IT'S BEEN THREE LONG YEARS
It's been 3 long years since the last LAMM and it has been lovely
to see so many old friends of the event back at the LAMM this
year. I'm sorry it's been such a long time - the years have passed
very quickly. I think I had forgotten what a life enhancing experience
LAMM week is, working with such a great team of people and such
wonderful participants. Judging by the feedback so far, I didn't
realise how important an annual LAMM fix was to so many and how
much folk had been missing the event. Thank you very much for
supporting the event.
LIFECYCLE OF A LAMM ORGANISER
You may know that our main business is SPORTident Timing and SiEntries.
These are all consuming things in themselves. As I get older,
it is not easy to find the time to prepare properly for the LAMM
and do it justice. Organising the 21st LAMM again after a 3 year
break has been a journey through the whole gamut of emotions -
feeling optimistic in November and December, fearful and stressed
in February, March and April, purposeful and positive in May,
incredibly relieved, fulfilled, rewarded and grateful In early
June. This is the lifecycle of a LAMM organiser!
I find myself going through periods of self-doubt during the
Winter months as I am trying to get permission to cross the estates.
I worry that I won't devote enough time to ensure that everyone
is happy with us being on the area and that I won't have nailed
all the logistics that need to be nailed. I know full well that
I didn't push the event hard enough this year and should have
built up a head of steam for the event in February and March.
If you were concerned that all went quiet in the first part of
the year - you now know the reason. It's only when the event starts
to come together that I feel I can be upbeat and confident about
the event. But by then it's too late to find more teams and in
any case, the LAMM clashed with a number of other events that
folk were keen to take part in.
HOW DO WE BUILD THE NUMBERS AGAIN TO MAKE THE LAMM COMMERCIALLY
You 285 teams were a very select and privileged group and
if your absent friends had known what they were about to miss,
maybe we could have attracted 500 teams to the event, like in
the old days. I should have tried harder and learned how to harness
the power of social media. The LAMM requires about 500 teams to
be commercially viable and 2017 has by necessity been a labour
of love for me. If you would like the LAMM continue, I need to
ask all of you to spread the word about what a fantastic weekend
you had and make all your absent friends jealous. If each team
that took part this year undertakes to attract one additional
team that missed out this year, we should be able to reach our
target of 500 teams in 2018. The incentive is that if you help
us find more teams, we can have a LAMM next year. If anyone fancies
writing an article about their LAMM experience for an appropriate
magazine or website, we could offer you a free entry for next
I think the area has been amazing and the event completely surpassed
my expectations. The weather was amazing and allowed LAMMers to
fully appreciate some of Britain's finest mountain scenery - we
were so lucky as the weather went off big style immediately after
the LAMM and has been mostly awful ever since. The way that Andy
our planner and Angela our controller made use of the 3 mountain
ranges for the 6 courses was also amazing. When I pulled the event
in February 2015, Andy had already done a lot of work on the courses
and I felt sorry for him that they would never see the light of
day. How good it was that Andy could carry on where he left off
and provide us with these gem-filled journeys.
And, of course, you guys have also been amazing - only 2 teams
didn't make it to the midcamp which is remarkable - you must have
been enjoying it so much
When we held the previous LAMM in 2014, we had a few LAMMers
come to us at the midcamp with trashed shoes, unable to compete
on day 2. Gaffer Tape is a wonderful thing but it set us thinking
about a simple solution that would make it possible for a team
to salvage their weekend. In the past both Debbie and I have given
LAMMers a pair of our own size 9 and 6.5 fell shoes so that they
could take part in day 2. I had been thinking of asking LAMMers
to drop off their 'best' pair of old fell shoes at registration
so that we could bring a selection of sizes in to the midcamp.
Three years have passed and we forgot all about this idea. However
I did bring a bin liner full of our old size 9 and 6.5 shoes to
the midcamp and one very lucky LAMMer was able to walk away from
the download tent on Saturday evening in a pair of my size 9 inov-8s.
AN TEALACH, FISHERFIELD & FANNICHS - THE LAST SCOTTISH
WEST COAST AREA
At LAMM HQ, we have a small scale map of Scotland with all 21
LAMM areas marked on it. It's a patchwork quilt and we have taken
great pleasure seeing the gaps fill. An Teallach, Fisherfield
and the Fannichs is our final patch on the West Coast of Scotland.
Andy Spenceley and I have spent a lot of time over the years discussing
this particular area but we couldn't see a way to provide a suitable
Event Centre and Midcamp combo. An obvious requirement is that
all the courses have options to return to base from a single midcamp
on the Sunday. The midcamp needs to be accessible by vehicle &
trailer or a reasonable sized boat to deliver the infrastructure,
it needs drinking water and some flattish and not too boggy ground
for camping. When we spotted the house at the west end of Loch
a' Bhraoin on the OS map, it was a light bulb moment because it
offered possibilities for courses with very different lengths
to enjoy two challenging days.
PORTALOOS - NOT USUALLY AN INTERESTING TOPIC OF CONVERSATION!
Ever since 2007 when a competitor complained vehemently that there
were no portaloos at the midcamp, I have striven wherever to provide
these facilities, come what may. In Assynt 2006, the most northerly
LAMM ever, our midcamp was at the head of Loch Glencoul. It was
accessible to us only by boat and I would never rule out a fantastic
midcamp just because we couldn't get the portaloos in.
This year was the most challenging yet for our friends at Heilan
Loos, who are always up for a challenge. On a snowy morning in
March, Kevin and I reccied the 4KM journey along the north shore
of Loch a' Bhraoin, inching along the track in their recently
acquired Landrover Discovery. I wanted to ensure that Kevin was
comfortable with the plan to tow 8 loos along this incredibly,
rough, narrow track with challenging, washed out, stream crossings
and gravel beaches. The guys at Heilan Loos not only towed in
the 8 loos but in a military style operation at precisely 11:00
on Saturday morning, all LAMM marshals met at the east end of
Loch a' Bhraoin. The contents of our transit van were transferred
to a trailer which they towed in behind a second Land Rover. If
you ever organise an event in the Highlands and need loos - look
no further than Heilan Loos.
FOLK I NEED TO THANK
- The 10 Estates that afforded us the privilege of crossing
300,000 hectares of fantastic mountain country. I would especially
like to thank Lady Jane Rice who was persuaded (reluctantly
because she's quite shy) to present the prizes. The Rice family
own Dundonnell Estate which includes great hills and also the
superb Event Centre field. A number of marshals
- Andy Spenceley (our planner) and Angela Mudge (controller)
- I mentioned the great work byabove. Ray Wilby and
Ian Hay used to be the planners for the Highlander MM. They
live locally and I heard on the grapevine that they were missing
their annual involvement with an MM after the final Highlander
took place last year. Their assistance to the LAMM this year
has been invaluable in marking control sites in April, deploying
controls in May and collecting them in early June. The final
5 man days of control collecting took place last Monday and
by Monday evening, (the day after theLAMM), there was no sign
that the LAMM had ever been to the area. Thanks to all LAMMers
for leaving NO rubbish whatsoever at the midcamp. We were really
heartened to see how much you respected the hills and our opportunity
to hold an event across them.
- Our 20 Marshals, many of who have supported the event
for ever and for whom we always try to provide their own mini
adventures throughout the weekend. Sue and Katrin Harding
who relished the opportunity to show the men how to dig the
loo trench at the midcamp. A week before the LAMM, Angela
Mudge stayed at Shenvall Bothy and deployed all the Fisherfield
controls. On the Sunday night of the LAMM Konrad Rawlik walked
in to Shenavall. He set off at 4am Monday to clear the controls
from Fisherfield and finished just before the weather turned
- Andrew Leaney - my friend and colleague who manages
our website, does the timing/results and works uber hard to
ensure that content is uploaded to the web, regardless of the
remoteness of the midcamp. On the Thursday before the LAMM,
Andrew slipped quietly away from his parents 50th Wedding Anniversary
family do on the Isles of Scilly. He flew from Isles of Scilly
-> Exeter -> Manchester -> Inverness where Brian Jackson
collected him and delivered him to Dundonnell. That's dedication
for you and we're very grateful.
- Piper Alan Cameron - 10 time LAMMER who responded
immediately to my email requesting a piper. Thanks for great
music and especially for allowing us to bring your pipes in
to the midcamp.
- Arrochar MRT who have supported us ever since 1995
and saved lives.
- An Teallach Ales Micro Brewery - all the money taken
from sales of beer was presented directly to Arrochar Team -
£2,100. Davie the owner of the brewery also came along
on the Friday night and Sunday to setup the bar for us and pull
- Alasdair MacDonald - Stalker for Dundonnell Estate
who has been so helpful to me and trusted enough in the event
to recommend it to the Rice family who own Dundonnell. Some
of you will have had similar experiences when organising events
but when one speaks to a representative of a key estate for
the first time, I reckon that one has about 2 minutes to make
the right first impression. It is a scarey time as a NO would
scupper the use of the entire area. But in this case I had nothing
to fear. Alasdair lent me a number of bits of kit (because I
was a rusty LAMM organiser I forgot to bring some stuff the
event) and helped to setup and manage the bar. An absolute gent
with a heart of gold. Nothing was too much trouble and I cannot
tell you what a difference it makes when the estate hosting
the event enjoys the event being on its land.
- LAMM Map - Malcolm Campbell who is Omapz made a tob
job of the map and provided great support to us as we prepared
for the event.
- Wilfs for coming out of "virtual retirement"
from supporting outdoor events and joining us for the 20th time.
- Musicians on Friday Night - We were so lucky when
Adrian Will and his fellow musicians from Strathcarron
and Skye stepped in at 5 hours notice when the leader of 4 In
A Bar, the group we had originally booked, was whisked into
hospital with Gallstones. I had just about given up hope of
having any live music on the Friday night until I made a chance
call to Adrian, the Plockton Brewer who provided beer for the
2014 LAMM. It was a near miracle that he could find 4 players
at such short notice and they were superb, adding so much to
the ambience in the big tent.
- LAMM Tee - Stuart Brown from Frontline Graphic
Design in Kendal came up with a great graphic for the tee shirt,
in the traditional and quirky style of the LAMM. He skilfully
re-branded the event so that we could move on from the Lowe
- inov-8 for their generous provision of prizes and to
Rick at Compasspoint for helping to arrange it.