What is a LAMM race? It stands for the Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon, and it's a 2-day mountain orienteering event that takes place each year in the Scottish Highlands. First held in 1994, the LAMM race has become a fixture on the adventure racing calendar, one of the must do races for those who like to get out into the wilderness. The 2010 LAMM race was held at Glen Fyne, but it's never possible to say where the next race will be as the venue is kept secret until 36 hours before the event.
This a very specific type of event, with the emphasis being on challenging routes in classic high mountain country. There is a limit of 500 two person teams, so the event has a friendly feel to it.
You don't have to be hardcore to enter – though it helps! – with courses for all abilities, five linear and one score. These courses are rated from Elite to Novice depending on your ability and fitness, with each of them requiring you to find a number of checkpoints – the time taken over the two days is aggregated to find a winner.
Wherever the race is held you will get to experience some wonderful Scottish mountain areas that you might not otherwise visit. The routes are always sprinkled with Munros and Corbetts, so you need to be ready to climb (and descend) while the Midcamp, where you will rest after the first day, is always in a great wild mountain location.
Despite the secret nature of the route, you can still do plenty of planning. Organizers describe the location as being within 3½ hrs drive north of Glasgow or Edinburgh, and within 1½ hrs drive from Inverness!
What skills do you need? The races combine fitness and navigation – you will be traveling long distances over very challenging mountain terrain, so you need to be comfortable and confident moving across steep, rough hill country. It is essential that you make a realistic assessment of both your fitness levels and your navigation skills so that you choose a course that is in line with your mountain skills.
This is not an event for the faint hearted – you will be in isolated, exposed terrain, and once you get going you will be on your own. Training is therefore essential, practicing both your navigation cross country and your ability to climb and descend safely on rough terrain.