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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
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Nottingham Indoor Wall Monday 16th October 4pm
An account of LAMM 2012 by Rob F
It was just before lunch on Thursday and I was eagerly checking the LAMM website. At midday, the location of the 19th Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon would be announced. We were departing for Scotland the next morning. The LAMM is a two day race in the Scottish highlands, it is a challenging combination of fell running and orienteering. In pairs, you have to carry tent, stove and food while navigating in the remotest areas of Scotland. As it was our first MM, Jonny and I had entered the D course which was going to be approximately a traditional marathon at 37kms (just under 26 miles). The D course is the shortest of the courses while ex-MPS member Chris Burn was on the hardest course, the Elite course ~40km a day with over 2000m ascent! LAMM is an unofficial MPS trip but every year we get a few teams out and this year there was at least 4 teams with current or past members in.
The location was announced as Ben Cruachan in the western highlands. Not that this meant anything as I’d never been there but it was nice to know where we were off to. Haydn very kindly drove us the whole way up to Scotland. He and Greg were doing the C course as they’d both done it a couple of times before. As we’d left from Nottingham early, we were some of the first people to arrive. We pitched our tents, registered and then chilled out. It was easy to forget the upcoming weekend as we sat back, had some pasta bolognaise, cheesecake and a half pint! Then the midges descended and we retreated to bed.
We were assigned an early start and followed the signs, we were handed our maps and kept walking. The maps had all of the controls for all of the courses scattered on, so we didn’t know what route we were going to be taking and which areas of the map we were going to visit. We spent a while trying to guess where we would be starting and finishing. All we knew was that we’d end up back at the event centre on Sunday. We then were directed to wait for a coach and we stood there in a group, literally being eaten alive by the Scottish midges.
The coach was late and then we were driven out to our start, already itching from the bites! Both the C and D starts were on the iconic Ben Cruachan hydroelectric dam that features on the LAMM 2012 logo and t shirt. Greg and Haydn ran across the dam and headed off west into the mountains, while Jonny and I headed east. We had one of the earlier starts and found ourselves in the lead after the first climb. We then enjoyed a long descent down a ridge, enjoying the sun. Before a huge climb, this really took it out of me. I knew it was going to be hard but I felt awful. It was getting hot and I had cramp in various places all over my legs. The climb was to almost Munro height, we debated bagging the top but decided the race was more important. Somehow we barely saw any other teams until the last few controls. Then we descended into the overnight camp with another couple of teams.
The mid camp was set by a lovely river and we were one of the first teams to arrive. Soon the camp filled up with hundreds of little 1 and 2 man tents. The camp bustled with people staggering around and reliving the day! We’d set up a little MPS sub camp of 4 tents before we all tucked into our various dehydrated and delicious meals!
Sunday was a slightly shorter day, with a ‘chasing start’. The top runners from the first day, start in the order of finishing and have a head to head race. Haydn and Greg were the last team in theirs, almost 90 minutes after the leading time. Jonny and I missed out on it by 4 minutes which meant we could start whenever we wanted. We were all feeling tired from the previous day but knew there wasn’t long left until the end. Jonny and I found the second day harder, it started to rain towards the end and the clouds came down. We found one of our last controls particularly difficult to find, misreading some contour detail but eventually it clicked and we went straight to it! There was then a quick sprint to the finish and straight into a warm marque for a lovely hot meal and drink. Apparently the best meal you’ll ever hard, although I think I may not have pushed myself hard enough to fully appreciate the meal!
For my first MM experience, I really enjoyed it and it only took a few hours before Jonny said he would be up for doing it all again next year. I hope he still is as I’d love to do it again and next year will be special celebrating the 20th LAMM. Greg and Jonny then were picked up and continued north to join the others for the annual MPS Isle of Skye trip (see report). While Haydn and I headed back down to Nottingham, thanks again to Haydn for driving.
Also see Haydn’s report of LAMM here.
For those interested in giving LAMM a go next year, read the reports on here, visit the LAMM website or speak to someone who’s done it.