Angela and Andy
For a number of years Martin has been proposing
Ben Cruachan as an event centre for the LAMM - with the secret
childhood hope that we would be able to race through the numerous
network of tunnels that feed the hydro electric scheme. Alas
that was not to be so. BUT the C/D course did manage an airy
bus ride up the private road to the dam and the E/A enjoyed
a midge free boat trip across Loch Etive to their start locations.
This years event proved harder to plan than previous events
with some of the estates refusing access and others asking us
to use a corridor across their land. This restricted the route
choice available on all courses but hopefully competitors still
enjoyed good days out on some of Scotland's wild hills. The
overnight camp at Glen Kinglass once again proved a remote and
beautiful location with the flattest camping yet. Unfortunately
the midges surpassed anything I've ever experienced!
As usual a lot of time was spent reccying the area. I covered
many miles with a 4 to 6 month old Jack Russell puppy in my
back pack trying to suss out safe route options on and off Ben
Cruachan and visiting the lower hills in the area to get a general
feel for the terrain. My mobile phone was also lost in the area
but unfortunately no competitors handed it in!
Our controller Andy Spenceley suggested the Elite and A start
on the west shore of Loch Etive. This proved a challenge in
itself gaining permission for a suitable start location and
then planning a route along the hills to ensure the course was
not too long. This meant a pretty much direct line to the head
of Loch Etive was required to limit the distance. Both courses
had a sting in the tail when at sea level in the Glen they had
to literally climb over a munro summit to access Glen Kinglass.
Ideally the climb would have been spread throughout the day
but starting on the west side of the Loch was unusual and provided
a novel journey through less trod hills. Apologies to the elite
for the control on the side of Ben Sgulgaird I didn't envisage
an out and back option and cringe at my bad planning.
Day 2 was very tough for the Elite I planned a traverse Ben
Cruachan and realised it would be a long day but opted for the
longer day with an interesting route rather than missing the
traverse. The A course managed to summit one of the munro tops
over a less travelled ridge, I recced this in snow and ice so
may have over estimated it's difficulty whilst preying I didn't
need crampons to reach the summit.
Martin worked his magic to enable the C and D classes to start
at the Ben Cruachan damn, this helped to reduce the amount of
climb over the courses and enable the D to summit a corbet and
munro in quick succession. Unfortunately many competitors will
have noticed the event centre below them whilst travelling over
the munro - Beinn Eunaich en-route to the overnight camp. The
second day was planned to keep away from the bigger hills heading
to the east and then over the corbet Beinn Mhic Mhonaidh. The
nature of the steep terrain in this area made planning quite
challenging. Most of the hillsides around Glen Strae are very
steep limiting the route choices and made it hard to plan a
day where there was less than a 1000m of climb from Glen Kinglass
to the finish.
The B and Score classes started near Victoria Bridge. The B
(along with some of the score) were the only class who had the
option of spending the entire day in the 'big mountains' of
Stob Ghabhar and summitting the Stob Coir an Albannaich. The
ridges and terrain made this a truely mountainous day with many
of the drier streams enabling the competitors to cross streams
and crags with relative ease. The B class was the only class
who didn't have the option of climbing Ben Cruachan but most
competitors would have climbed its neighbour Beinn Eunaich.
The score competition is always hard to plan for due to the
different abilities in the class. Both Elite and D standard
athletes compete in this class, so a course has to be planned
which is challenging for all of the athletes. The main options
on day one were to head north around Stob Ghabhar and across
to Stob Coir an Albannaich or to head south over the lower hills
above Glean Fuar, with the opportunity to cross over near Loch
Dochard. The routes were contrasting with big hills to the north
and lower heathery hills which was slower going in places to
There was some cross over for the routes on day 2, the winning
team chose the tough option of heading west over Ben Cruachan,
much time was spent on scoring the controls to make this a tempting
and viable option. The other options enabled teams to head to
Glean Fruar area and then either head back west of Glen Strae
to the finish or head east over Beinn Mhic Mhonaidh and if time
allowed cover the far south of the map.
The winning times were about right for most courses on both
days, but without the dry terrain could have been considerably
longer. The elite day 2 was longer than usual and proved tough.
I'd like to thank the controller Andy Spenceley for putting
me right (I blame him for the long Elite course!). Thanks to
Ali Welsh and Brian Jackson for helping put out the controls.
This year we were graced with good weather, which made the task
so much easier. Thanks to all the people who helped collect
the controls back in.
And finally thanks to Martin Stone for making the LAMM happen