Two weekends ago I travelled north for LAMM 2012 – I swore after last year's event that I wouldn't enter another, so something obviously went wrong somewhere.
It started sociably, and continued that way through the weekend. Four of us had an uneventful drive up to Dalmally , and parked nextdoor-but-one to Lou, Chris and Laura on arrival. Campervan jealousy set in as we pitched our tents, but some spaghetti bolognese and cheesecake soon settled us.
Day one in C class consisted of 22.5km and 1400m of climbing, if you followed the controller's route. Starting from the Cruachan reservoir dam, Greg and I had a good line up to Control 1 (basically following everyone else!) and then struck off uphill instead of contouring around. We left the control at the same time as Lou and Laura, congratulating ourselves on how much faster our uphill route and short traverse would be than their longer contour around the hill. We arrived at Control 2 at exactly the same time, a little bemused.
From there we picked up and maintained a steady pace, with no major troubles until Greg developed severe cramp on the climb to the summit of the day's only Munro, Ben Eunaich. After some rolling around on the floor, screaming obscenities, he got it together and carried on. Some walking between there and Control 6 slowed us up a bit, but a fast descent into the mid-camp revealed that we were one of the first teams back. Our time for the day was 6h 13m, putting us in 19th place (out of about 122 starters), and just sneaking us into the chasing start for Day Two.
A relaxed afternoon of eating and chatting had a great restorative effect, along with the best night's sleep I've ever had at a mid-camp. The midges took the gloss off things slightly, but at dawn the second day didn't seem too daunting. We got our chasing start as Team 22 at 07:28:54AM, by which time most other people had set off for the day.
We caught team 21 on the climb towards Control 3, and then out-navigated team 20 at the Control itself. Another long climb took its toll, and on the final ridge descending towards base camp we had very little idea of our actual position. The rain came in at this point, and I foolishly let myself get a bit cold. Combined with the tiredness, my nav went out of the window but Greg pulled a blinder and found us the penultimate control. A horrific downhill blast to the finish (I'm rubbish at descending) saw us come in 14th for the day, holding our 19th place overall.
I was very pleased with our result, and everyone else did well too. Jonny and Rob got 18th in D class in their first LAMM, Lou and Laura pulled 49th in C despite a twisted ankle, and Chris and Francis reaped the spoils of a productive partnership with 2nd in Elite. Jakub also had a good weekend, with 15th in Score. I didn't find this year anywhere near as taxing as last year, and was really happy with the way we managed to keep our pace consistent throughout the weekend. There's already talk of next year, but I'm not falling for that again!