Chris Brotherston sent in this report of the recent Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon (12/13 June):
For those of you who don’t know about the LAMM, it is a 2 day mountain marathon done in pairs with an overnight wild campsite. It is meant to be a challenge of hill fitness, orienteering and mountain self-sufficiency. This was my second time competing with my partner Robin Orr and it was my main motivation for joining Bella…….when I found out last year that I couldn’t run or navigate and was self-insufficient. One of the key elements is keeping your (carry) weight down and I knew I was in for a shock my first time round when Robin told me that I ‘shouldn’t’ bring boxer shorts as they were too heavy (!) and that I needed to drastically reduce my hill food (disaster for me!). This year I was better prepared with my underwear sorted, a post-it-note sized karrimat to sleep on, the foil removed from my painkillers and just enough food to continue to keep my B.M.I on the wrong side of normal. As usual with the LAMM the start location was kept a secret until two days beforehand to stop Bella type ‘reccies’…..and this year it was kindly close to Glasgow in Glen Fyne.
We competed in the ‘C’ class which I had convinced myself stands for competent rather than c**p. We set off really early the first day covering the 25km/1700m of ascent in 5h 45min and were placed well enough at 19th from about 160. We would have done better but the heat took its toll on the umpteenth hill. Afterwards it was a surreal experience at mid-camp sitting with a crowd of glum England fans huddled round a car radio 1400 foot up a mountainside listening to England sadly draw with USA.
Second day dawned with a sensory overload (the smell of latrines and the shrill piping of a lone bag piper). Thanks to my (partner’s) navigational skills we started well and picked up some places and were well placed until the final hill check point. I knew immediately we had a problem when Robin cursed past me muttering ’we’re on the wrong f*****g’ hill’ (Translated this actually meant – you need to improve on your navigation Chris because you had the task of marking the check points on the map and you couldn’t even get that simple navigational task right)
Anyway we eventually finished 12th which was up from 30th last year – something which I can certainly attribute to the Bella sessions. Unfortunately I still need to work on my navigation, so if anyone sees me running round Bellahouston park in the middle of the night carrying a map and compass and wearing just a headtorch and my ‘sorted’ underwear, rest assured I am just trying to find the right f*****g’ hill’
If you fancy the LAMM, check out the website http://www.lamm.co.uk, I would recommend it!