Jo and I travelled up to the head of Glen Fyne on the Friday of the 2010 LAMM. This was to be our first mountain marathon so we weren’t sure what to expect. We’d had all the pre-event details from the LAMM website and although their website has all the information you need, the navigation, layout and presentation really needs looked at. In fact they could do with enlisting the help of Jo and myself to get the website up to a standard that is merited by such an event.
After pitching our tent, registering and having a look around the race tent, we got an early night in preparation for the first day of our mountain marathon future.
We were woken at 6am by a piper walking through the campsite. Being a Scot I’m always happy to hear the pipes, but the cold must have been getting to his hands as more than a few notes were dropped. Still, it stirred some national pride for me to get out into the hills and get running.
We’d opted for category D as we didn’t want to look like fools in our first ever mountain marathon. What we found when thinking back on the event was that next time we’d enter into category C or B as the only thing which hindered us was the time we spent map-reading.
Once we’d set off we were soon rounding the base of Ben Lui, a Munro I’ve been wanting to conquer for many years, but alas! not high enough up to warrant a summit-reaching detour. The sun was shining brightly and being away from the hustle and bustle of the South East of England was glorious. Jo and I were torn between racing between the checkpoints and just enjoying the scenery on such a Fyne (sic) day. By the time we’d reached the mid-camp we were 19th in our category. It was reasonable, but we certainly weren’t setting the heather alight.
At the mid-camp we rested well and made use of the burn to cool our weary feet. We also learned the importance of having a piece of cardboard wrapped in tinfoil to act as a wind break for the gas stove.
Awoken by the piper again (his fingers must have been colder on the Sunday!) and the mist had settled.
“What’s the weather like?” Jo asked.
“It’s driech” I replied.
“What’s driech?” she questioned. I beckoned her out of the tent.
“This is driech” I answered looking up into the clag. What better way to have explained driech?
We packed up and set off. Today the weather wasn’t so kind and, without speaking a word, Jo and I both started racing like we didn’t the previous day. There was a group near us whom we just couldn’t shake off and it drove us on further and faster. We were forcing ourselves up the hills and flying down the other side, tiptoeing through boulders and skimming over bogs. This was what we should have done on the Saturday!
By the time we were making our final descent down a hillside you’d never normally dream of scaling, our knees were struggling to hold firm. Once out on to the forest track we quickly shod our extra layers and began hoofing it through the trees.
“Come on, those people are catching” I kept saying to Jo. “We’re nearly there. We don’t want them catching us”. I could tell from the silence and then the daggers that my words were not welcome in the slightest, but thankfully we did enough to stay ahead of the chasing group.
We crossed the line, dibbed our dibbers and wearily stumbled into the race tent where we were presented with our special LAMM ale. Instantly our camera steamed up so our ‘finishing line’ shot makes it look like we’re in a sauna!
After changing and eating with the rest of the LAMMers we packed up and went to a wee hotel in Glasgow for a well deserved bath followed by fish and chips!
Our results on the Sunday had us in 6th place, which led to an overall 12th place. I maintain we could have finished in the top 10 of our category if we hadn’t been so content with just enjoying the scenery on the Saturday, but it was worth it!