There is barely a more iconic mountain in the Southern Highlands of Scotland than The Cobbler, also called Ben Arthur. It has such a good position within the Arrochar Alps that when hikers climb it, they often add in some of the other surrounding peaks like Beinn Narnain or Beinn Íme (to bag a few more munros in one trip).
hikes in December
It was the morning of 24th December when I arrived at the car park, ready for a snowy climb. I was the first weirdo there, all the other sane Christmas hikers were still in their warm beds, which was a smart idea since my thermometer in the car was showing -12 degrees Celcius.
When the three of us stopped to take our 101st break of the day, desperate to get a few drops of water from our near empty bottles, I gazed over towards the northeast and there lied this giant mass of rocky earth. “That’s Girdlestone,” I murmured almost silently, partly because I had little energy left, partly as I knew clearly my friends had this same voice in their mind: “last big climb!”
The Cathar Way is a roughly 240 km hike in the south of France, one of my favourite places in the world. It follows the historical sites of the Cathars through the Eastern foothills of the Pyrenees, passing through villages with stone houses often at least a few centuries old.