2023, we still have to firm up the dates but can state that we will be having 2 Caminos in Spain over the Lenten and Easter season (March | April 2023) One of these will be the Camino Portugues from Porto (2 weeks), providing also a 1-week option from Tui. In May / June 2023 are endeavouring to run the Camino di San Francesco in Italy. We are actively working on putting in place routing, accommodation and transport requirements. There is already a strong demand for the Tochar Phadraig (Ireland) so we do not rule out walking this again. In September we are actively looking at walking the Camino San Salvador in Spain. We have had requests for other walks but we are still studying them both from an economic viability perspective as well as from a resources perspective since more walks would also require more persons to lead such walks and more resources to plan, organise and manage them.

Conclusion?

I trust the above provides you with a flavour of what lies ahead and we look forward to sharing this wonderful journey with you.

Hospice Gozo Walks, October 2022

Dear All,

Hospice Malta will be organising 3 walks in Gozo and Comino and have asked XirCammini to assist by

  • leading the Round Gozo Walk on Saturday, Sunday and Monday (1st – 3rd October).
  • encouraging our members to join any of the 3 walks.

More information about the walks (and registration) is available on https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=hospice%20gozo%20walks

The 3-day Round Gozo Walk will be lead by John Darmanin and by Donald Pace.

XirCammini is endeavouring to organise for its members that are are interested in the Round Gozo Walk that we are leading (not the other walks) accommodation and pre-post event transport from/to the port. Transport during the event will be organised by volunteers from the Hospice Movement itself.

XirCammini members (and their relatives/friends) interested in joining any of the walks are kindly asked to complete the Hospice Malta registration form (above) and the form below for our internal purposes.

We would like to stress that XirCammini will not be collecting money on behalf of Hospice for the Walks. This needs to be done directly with Hopice following their registration link above. We will however be firming up the contribution amount for accommodation and/or transport for our members completing the form below (the amount would depend on how many would apply as the cost would be shared) and communicating to the respective interested parties:

All walks are organised by Hospice Gozo (not by XirCammini). XirCammini has been tasked with leading the 3-day Round Gozo walk and asked to encourage our members to join any of the above. XirCammini will not be leading the other 2 walks.
Please visit https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfYoIRCFFI317RTPpKd4WYa2wKhewMT1t8TvB-Rl7WYFxFH0w/viewform?fbclid=IwAR2JjYzG9_hfxpaZmIZODz8XysAEphnBIWT5Ne3oajvh-fFR06jxMd9O6gA to register and pay for any of the three events. Registration/payment is directly with Hospice Malta.
We may be able to arrange accommodation for less days (i.e. Sat - Sun or Sun - Mon) but we will not be able to offer other transport options. Needless to say, the above comes at a cost. We'll cost it once we know how many people are interested in transport and/or accommodation.

Members’ News Update (Aug 2022)

Introduction

We are in the midst of our summer overseas trekking experiences with Amalfi, Via Jacobi and the Camino Primitivo behind us and the Tochar Phadriag and Isole Eiolie ahead of us.

Overall it has been a very rewarding experience in terms of friendships and social interaction and well-being, in addition to the obvious benefits of physical exercise.

We also continue to see growth in paid/registered members. This will help support our initiatives, particularly the Universal Peace Walk. We are also experiencing growth in our social media membership which means XirCammini continues to get noticed even internationally.

Local and Overseas Walks (Upcoming)

This is the link to upcoming events locally and overseas.

I wish to reiterate that – unless specifically listed as such – XirCammini events are only open to XirCammini members.

The following table is a summary of the events between now and October. More information will be provided shortly in respect of the Round Gozo where XirCammini has been requested to assist the Hospice Movement. XirCammini members are encouraged to participate and to donate:

Aug – Oct 2022 Itinerary

For those joining us on the Tochar Phadraig (from next weekend) or in the Eiolie Treks (Sept) and who have not yet collected their XirCammini teeshirts (and shells in the case of the Tochar) during the ‘Blessing of the Shells’ event, you still have a chance to do so during the walk of Wednesday 10th August. We hope to see you “Taht it-Tinda” in Buskett from where the walk will start at 19:00. I’ll be there early to distribute the teeshirts and shells. Thanks.

Camino Primitivo

For Tucc and I, the Camino Primitivo holds a special place in our heart.

It was during this Camino in 2018 that we became grandparents for the first time. It is also the Camino in which XirCammini was conceived. This time, 2022, a return to the Camino Primitivo has also provided a new “lamp to our feet and light to our path” in more ways than one. We hope to be able to share more exciting news shortly with members from initiatives started during this Camino.

A Camino is a microcosm of life and therefore not without its challenges, frustrations and heartaches. However this Camino has, above all, blessed us with several, very positive, experiences as we shared the Way with like-minded brothers and sisters.

We were particularly blessed with the often personal, emotionally or spitirually uplifting experiences that hikers shared along the walk.

It also helped reinforce the seminal believe that challenges make the journey more remarkable.

We also want to thank the group for the beautiful gift which, along with the titular icon of St. James painted by Tiziana last year, will be a valuable addition to the XirCammini chapel project when it materialises later on this year.

Tochar Phadraig

A return to County Clare and County Mayo is also one that has been on the books for a while.

We will be blessed with the addition of Irish Pilgrims who will join us on some of our walks.

The Cliffs of Moher, the Abbey, the Reek, the Chapel on Croagh Phadriag, Lough Carra … await us.

Teeshirts and XirCammini branded Outdoor Clothing

We have distributed teeshirts and caps for persons who have joined our overseas walks this year.

Many members have asked whether they can order more teeshirts, caps, gillets, etc. We will be organising a walk and a stop at the store for members to order (and pay in store) so that we submit a bulk order for printing.

More details on this to follow. It is likely to be on a Saturday afternoon in mid-October. We’ll provide a date shortly after confirming with the store an afternoon when they can make themselves available exclusively for us.

Universal Peace Walk Update

Work on the Universal Peace Walk continues. We will shortly be printing emblems and signs that need to be fixed to the waymarks. I will also shortly be contacting those who offered to donate some of their time.

We also had very productive meetings with the local councils at regional level and we will shortly be holding a pilot walk (Mdina to Zurrieq) with representatives of the local councils. The pilot walk will be open to members and non-members in order to further publicise this project. More information about the Universal Peace Walk is available here.

Once launched, we hope that this will be the first of many that brings in more faith tourism to the island and that puts Malta on the cultural hiking map of Europe.

Membership

As stated earlier, all existing memberships have been extended until December, when we will be issuing a renewal notice to all members. Therefore, we ask members not to send in membership fees until we tell you to. Those who have, we will adjust when we issue the notices. Between now and Dec we only expect fees from newly registered members.

Paid up/ registered members are approaching the 250 mark whereas social media members on the XirCammini Facebook community now exceed 1,200. Thank you.

Thank you

I conclude my thanking you all for your continued support. It’s your positive energy that sustains XirCammini. Thank you.

Oakwood Hotel Dinner 14th Aug

Dear All,

Since we are arriving rather late at the hotel on the 14th August, can I please ask you to fill in the menu choices below and submit so that we can have dinner more efficiently organised? This will be less of an issue at the other places . We can choose on the spot in all other places. But, for the 14th it would make everyone’s lives easier if we provide the hotel with our choices beforehand. Vegans an vegetarians I will have to come back to you closer to the date. But this form caters for everyone else. If vegan or vegetarian please still fill in the first part. Thanks:

Those who opt for vegan or vegetarian, please do not complete the choices below. You will have a la carte options. All others please choose a starter and main from below. Thanks.
AGF means available in Gluten Free. Menu descriptions posted on the Tochar Phadraig WhatsApp chat.
AGF means available in Gluen Free. Menu Descriptions posted on the Tochar Phadraig WhatsApp chat.

Lejla fl-Ghalqa

John and Jacqueline Cutajr have kindly invited the Nebrodi Neve (Feb), Amalfi (June) and Tochar Phadraig (Aug) groups to a Lejla fl-Ghalqa on Friday 8th July 2022. We would meet next to the Maqghluba Church and then walk to their field. Timing will be confirmed closer to the date via a WA group that we’ll form.

John and Jacqueline will kindly provide the BBQ set and chicken wings/legs. We will all take care of the rest (both in terms of food/drink and what we eat/drink in/from).

Those who are interested in joining, can you please fill this form as early as practicable, preferably before end of Day Monday 27th June so that we can distribute well and equitably what people are to bring. Looking forward to your replies:

We will let you know the numbers and firm up what to bring as soon as we firm up the numbers. But your indication of what you can bring would be greatly helpful. Thanks.

Eiolie Planning

Please complete the attache form and return by Sunday 26th June so that we can order the teeshirts. Thanks … James & Tucc

Pasta Night

As mentioned in the latest newspiece we are having a Pasta Night on the 15th July after the Blessing of the Shells for the Camino Primitivo and the Tochar Phadraig. Evening mass is generally at 18:30; so the Pasta Night can start by 19:30. The event is open to all XirCammini members, their spouses, partners, friends etc (not just for those embarking on the Caminos). It is an opportunity for us to get to know each other better and to enjoy each others company.

We will also be distributing the Universal Peace Walk certficates on that evening.

Cost is 15 Euros for Pasta and water. Feel free to bring own wine, beer or soft drinks.

To help us manage logisitics and food requirements can you please fill in the form below:

All sauces will be lactose/dairy free.

Trek | Swim | |Travel

Valle delle Ferriere, Amalfi

Updated Itinerary

We are updating the itinerary to include our Q3-2022 events.

These are the upcoming events between the end of June and the end of August 2022 in the run up of the last overseas trek for this summer – Isole Eiolie from the 7th to the 14th of September 2022:

For the trek and swim of the 25th June 2022, we can all bring some fruit, nibbles, wine or soft drinks to share after the trek. We can leave these in the car next to Selmun Palace and – those who wish to hang around afterwards – we can spend some time together after enjoying the trek and swim. Those intending to swim, please bring a drybag so that we attempt to cross to the Gzejjer ta San Pawl jelly fish permitting.

In addition to the above calendar of events, we will still be adding other mid-week evening walks like the ones led by Don and John recently. These will be uploaded by them on the XirCammini Group on Facebook. The next one should be on Thursday 30th June since Wednesday is a feast-day. Check the XirCammini Group on Facebook for more information.

Blessing of the Shells | Overseas Caminos

On Friday 15th July we will be celebrating mass and blessing of the shells for the Camino Primitivo, Spain and the Tochar Phadraig, Ireland. Followinig mass we will have a Pasta Night get-together (more information to follow), This event is open to all XirCammini members and their spouses, partners and friends. We will also be distributing the Universal Peace Walk Certificates during this social evening.

On 18th July some of us will embark on the Camino Primitivo and on the 14th August on the Tochar Phadraig,

Our last overseas trek for the Summer season will be the Isole Eiolie.

Because Life is a Journey: Pillow Talk & Icebergs!

Good morning. A short piece on three topics, hopefully succinctly presented:

Pillow Talk

It seems that less people nowadays understand the value of being able to lay our head on a pillow and sleep without worrying that they have cheated, lied or supplanted their way to money or power. Greed, whether for money or power, is addictive and the proportion at which we’ve seen it grow in recent years in Malta is phenomenal. Maybe there are reasons for it, such as a wholesale societal loss of moral compass (dampened by the ‘outbursts of conscience quenching generosity’ whenever there is national charity campaign) or a wholesale breakdown of in the family unit/values that traditionally (in the words of Mons. J. De Piro) provided,”the cradle of one’s education” (“Give me a child for the first 5 years of his life and he is mine forever,” V. Lenin)

The recipe for a good night sleep – for the benefit of those seem to have lost or conveniently forgotten it – contains just eight ingredients:

  1. Matt 22:37-39: Love your neighbour as yourself. If we truly love and respect ourselves, only then can we love and respect others.
  2. Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” Jim Rohn.
  3. Exodus 20:15, “Do not steal.” There are no shades of grey in this statement. Actions have consequences, if not on us, on others. “It is difficult, but not impossible, to conduct strictly honest business,” Mahatma Ghandi
  4. Fortitude is the guard and support of all other virtues,” John Locke. Intestinal capacity is the cousin of faith when “faith is the assurance of things hoped for and conviction of things unseen.” (Heb 11:1)
  5. And the salt – or main ingredient – of this recipe of “sound sleep” is contentment. “True contentment is not having everything but being satisfied with everything that you have,” Oscar Wilde.

Iceberg Effect

What prompted this piece today? I’m tired of a decade-long tsunami of news involving ministers, members of parliament (across the whole Maltese political spectrum), government /authority officials, business people, ‘persons of trust’ (what does this phrase really mean?) and permeating all echelons of Maltese society that exposes crime (murder, theft, money laundering, trading in influence) and glorifies all that is wrong (greed, self-conceit and populist myopia). This is also often hurtful towards others because actions always have consequences. But we do not seem to care.

What is even more scary is the iceberg effect. Statistically, the persons serving time for their crimes are only the tip of the iceberg. The overwhelming majority of criminals cross our paths and share our path on a daily basis and do so often with an air of inpunity because there ins’t enough evidence or fortitude to convict, or they they have law or justice in their pockets or because they ‘gentrified’ themselves through layers of legal oblivion.

Conclusion: Because Life is a Journey ..

Very often I find it hard to believe Proverbs 21:21, “Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honour.” But, I do not have to, because I believe that our purpose in life is not to seek prosperity and honour. Our purpose in life is to add value. It is to leave the world a better place than we found it. Whoever learns this lesson in hindsight generally learns it too late!

And, in trying to walk the talk I also try to learn from the best,”Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalms 119)

Because life is a journey | keep walking | keep smiling | do good | have faith.