Absolutely stunning scenery and amazing weather about sums up the 2014 LAMM in Strathcarron.  The LAMM is always a superb event, which is guaranteed great organisation, good route choices, a very friendly atmosphere and swarms of midges.  It didn’t disappoint on any of those aspects, besides maybe a welcome absence of midges on the Saturday afternoon of the overnight camp (although they had arrived in force for the morning).  This year I was entered in the B class with Jo Armstrong, complete with new lightweight tent which clearly needs some wear and tear so that I am not so fussy about which patch of rocky ground to put it up on in future…

The terrain for this year’s LAMM was brutal, lots of rock slabs, which every now and then would turn slippery, and lots of loose rock and boulder fields interspersed with bracken.  My choice of shorts instead of running tights was looking like a poor choice after shredding my legs on all the bracken.  But the setting and the scenery was spectacular.  We were bussed off for the B course start and we decided to let the crowd disappear before starting ourselves just as the next bus of runners arrived, so that we were not following a trail of runners through the first few controls.  It took a little while to get used to the scale of the landscape on day 1, we kept expecting the first few controls much sooner than they actually arrived and the heat and sunshine started to take its toll.  Navigation was great on both days, the clear weather meant you could pick all the features out fairly easily and take bearings off the opposite hillsides which made finding the controls fairly straightforward.  We were happy with our placing of 4th at the overnight camp, Jo had been struggling a little towards the end and we didn’t expect to be so high up the field.

The overnight camp setting was spectacular, complete with two inquisitive highland cows who wandered right through the tents and up to the runners, even allowing themselves to be patted and to pose for photos.  Jo did a fantastic job of feeding us, I think we had something like 7 courses of food throughout the afternoon and early evening, while lazing in the sun on our sleeping mats, while a light breeze meant there were no midges.  When the rain finally arrived at about 8pm it was almost time for bed anyway.

For the second day, we had 6 teams within 20 minutes of each other for our part of the B course chasing start , and we varied from briefly 3rd, to briefly 5th (and almost 6th) before a great route choice up the one Munro saw us convincingly reclaim our 4th place in the B course.  After that it was the long run through controls 4 to 7 back to the finish.  A great weekend all round and with the Highlander, the LAMM is one of the two must-do mountain marathons.  Thank you to the organisers for another fantastic event and well done to all the other Westies who took part!  I will definately be back next year!

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