Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Moorfoot Eddie at the LAMM

"The Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon (LAMM) was held last weekend in the Ben Cruachan area (West of Tyndrum). The event is billed as the connoisseurs mountain marathon , meaning that it is always held in some remote part of the Highlands, (lots of climbing rather than long distances). For those who have not done this type of event before you have to enter as a pair and you have to carry equipment (tent, food, stove etc) for a remote overnight camp. You can choose the length of course you prefer, Elite , A , B C or D. The entries tend to be concentrated in the B,C,D categories with about 100 teams in each of these, the Elite (20 entries) and A (35 entries) have much smaller fields.
The last time I did one of these was around 12 years ago and I should have realised that there was a very good reason that I stopped doing them. Apparently bad memories are erased much quicker than good ones so perhaps that was a factor.
I entered the A course with a neighbour Bruce McGorum. Day 1 (Sat) started with a short bus journey and then ferry crossing to drop us somewhere on the shores of Loch Etive. You get your map about 5 mins before you start and then as you start you get handed a short list of grid references which are the controls you have to find. Your route choice and map reading skills are as important as your fitness. On Day 1 we were out for just over 8 hours, covering around 35km and 1800m of ascent. The ground was devoid of any tracks and was continuously either rough tussocky grass or boulder fields. We overnighted in Glen Kinglas and then set off for a repeat performance on Sun, about 32 km and 1700m of ascent. We blew about 25mins searching for one control which was well hidden in a gully and were out for 7hours+. We ended up being 16th in our A course and 3rd Male Vet team so were reasonably pleased. Both of us suffered with old mans knee problems on the descents and I had a sudden "hitting the wall " event on the very last climb, a few caffine loaded gels revived me enough to get to the finish. Suffering pain for the best part of 2 days is a given, the rewards are some incredible scenery and being able to move quickly in some of the remotest part of the Highlands. The comradery you get with fellow competitors is also something special on these types of events"

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