Controller's Report - Andy Spenceley
As you know this was the 22nd and last LAMM and I have been involved in designing the courses, either as Planner or Controller, for the last 11 editions (virtually all with Angela, who has been involved in even more than that) and it has been a great experience and a part of my life for those years.
Before Martin persuaded me to help at the LAMM, I had been regularly competing in B, A and Elite classes, even partnering Angela one year - must have been fitter then! Taking part was great, but helping plan the courses has been special as it involved tramping through and exploring remote mountain areas, very rarely meeting anyone, and trying to find solutions to various logistical challenges, producing interesting and challenging courses, selecting scenic campsites etc etc.
Angela has mentioned the main challenges facing us this year, i.e. eagles and distance from the mid camp site. The RSPB ranger seemed happy with the courses and hopefully you (the competitors) were happy with how we dealt with the distance problem, but both problems required lots of discussions and ideas being floated. Eagles were actually all over the area and sightings included being buzzed by a Sea Eagle near control 03; a Golden Eagle investigating control 01, just after I'd placed it and Golden Eagles appearing, hoping for a bit of lunch, whenever one of Angela's Jack Russells was running around on the hill!
I know some people on Day 1 of the Score thought the start was too far from the campsite, however we couldn't bus any more people along the narrow road to the C/D Start. The Score course at the LAMM is a 7 hour event and is not designed to be one of the easiest or shortest courses but still it attracts all standards of runners. So in order to help the slower runners get to the camp we chose to start where the A started as there is a very good stalkers path heading straight west for almost exactly half the distance to the overnight camp. From the end of the path it is about 8/9km to the camp with the chance to pick up controls on the way.
The other class to have a hard time with the distance was day 2 of the B class. By having a long day 2, we could just get the B back to Tarbert without a bus. We warned people that day 2 would be longer than normal in an email before the event to give them the chance to move down a course.
All the times we were recceing we would have never expected it to be so hot for the weekend of the event (and it was even hotter the week leading to it). When we were first in the area at New Year, everything was covered in snow, then on later visits it always seemed to be cloudy and wet. At that time we were more worried about rivers being uncrossable than almost dried up, and had contingency plans to change courses to deal with this. Luckily these weren't needed. Courses were tough and even more so in the hot conditions, but running on Harris in the last LAMM will live in people's memories, I think, as a really special weekend.
I have to thank Martin Stone for his support, advice and amazing organisation over the years and Angela Mudge, who put so much effort into planning great courses (and also putting up with me over many years of working on the LAMM!)