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The Connoisseurs Mountain Marathon

Saturday Competitor Reports

Elite Course

Tim Higginbottom and Chris Near - Overnight Leaders

Perfect pre-race nights sleep courtesy of 7 million Glenfinnan Midges ( inside the van ). Major concerns for day one were going to be about hydration and surviving the heat. It was going to be a long day…… it was. The ground conditions were surprisingly good but only the big rivers in the valleys had any water in them so route choices had to be amended to make use of all available water. The route itself was full of choices and involved one leg of 2 ¼ hours in the middle of the day , just long enough to forget  what you were looking for ! Fantastic mountains to run over and even managed to bag a new munro along the way. Camping in Glen Dessary is great . Views, river and bowling green flat campsite. Having started with a train ride to the start (some new numbers for Tim’s book)we managed to cover most of the map during the day which makes us slightly sad as there sees to be nowhere left to run tomorrow.

PS Pilar & Jen – hope the Welsh 1000’s went well today. We’re thinking of you as you get another sausage off the barbeque and open another cold beer. Don’t suppose you know where the chafeze might be..?

A Course

Dan Duxbury and Matt Reedy - Overnight Leaders

The day started with an idyllic 15 minute train ride along the side of Loch Eilt. As well as soaking up the scenery and poring over the maps, this gave us the chance to size up the competition! There was some reluctance to be the first team away and we set off about half way through the field. Our usual intention to take it easy at the start actually seemed to be happening for once as we steadily moved through the first couple of controls with no problems. The next four legs were all quite long and had some really good route choices – top marks to the planner for creating a challenging and interesting course. Particularly memorable was the Borneo style ‘kamikaze’ descent underneath Cnoc Gorm and some wonderful running in forests by River Dessarry. Having not felt that we had a terribly good run we were pleasantly surprised to be in the lead. All that may change tomorrow as I think the weather is set to get wet and cloudy – AAAAARGH!

B Course

Jon Davies, team 283 (and John Earl, already sleeping) - Overnight Leaders

After a surprise transfer to the west end of Loch Eilt for the start, we decided to mark the controls on the go to get a fast start. We seemed to set a reasonable pace to the first control. The second control was “Knoll”, a description that almost defied us last year, but with some careful navigation we found the target fairly easily. After the fourth control, we decided to drop down to the track for some good running along the inlet – surely quicker than the controller’s route contouring the steep slopes of Meith Bheinn? Perhaps not…

On the climb to the fifth control, we started to lose momentum and, so we thought, any hope of posting a quick time; John was also suffering mild cramps. We plodded on, making steady but not spectacular progress to the final few controls. We went with the route popular with the earlier starters down the south side of Monadh Gorm, through the wood and along the run-in track, and were pleasantly surprised to have posted the fastest time! Time to get some sleep…

C Course

Mike Gradwell and Sue Howarth - Overnight Leaders

The secret of our success seems to have been a good night’s sleep in a Rannoch Moor layby forced on us because we only reached there at midnight. Thank goodness we did looking at the amazing mosaic midge patterns on other people’s legs. Base camp last night must have been a nightmare.

Breath–taking scenery inspired us to use the camera for the first time on a mountain marathon but we missed our chance with the herd of red deer. We coped with the water shortage by sipping from every available stream. Poor performance tomorrow is likely to be due to the after effects!

Now relaxing at one of the most idyllic MM campsites ever.

D Course

Ian Hamilton and Marnoch Hamilton-Jones - 2nd place overnight

The LAMM rules can have some strange effects.   Sixteen-year-olds are only allowed to do the D course, and then only with a responsible adult relative.  Hence Marnoch, 16 and very fit, was lumbered with me, 48 and feeling very tired.  He is now in the tent trying to do his maths since he has an exam at 8.30 on Monday morning.   And he carried an extra 50 grams of maths papers up all those hills.
It was a beautiful day, perhaps a bit hot, but there were plenty of watercourses to top up from.  The first 3 controls were hard going but the navigation was mainly a matter of following a long line of people stretching into the distance.  For some reason on the way to 4 we suddenly found ourselves all on our own, but I think we did a quick route, contouring round and approaching the control down some craggy ground from above – we could see the control site, a lochan, from a long way off doing it this way.  We found enough energy to run most of the way down the next hill then the last climb up to control 5 was really hard, hot and sweaty, but I wasn’t allowed to stop for a drink until we got to the control.  We walked all the uphill bits, but tried to run downhill.  Control 6 was hard to find but again we benefitted from spotting other teams heading in and out from the control.   The next leg had a good route choice.  We chose to contour round and then descend diagonally to the loch.  This may not have been wise; the descent involved much sliding down slippery crags and a rough walk along the loch shore.  Bad route choice at the head of the loch – we tried to head across the flat open ground which turned out to be bog, at least waist deep in places.  On a couple of occasions I was starting to get concerned about getting out of the deeper bits.  Marnoch insisted on “sprinting” to the finish, I just walked fast until I thought people could see us.
Beautiful campsite and a nice river to lie and wash off the bits of bog.

Angus Murr and Ian Carlton - 3rd place overnight

Inviting most of a fields worth of midges into the tent for a free supper was probably not the best idea for a good nights sleep on Friday night!  Excellent course for day 1 with some nasty little route traps just to keep you on your toes and make you think through the heat haze.  The pre course information on the streams being a little bit on the dry side was totally spot on as well, although a connoisseur attitude to taste seemed to take place by the end of the day with points given for body, colour and nose!
Chin up Fats!!

Simon & Matt Down

The course started out with a reasonably gentle climb up to the first check point.  From there on in it was a fairly nice course with no really steep climbs and without excessive contouring.  This was until it was time to head down towards the loch and midcamp.  We should’ve carried on along the ridge towards the end of the loch and then come down at that point.  Alas, we cut down to the loch straight away which resulted in a descent through the trees that took far longer than it should’ve for a few measly km.  Any way got to mid camp with not excessive aches and pains so should be good for tomorrow where we’re hoping to keep in the top half of the D field.

Novice Course

Dave Bentley and John Ellaby – Overnight Leaders

Dave’s never been on a mountain before and I’ve never been mad enough to race on one. We got our tent and running shoes on Thursday in a mad rush to get slightly better prepared for this crazy feat – (all my mates think I’m mad!). We got the top tip the night before – always know where you are on the map and the other top tip we received too late – bring midge nets and insect repellent. We found it pretty hard going but bullied each other on. See you next year if we don’t die tomorrow.


Climate Care

Route planning above Loch Duich

The clouds over mid camp

Racing together - the spirit of the event

Lowe Alpine Mourne Mountain Marathon