Bilbo's party

by Jon Brooke

Apparently there is flooding in other parts of the country (Scotland) but here the weather has been amazing once again. The overnight camp this morning was still the best anyone could remember - a gentle breeze, pristine beaches, flat dry grass and the sound of the pipes reverberating around the glen. Neither have there been many midges about. Martin was wearing his Jura 97 T-shirt. Something portentous was in the air.

Yesterday was a great day by LAMM standards. All of the courses produced winning times roughly in line with the planner's predictions and although one competitor broke an ankle, by coincidence they were not far from a marshalled check point near a track where there just happened to be a GP to hand and within a few hours they had been sent to Stornoway hospital, put in plaster and by the evening they were on the Tarbert - Uig ferry. The only other medical emergency was a man at the overnight asking for Vaseline, but he didn't specify what he wanted to do with it.

Today's race held a logistical surprise for C, D and some score teams because it included a shuttle bus section in the middle of the course to cut down (and indeed, for the Ds, make possible) the course length, because the overnight had been unusually far from the event centre. At the give-out this morning the sighs of relief were palpable from competitors who were wondering (until the last minute) just how they were going to get back to a finish that was 18 km away in a straight line.

Now at 19:28 at night there is still one team out on the course (making for at least an 11 or 12 hour day) but we think we know where they are so will soon be able to do the very last bit of tidying up, throwing away the indemnity forms.

Anyway, the races have been run the prizes given and now most of the competitors are busy drinking Skye Ale in the community centre, with all proceeds to mountain rescue. The elite race was won by Steve Birkinshaw and Neil Talbott, which was particularly fitting (given that Steve has won or placed in as many MMs as anyone we can think of, (except maybe Mark Seddon) given the news that was to come at the prize giving...

That's called a cliff hanger...

So, at the prize giving, once Martin had given his usual effusive thanks to all of the marshals, landowners and contacts on or around the island that had helped to make this event what in Martin's words he hoped would come to be known as the "Isle of Harris Classic" he told all assembled that this was to be not just his last LAMM, but THE last LAMM. After 22 events it was hard to imagine that there would be a better one than this but like most pop stars and no politicians he had decided to go out on top.

At this point Martin didn't put on a gold ring and disappear, but he did enjoy a spontaneous standing ovation from all and sundry. He hasn't said yet what he will be doing with the time that he is not spending on the LAMM, but the name Munro Baggins has a nice ring to it.


On the way to the start


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Martin and Bob off to put out the chasing start - Friday Evening


That amazing campsite again - not shot from a drone.


Camping on The Promontory


Reveille At Midcamp - Beautiful Piping By 16 Year Old Louis MacMillan (8th on C)


Early Morning - Day 2


Day 2 Start


Day 2 Start - What A Backdrop!


Day 2 Start - Jack/Sam Gommersal


Day 2 Start - Adam/Jack Forrest


Over the top for the Course Leaders


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Elite Winners - Steve Birkinshaw and Neil Talbott


The U18 competitors and one nearly 60 organiser


Elite Winners - Steve Birkinshaw and Neil Talbott with Martin Stone


In Homage to Isle of Jura Classic - 1997


Martin and Debbie - Freedom At Last!


An Emotional Goodbye

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Route planning above Loch Duich

The clouds over mid camp

Racing together - the spirit of the event

Lowe Alpine Mourne Mountain Marathon