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The Connoisseurs Mountain Marathon

Sunday Winners Reports

Elite Course

Well, initial thoughts straight afterwards is Thank God it’s over !! Another really tough day , hard underfoot and challenging route choices in varied weather. Both of us suffered from a lack of food throughout the day – luckily not both at the same time. Water was less of an issue today. Having made a committing route choice to the final (proper) control we had no idea until the finish that we’d managed to hold onto the overnight lead. Thankfully we had and it was smiles all round! Today’s route took us through some interesting vegetation, sometimes vertical, and we did our bit for ‘save the tick’. Interestingly it was only Tim who had started a colony. Apparently they go for clean, sweet smelling skin. Unfortunately no Munroes today, but to be honest we wouldn’t have enjoyed them so probably for the best.

Another great event in really impressive surroundings – the number of clean, towering rock buttresses that we passed (often a bit close for comfort) was amazing, and you can only imagine most of them have not been climbed! Add to that the cwm that time forgot we found yesterday (complete with Pterodactyls) and you couldn’t ask for much more.

Might see you next year – we need to wait for things to stop hurting before we commit to that….

Chris & Tim

A Course

After a night of midgy claustophobic hell reducing our sleep to about 3 hours we set off with the basic plan of keeping going but not making any big errors on day 2. Matt's face looked like the elephant man as his cheeks, lips and eyes had ballooned to the size of a football because of a bad reaction to the bugs! We knew the course would have plenty of clmbing, which would suit us, and we were happy to find it gong over the impressive looking peak of Streap. The first 3 legs were spent nervously looking over our shoulders as the chasing team started just 14 mins behind us. We knew the climb up Streap and the ridge beyond it would be crucial. The climb passed quickly and the run off the summit was exhilaratng as we headed for home. A couple of dodgy countours later and we were dibbing the second to last control with the Harry Potter bridge in sight. After having to drop out of our only other attempt at the LAMM 2 years ago in Assynt it felt good to lay that ghost to rest this time. Just a shame we have to do the Elite next time!! A big thanks to everyone involved. We thought our course was great and we really felt we had some good route choice and saw a lot of that area - thanks to the planner. Also thanks to the marshalls and controllers who suffered in the midges.
Dan Duxbury and Matt Reedy

B Course

Day started with an unconsented blood donation to the midge population at overnight camp. The pressure was on as 2nd, 3rd and 4th teams in B class were staring within 6 minutes of each other. Marked the first control in the midge storm and then struck out along the south bank of south bank of the loch. Turned up the hill and as we crested the spur, walked straight into the control and B2. For the rest of the day we exchanged places with B2. After a long contour around Na h-Uamhachan all three leading teams came together at control 5. A quick blast down to the river and then a slow grind up alongside the forest to a tricky control to find on the a stream bend. As B2 took their time to find this, we scarpered hard on the heels of B1 heading for the penultimate control on the spur. Unfortunately, (for them) they’d miss-marked this control and as we ran on through, they were still searching. We kept the pace up to the finish for our first LAMM win.

A top weekend and some of the most interesting route choices we’ve come across.

Sam Grummitt and Ian Scott

C Course

On Day 1 we had loads of fun in the sunshine: gill scrambling, down-climbing trees and generally avoiding going uphill.  We took a particular dislike to Munro bagging (as intended by the route planners) for a jolly along Glen Pean.  So with some trickery we made 4th overnight.  Campsite was great for a lazy afternoon in the river and sunshine but needed a beer tent to be absolutely perfect.  From the misty start on day 2 it was clear we were slow as C1,C2 and C3 pelted off up the hill – a strength of ours usually.  From check 2 we took a gamble in the spirit of Day 1, hacking straight back the way we had come, to the valley floor over the bridge, confusing C5 who thought we’d missed a checkpoint. Avoiding the obvious traverse did not look clever and probably wasn’t but we just about got away with it.  We were met by 5 groups milling around at check 3 looking in vain for the flag.  Finally we discovered it, but at the expense of joining the others in a clump of teams who then trudged off round the hill together.  At this point we thought we might well have dropped right out of the top 10 (our goal).  The rest of the day was a struggle to keep the baying pack at heel.  For the final downhill stubbornness kicked in as we weren’t gonna let the teams who’d been feeding off our navigating pip us.  So down it was like crazy loons.  Only for the marshals to tell us we’d won.  Well, we weren’t convinced.  Teams C1-C3 where did you go?  C3 should’ve won – their altimeter died before critical use at check 4: tough luck guys.  Thanks to the planners and team for a great course and weekend and to the weather for delivering.  

John Tansley & Trevor Wade

D Course

Starting on Saturday morning with a very hot  steep climb from fassfern  feeling quite weak and knackered we were wondering if it would get any easier.

Another steep climb to a col midway through the course saw us passing quite a few people this helped us to pick the pace up.

Descending towards the camp was a nightmare of steep wooded ground following animal tracks and dropping over small crags we couldn’t really see any other footprints  and thought we had made a blunder.

Arriving at camp we staring feeling mildly pleased at the absence of lots of other tents, it wasn’t until Frank passed by congratulating us on being course leaders that we realised we were in front.
Sunday morning started early with a piper and mist shrouded hills 06:30 saw running of to the first point, our 11 minute advantage and the poor visibility helped us stay ahead of those chasing us.
By the 3rd point on the summit of  Sgurr nan Coieachan we hadn’t seen another person and a massive traverse under the next 2 summits had us feeling reasonably confident.

Just before the 4th point we stumbled on a sleeping fawn, agreat descent followed with clearing cloud and rays of sunshine drying our damp clothes.

The following points passed quickly, finishing under the viaduct and then tucking into a bowl of bean stew topped of  great weekend.

Ben Wallace and Paul Warnock    

Novice Course

This is our first ever LAMM, first ever mountain race, first ever orienteering event for that matter! We came not really knowing what to expect, especially since the bulk of our preparation came on Friday at 4:00 before hightailing our way from Glasgow (thank goodness for pub meals!). We started out well on the first day, passing several teams. We seemed to do particularly well on the long grind uphill between checkpoints 2 and 3. Unfortunately, we ended the day by making a bad route choice between checkpoints 5 and 6 – we decided to descend all the way to the loch to avoid any uphill climbing, only to find knee high tussocks, heather up to our armpits, brambles and some very rugged terrain. Not to mention tics galore!! We apologise to the locals disturbed in their boats by our colourful language at that point! We expected to come in last after our misadventure and were totally surprised to find ourselves in 2nd place after the first day, and only 4 minutes behind the leaders. We must be fitter than we thought.

We started the 2nd morning on a mission. We knew we were in with a chance provided we didn’t make any more bad route choices or navigational errors. We pushed hard up the long climb passing checkpoint 2 and onto checkpoint 3. On our way along the ridge we were caught by 2 guys who seemed to be moving more quickly than us. For the next half an hour we kept passing one another and eventually caught on to the fact that we were both on the same course – and these were the leaders to chase! Not knowing start times, some serious head-to-head racing ensued and saw us all the way to the finish line. They arrived a few minutes before us and we thought they must have taken the prize, so we were pleasantly surprised to learn that they’d started the day before us, and that our uphill performance had given us the edge. Well done to Dave and John, and thanks for pushing us! Well done to all the other competitors, and a big thank you to the course organisers and volunteers.

We have most definitely caught the mountain marathon bug! See you next year, though maybe next time we’ll restrain ourselves from full-size thermarests and 3-season sleeping bags so that we, too, can have backpacks the size of lunchboxes! To all those out there thinking of entering an event like this, don’t be afraid to jump in with both feet (sometimes literally!) – it’s a lot of fun!

P.S. Add midge nets to your compulsory kit list – a wee tip they don’t give you on the website!

Andy Taylor and Jamie Aarons


Climate Care

Route planning above Loch Duich

The clouds over mid camp

Racing together - the spirit of the event

Lowe Alpine Mourne Mountain Marathon