Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon 2011
It appears Andy Spenceley had an open ear for my pleas for more Munro summit controls on the Elite, allowing us to tick 4 Munros (2 CPs + 2 extracurricular) over the weekend... next I will have to convince him to get rid of some of the ridiculously steep climbs.
Saturday took us on a large circle around the eastern side of the competition area offering some great views over to the sun drenched Beinn Dearg group. The course was very interesting involving some large scale route choices on more or less every leg. Ondrej, my LAMM partner of several years, and I were plodding along fine till CP4 where we lost some time and with the following legs involving unreasonable amounts of steep grass climbing, together with the arrival of rain, this lead to a bit of a sense of humor failure and a slow down. However we finished strong on the last two controls, trying to (vaguely) keep pace with Dan Gay & Al Anthony who were pretty much the first people we met on our course all day.
As promised the overnight camp was in a remote location with some beautiful views. Unfortunately it was raining most of the evening meaning we were mainly huddled up in our tent, which due to an unfortunate oversight when packing was pegged out with our pens. Luckily the rain eventually stopped just in time to give everyone a chance to socialize during the lovely sunset.
Sunday took us into the central area with fewer big route choices, but with a course which promised some spectacular views... plus some more big climbs, albeit along splendid ridges. After being told off by Andy for nearly missing our start time, we set off trying to chase down third place who were only 5min ahead. We were steadily catching them up till CP3, where again we messed things up. This allowed teams 5 & 6, who both had started 5min behind, to pass. However we managed to stay in touch with them over the next couple of controls, which took us over Beinn Dearg's two subsidiary Munros, and all three teams reached the penultimate control together. After a brief discussion on the subject of honorable draws it was concluded that the SI system probably didn't cater for such an eventuality, cue for a mad dash down the hill which left us out in front finishing 4th overall, tantalizingly close behind 3rd.
Konrad Rawlik
Score Class
'In the blink of an eye' is a phrase often used to describe something that happens quickly, and that was indeed what led to my LAMM parter and close pal Gregor Heron withdrawing from this year's event at the last minute, due to a potentially serious blood clot behind his retina (any excuse!). This left me looking for a kindred spirit who would be willing to step in at short notice and make the most of the weekend. After a few fruitless phone calls, the Facebook fairy stepped in and I managed convince Stewart Barrie that this was the ideal opportunity to test his new Balloon Bed, which I'd talked him into buying at Jura. It didn't take long to convince him that the LAMM was a good idea, despite him recently competing in some seriously hard races, never having done an MM before and having minimal navigation skills. However, being the team navigator my motto is 'you can't eat a wet tent' and so once again I got away with carrying the food for the midcamp, and Stewart agreed to carry the tent. A quick change of name and class (from A to Score) saw us heading up to Ullapool on Friday.
A seven hour car journey would probably put a strain on a few marriages, but as the day progressed we gradually discovered that we had a lot more in common than first thought, so it was probably inevitable that, despite best intentions, race registration at tea time blurred into a frenzy of socialising until midnight.  
Our early arrival on Friday meant an early start on Saturday. 7:30 saw us on the start line, and my tactic of bringing a pen that didn't write on the laminated map worked perfectly, so I had to plan a route to midcamp that took in interesting controls, then eliminate the non-score ones.  However, we ultimately ran a very pleasing route which took in controls that were not on linear courses, thus avoiding the crowds, and arrived midcamp with a few minutes to spare and points intact.
The atmosphere at the overnight camp was once again fantastic, but ultimately very hard to describe. Suffice to say there was time spent with old friends, making new friends, eating, drinking and laughing, not least at a salvo of dodgy ballon beds (a few in our tent!)
No bagpipes on Sunday but what a sunrise! We were off before 7:00 and ultimately took a conservative route back to the finish in the six hours available. We made the finish line again with a few minutes to spare, tired but pleased to have completed the event as best we could with points intact and no navigation blunders.
The highlights (in no order) - a fantastic weekend in the hills, spending time with old friends, meeting new friends, witnessing a masterclass when Jon and Steven passed us on Saturday at the third control, Joanne's perma-smile on Saturday night, Andy's enthusiasm for discussing route choice at midcamp in the pouring rain -  ultimately just a great weekend. Thanks to all who made it possible, it was a whopper! But, unfortunately, like all good things, the LAMM weekend disappears in the blink of an eye for another year.

Cameron Scott
Steve Fallon's Flikr photo set

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