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Next Meet

"Wild Camping"

1st - 3rd March 2013

Next Social

AGM. Portland D136.

Thursday 14th March
8.00 pm

If you don't want this for a time, please comment it-Fabian !Next Ice Climb

Manchester Indoor Ice Wall
Friday 1st December at 8:30am

If you don't want this for a time, please comment it-Fabian !Next Climb

LAMM 2005: A podium perspective

By Franco

The end of the Skye trip saw those coming home in the minibus dragged along to LAMM as specatators, or to do their own bagging. Paul and Al were entered in C category, whilst Damian and myself, and Ed and Jim were in D. This was my third time entering LAMM D category, and my second with Damo as a partner.

On the drive down from Skye to Oban, all we knew was that rendevous for the competiton was a car park in Oban. To me this clearly meant we were going to Mull, but Damo was sceptical about the logistics of this. We arrived at the car park (after a hairy moment on the road) and were handed tickets for the ferry for the competitors. There then followed a discussion about whether the others would come to Mull, and whether they would bring the minbus with them. Eventally it was decided that the minibus was essential for getting about (little did they know) and that Mull was too good to miss, and so the club would pay for the vehicle ferry ticket.

Those remaining from Skye were:
       *Al H (competing,C) 
       *Paul (competing,C)
       *Franco (competing,D)
       *Damo (competing,D)
       *Jim (competing, D)
       *Ed (competing, D)
       *Adam (wishing he was competing?)
       *Milton (wishing he was competing)
       *Chris D (glad to not be competing)
       *Clare Walsh (motivating)
       *Leah Band
       *Jo Miller
       *Rob Webster
       *Dave Chetta

So we all crossed the sound of Mull, marvelling at the superb LAMM organisation of getting so many competitors on the ferry, who a few hours earlier had not even known where they were going. We arrived at the event center, (in the grounds of Torosay castle), one of the few with a vehicle, put up our tents and registered. There was a large bonfire and some Glu-vine in the evening. Some went to the pub, but those of us competing got an early night.

We got up for the early start time and were then bused a few miles down the road. After being told off by the course planner for running along a tiny bit of road, we felt we made good time and no serious navigational mistakes in some fairly poor visibility. But the day did seem long and as we realised we would come in in around 7 hours, I was not optimisic for a good position, given that in my previous experience a good time for D was around 5 hours. As we neared the finish line we spotted Al and Paul coming in behind us there ensued a frantic race for pride to the finish. The only problem was that unlike previous years there was no track for the last few kilometers, but a tufted bog that was impossible to run on. We also found Matt and Clare waiting for us.

We were back early and the midcamp was still fairly empty. We pitched our tents and then discovered that Matt and Clare had not come along simply to cheer us on, but were in search of the minibus key. I rember there being a vauge serach for it in the morning before we left, but had assumed it was with someone who had not yet fully woken up. It had failed to turn up after a more through search that morning, so Matt and Clare had hitched their way to the midcamp to check that none of us had mistakenly taken it with us. We hadn't. At this point I was starting to worry that it might have been me who had lost it, as I rember having it the previous evening to get something out of the bus, but couldn't remember what I had done with it subsequently.

Jim and Ed arrrived, Matt and Clare left, and day 1 results were posted. We were pleased to find we were lying 7th. Al and Paul were a respectable 21st, and Ed and Jim somewhere in the mid 30s. All this meant that we would all be in the chasing start for day two. As we were only 20mins behind the leaders, this meant a start time for us of 6.20 am!

After an uncomfortable, hot, and midgy night, we headed off to the start wearing our 'D7' labels. The chasing start proved to be a lot a fun and we were soon heading up a hill surrounded by D3-D9, all lying very close together. this continued for the first couple of checkpoints, seeing each other appear and disspear in and out of the mist. We spread out on a descent and steep contouring, and some difficult boggy terrian. We were at this point passed by a oair from elite, who I managed to keep pace with for all of 400m!

There soon followed a major route choice. We opted to ascend a long ridge, and apparently most of the other D teams went for the valley ascent. We passed a number of novice teams on the ascent, including their leaders, who were releived to realise that were in D. Our route choice paid off as on reaching the col we spotted D1 and D2, D3 and D9 amongst others emerging out of the mist and we all stayed together down a steep descent. We managed to leave the pack from the next checkpoint an were following only two other teams on a long flat run round the side f a hill as the mist cleared that will be my enduring emory from the comptetion. Again we made a good route choice and cut off some of the secne that the teams in front of us did. We were now neck and neck for the lead and managed to find the checkpoint quickly and perhaps even first. Looking for the next I descended down a gully when it was literally 5 meters above my head, and while I was wasting time reascending two other teams arrived, found it and were off. So we lost the lead, never to regain it.

(Damo feel free to correct inaccuracies here)

From there it was more chasing through the mist, and a search for the final checkpoint nearly got us disqualified when we dropped our bags, but luckily it proved further down the track, by which times we had our bags on again. We went flat out to the finish and went we got in were told that we probably third. As I downloaded the tag and received our printout, I looked at the lost property table and saw a minibus key. The minibus key! So all in all a good 5 minutes.

We were back so early that some of the others weren't even up, let alone waiting to see us across the finish line. They were pleased that we had the minibus key, but frustrated with what a wasted weekend it had been for most of them. (Some had manged to bag Ben more by hitching) While we had been gone, Chris had been desperatly searching for ways to get the minbus back to nottingham. To send another key by courier would have cost a few hundred pounds, so he had persuaded poor Al Middleton to come all the way up on the train with another. He was already on his way by the time we found the key.

Paul and Al came in with us all waiting for them, and then we went off to the award cermonies to get our prize of a dryflow. After this Jim and Ed came in. Both of the other teams had dropped places since day one due to Nav issues. Our experience paid off in that we lost no major time due to Nav, but there is still room for improvement - with perfect Nav we might even have come 1st! Anyway, having done D three times it seems about time to graduate onto C. Next year we have no choice as having won a prize once in D, you can't again. Just have to train harder next year then.... Bring on those young upstarts - Experience over youth!

The others packed up and after not fitting onto the first ferry, got one two hours later for a very late arrival back in Nottingham. Whilst waiting in the ferry queue a guy came up and said it was he who found the key and left it with lost porperty - it had been on the road somewhere between the event center and the pub. Well that was a relief at least to me: given that I didn't go to that pub I couldn't have dropped the key!

I stayed around on Mull at the LAMM campsite for one more night to do Ben More the next day - being on Mull it seemed rude not to. The physical toll of LAMM can't have been as bad as previous years (at least I was better prepared for it) because I could still walk (albeit with heacy use of poles) enough to bag a Munro. I hitched there and back, got the ferry back and train to my next stop, Dundee.

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