One of the great things about the sport of climbing is that when practising it, you get to enjoy nature – seacliffs, crags, trees, bushes or just the plain texture of rock against your fingers as you pull up on a hold. Unfortunately, and this is not only a problem in Malta, the experience can be marred by the thoughtless actions of people who think nothing of leaving litter behind them after a picnic, or those who make it a point to drive out to some out of the way location to dump their unwanted sofa, washing machine, mattress and even dead animals (the word “Xaqqa” immediately springs to mind at this point! ). The situation in Malta in general has improved over the years in my opinion, when looking at the streets, towns and villages, maybe as a result of more civic pride or the influence of the local councils? Probably its a combination of those factors combined with decades long environmental awareness campaigns that have definitely raised awareness of related issues. However there are still problems affecting a number of climbing sites, particularly when they are shared with picnickers. One such popular climbing spot which has been used for lots of partying and picnicking is the so-called “Mellieha Cave”. This is a sports climbing crag popular with local climbers because its climbable in all conditions due to its overhanging and protected nature. However, years of partying have left their effect with the cave floor being littered with numerous layers of broken bottles, garbage bags and all kinds of junk! The MCC decided to do something about it, and together with Andrew Galea and Bernard Bonnici
(www.maltaoutdoors.com), Charles Ellul (www.wallrats.net), Mike Caffrey (www.climbinginmalta.com), a good number of members showed up for a day of hard work restoring the cave to a pristine condition. The area beneath the bouldering section was also cleared of small stones to improve the landings. The many bags of rubbish were hauled out of the cave by an electrically operated winch provided by Charles Ellul and taken to the bring-in site at Maghtab.
In addition to the abovementioned, special thanks go to: Stephanie Debono, Sam & Sharon Grech, Andy Hooper, Kurt Vella Haber, Jeffrey Camilleri, Mars and Helga Cutajar, Geraldine Schembri, Tania Ellul, James Farrugia, Andre Caruana, Kim Attard and Mireille Mifsud.