OMM Academy: Basics of how to use a compass.

omm academy


OMM event director and former Royal Marine Commando shows you show basic exercises you can do at home to introduce people to navigation. 

Topics covered:

  • Introduction to the compass
  • How to make turns and follow a bearing
  • How to how to move on a bearing
  • How to box around an object

To do at home: Make a map of your garden or living room. Then turn yourself & your compass to align yourself with a point in your garden. Practice moving on different points in your garden or home.

British Mountain Marathon Calendar

We take a look ahead at the 2020 Mountain Marathon line-up.

As ever, there is a fantastic showing from around the hillier corners of these isles and something for everyone, from first-timers through to gnarly veterans.


Event: Great Lakeland 3 Day
Date: 8th – 10th May 2020
Location: Lake District

Overview:The SILVA GL3D™ is an adventurous three-day mountain marathon with a unique, relaxed and friendly atmosphere that attracts both runners and long-distance walkers. Over the years the event has built up a dedicated following of participants who enjoy the challenge of three long, consecutive days in the hills. The start and finish is in the same location so that participants can get maximum enjoyment, with competitor’s overnight kit transported between each camp.


Event: Scottish Mountain Marathon
Date: 13th – 14th June 2020
Location:  Western Highlands

Overview: The Scottish Mountain Marathon™ is a classic two-day hill running and navigation challenge held in the Scottish Highlands and Islands each year.

Open to pairs who must compete as self-sufficient teams, the event is suitable for novice participants and elite competitors alike. There are seven different courses, offering something for everyone who enjoys navigating through wild and challenging terrain.


Event: 42nd SLMM Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon
Date: 4th July – 5th July 2020
Location: North West Lake District

Overview: The Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon (SLMM) is a two-day mountain navigation competition (or race) that is held annually in the Lake District for pairs and experienced solo entrants. The event comprises 8 courses of which 6 are solely for pairs of runners, one is exclusively for solo competitors and one course is open for both pairs and solo entrants.


Event: 41st Mourne Mountain Marathon
Date: 19th – 20th September 2020
Location: The Mournes, Newcastle, Northern Ireland

Overview:The Mourne Mountain Marathon is Ireland’s only two day endurance and navigation event held each year in the beautiful mountains of Mourne in Northern Ireland.  It is run entirely on a voluntary and non-profit basis by a team with many years experience of organising and competing in this type of event.


Event: ROC Mountain Marathon
Date: 26th – 27th September 2020
Location: Northern England

Overview:The event has proved a popular choice with mountain marathon competitors with its combination of both linear and score courses that provide participants with huge choice and minimise the chance of ‘snakes’ of runners all heading to the same control.


Event: 53rd OMM Original Mountain Marathon
Date: 24th – 25th October 2020
Location: Mountains of Argyll & Bute

Overview: The daddy of Mountain Marathons and the one that started it all. The UK’s biggest mountain race has shaped the UK outdoor community for over 50 years. Since 1968 the UK’s greatest running legends, product creators & influential people have stood on the start line. The 53rd OMM will be held somewhere in the mountains of Argyll & Bute and as is tradition, the exact location will be released in September, though clues may be found before then.

52nd OMM: Results & Report

OMMers devour the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park – But the Park bites back!

A sunny Kelburn Castle provided the start line facilities for OMM 2019 thanks to the generosity of Lord Glasgow and his team.  With stunning vistas of Arran and direct access to the moors; the checkpoint studded hill sides were prepped and ready for the off.

Thanks to Chris Stowe (B Course) for the image.

Battling the boggy abyss

Across the start, the competitors said goodbye to dry feet with the first ascent ankle deep in mud and littered with invisible knee deep hazards.  There’s a few tactics when dealing with hidden boggy holes; one, go slow, test the ground before committing a foot placement or two, the ‘sod it’ tactic to march on in some kind of bog roulette effort.  After the first 10km you could see the competitors embrace the second and the inevitable boggy abyss of the terrain.

The 200km2 quickly silenced critics as it revealed its challenges.  Endless ascents and descents over bog, tussock and heathery fells pushed even the hardiest of competitors to their limits.  This rarely visited by ‘normal’ outdoor folk area provided sparse, if any, path sightings leaving the relentless terrain to be tackled head on.  Many will have experienced waist level submergence; one even described his team-mate flagging down 4 passing competitors to assist his release from an armpit deep dunking.  It was a weekend of ankle and knee obliteration, with so few paths to be found that from ‘plodders’ to ‘elite’, we all faced one hell of a challenge.  As Jim McQuaid & Dominic Watts said “you knew it was only a matter of time until you were swallowed by a bog.  You just hoped your shoe was still there when you pulled yourself out”.

A year for the navigators

The Mountain Marathon was created to be a test of mountain ability.  The strength and training to see who can run the hardest combining with the experience and navigational skills to pick the best route.  The undulating non-descript features were expected to favour the orienteers.  However, the sun shines on those who deserve it and perfect visibility changed the challenge to focus on route selection and hill observation to find the most forgiving passage.  Heavy rains and hail fell overnight just to remind the hunkered down campers that this was the OMM but only short showers flashed through on day two and teams enjoyed great views to ease the navigational challenge.

Thanks to Joan Chapman for the image.

The results

This year Graham Gristwood & Hector Haines won the Elite Course in 12hrs 48mins after developing a lead of 25 minutes at the end of day 1.  The race for second was much harder fought with only minutes splitting second to fifth place.  In the end Alistair Masson & Tim Morgan hung on to take second overall pushing Dark Peak Runners Tom Saville & Nathan Lawson into third.

The Long Score competition equally took in some distance.  The overall winners Nick Barrable & Jonny Malley scored a massive 1240 points in an estimated 80 kilometres with 2500m of ascent.  In the military class the Hutton Trophy was won by Calvin Routledge & Max Cole with 1030 points (4th overall) and it was an honour to have Colonel Jim Hutton’s cousin, Alison, join us to present their prize.  The  female winners were Bodil Oudshoorn & Janie Oates of Helm Hill with 815 points (18thoverall) and the first place mixed team was John & Corinne Watson with 800 points (21st overall).

20 hours for Chris & Ben

At the more experienced end of the field,  Chris Kelsey joined the 30 year club  while partnered by his son Ben after a gruelling 21 hours to complete the Elite course, their first Elite finish and an impressive demonstration of endurance.

The OMM continues to push for a greener approach and thanks to all who car-shared.  This reduced the car count from 700 to 400 which is certainly a huge environmental positive for the event’s carbon footprint, an issue which is deep in all our hearts.  Given the mud on the car-parking field it was also important for the safety of the car-parking team. We had a mild panic while helplessly watching the ‘towout’ tractor gathering pace sideways down a muddy  hill towards the marshall’s cars which occurred whilst it attempted to tow a van with trailer to terra firma.

Thanks to Roger Watkinson for the image.

Bring on next year

Next year the 53rd OMM will be the 24+25th October.  Stuart Hamilton, Event Director, says “It’s important we keep the challenge fresh.  This year many were sceptical about what Clyde Muirshiel could offer.  What they got was some fantastic terrain challenges, enough height to burn the thighs and the huge visual contrast of the sea and Arran in one direction and the industrial scars of Glasgow in the other.  We felt that no area we have ever visited better exemplified why we must protect these landscapes and the OMM will continue to focus on responsibly bringing people to enjoy, use and ultimately become the protectors of this space.

Next year… well we’ll give you something different.  I’m looking to add some of the features we enjoyed on the Alps event this year so we’ve found somewhere that has rocky mountain tops, dense contours but ultimately still the remote open wilderness that we are so fortunate to be able to enjoy in the UK.  I look forward to being able to reveal more.”

52ndOMM: Start List


Right then everyone, here we have it, the start list for the 52nd

The time has come…the 52nd OMM is upon us. 

From 1st timers to 40 year OMM veterans we are looking forward to welcoming you all.


Kelburn Castle, Largs, Scotland, KA29 0BE


Please check for delays on your route so that you arrive in time.  Possible road closure (with diversion) M8 J37 westbound from 8pm-6am on Fri 25th Oct.


3pm Friday 25th October

Kit Declaration

Please Remember to bring your signed Kit Declaration along to registration (please note we cannot accept these via email)


All amendments to your team or course can still be made but only at registration.  Refunds or deferments are not possible. 

£5 charity donation for SINGLE OCCUPANCY cars!

To give you a nudge to car share we’re asking that any single occupancy cars make a £5 parking donation to this year’s local charities and Rescue teams. 


Remember there will be no waste disposal at the overnight and kit check will be looking for your rubbish at the finish!

999 by Text 

We recommend registering for this important service before the weekend.  It allows you to contact 999 by text – very important when you may only have a weak phone signal that does not allow for clear speech.  You must register BEFORE you need to use the service – it’s quick and easy. Click here.


By no means to be taken as gospel but the conditions for the weekend are looking…seasonally appropriate.


LIVE RESULTS The results will refresh every 15minutes. As competitors cross the line they will appear on the results.

LIVE COVERAGE We’ll be posting on our social channels throughout the weekend. We always get lots of questions from partners at home which we’re always happy to answer.

PHOTOGRAPHS The team from R&R photography will be out on the course and at the finish lines to catch you looking your best at the end of each day. 

Any Questions?

Please head to the information desk in the main marquee, where our friendly volunteers will be happy to help you.1st timers please note there are no stupid questions at the OMM!

The event team are now on site.  If you have an urgent query that is not answered in the event details please email



See how everyone is training for this years race on Strava.


You can arrange lifts and ask advice in the Competitors Group.

52nd OMM Location

omm 2019

The 52nd OMM Location –  Largs: Scotland. The Vikings hordes couldn’t hold these shores.  Will the relentless terrain beat you?

Epic coastal views, virtually no paths, visibility…3metres. It’s the 52nd OMM. 

Stunning vistas of the great Lochs and the inspiring Arran peaks behind while you slog up pathless, boggy, heather clad coastal hills.  All of which you can imagine (as you probably won’t be able to see them) whilst you’re fighting through the clag on your way to the overnight camp.   

That’s right, for the 52nd OMM we’re all off to Largs and the Clyde MuirShiel Regional Park.  

We have 400km of remote glens featuring countless raging waterfalls and stunningly wild heather moors which you’ll look at on the map and utter the immortal words “it doesn’t look that bad, we can get through there.” We will see! 

For those who don’t know..

With decision making and fitness at its core, the OMM pitches teams of 2 against the elements to search for checkpoints spread across the 400km2 course area. Route choice is key and checkpoints will drag tired feet well off the paths to face decisions of whether to straight line and cross bog and bracken filled glens or add distance to skirt around the summits.  Young legs against experienced heads suddenly becomes a fair fight. 

Another decision for the teams will be what kit to carry. Go lighter and faster is a good idea but go too far and you risk freezing joints overnight and not being able to run.  For 2 days, teams are on their own and with the event intentionally held at the end of October “to guarantee bad weather” the event is not for the inexperienced. 

Advice from the team.

The course planner’s advice is, “Practice your Nav, you’re going to need it.  Stay flexible too as speed across the ground will be massively impacted by vegetation and boggy ground. This is real wild running and route choice should show off competitors individual running strengths (and weaknesses he muttered under his breath).” 

As always we’ve booked the traditional OMM weather; 50mph winds and driving rain on the Saturday clearing up on Sunday for those who find the overnight camp.  

Stuart Hamilton (OMM Event Director) says “We all wish we could compete as well in such a stunning location and look forward to welcoming everyone to the event centre at Kelburn Castle. I’m really grateful to Clyde MuirShiel Regional Park for enabling us to hold our event on such perfect terrain.” 

the omm

The core of OMM.

The fundamentals of the event haven’t changed over the 52 years – a wild test of navigation, kit selection & mountain skills within the safety net of an event. In a world of thrill seeking and instant gratification, OMM bucks the trend in saying that all mountain users should invest in their knowledge to be a responsible member of the mountain and hill going community.  As with anyone entering the UK mountains, they need to understand the condition and terrain they’re heading into and how to behave in it. 

In the coming weeks we will have updates and all the information you will need ahead of the event. All of the information is available on the 52nd event webpage here.

Next month our ecologist David Broom will be surveying this year’s event area to ensure we all cause no lasting damage to the area. You can read the previous pre and post ecological assessments from past events here.  

OMM Kit list

Mountain Marathon Kit List

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Each individual and team is responsible for being properly equipped for two days unsupported racing in exposed terrain at the end of October.

This list should be seen as a minimum requirement only. Check the weather forecast, your previous experience and use sound judgement for the kit you should be wearing and carrying. The organisers reserve the right to disqualify any competitors who, in their opinion, do not have the necessary kit to survive in an emergency situation. Cotton clothing is not suitable.


  • Taped waterproof jacket with hood
  • Taped waterproof trousers
  • Clothing suitable for mountain running and walking
  • Spare base layer top
  • Spare full leg cover
  • Warm layer top
  • Hat, Gloves & Socks
  • Footwear designed for trail and fell use
  • Head torch capable of giving useable light for a minimum of 12 hours
  • Whistle & Compass
  • Map (as supplied)
  • Insulated Sleeping bag
  • First aid equipment
  • Pen/pencil and paper capable of being used in wet conditions
  • Survival bag (not a sheet)
  • Rucksack
  • Emergency rations
  • Water carrying capability

Spare warm kit and insulated sleeping bag must be waterproofed (i.e. in a drybag)


  • Cooking equipment including stove with sufficient fuel for duration of the race, plus some spare for emergency use, left at the end of the event
  • Tent with sewn in groundsheet
  • Food for 36 hours for two people
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OMM Essential Skills: Switching navigation techniques

OMM ESSENTIAL SKILLS: Switching navigation techniques

Charlie Sproson from Mountain Run talks through some essential skills he’ll be using on this years OMM Elite Course. To complete the OMM course requires many different skills to operate safely in the mountains at the end of October.

Switching navigation techniques – It’s important to change how you navigate depending on the conditions. When the clag comes in and visibility is poor you should focus on collecting and catching features and hand railing to track your position and still move quickly.

Charlie wears: AETHER SMOCK


The NEW Aether smock is lightweight fully featured mountain running smock. We’ve focused on creating new innovative closures around the wrist, waist and face. We then combined these with eVent’s new DVSTORM 3 layer fabric. Find out more….

OMM Essential Skills: Thumbing the Map

OMM ESSENTIAL SKILLS: Thumbing the map

Charlie Sproson from Mountain Run talks through some essential skills he’ll be using on this years OMM Elite Course. To complete the OMM course requires many different skills to operate safely in the mountains at the end of October.

Thumbing the Map – Keep your thumb on the map at your current position. As you move along your route rotate the map and move your thumb along your route. Progress to thumbing the map on the move. Use your peripheral vision and self awareness to maintain your location  and balance whilst running.

Charlie wears: AETHER SMOCK


The NEW Aether smock is lightweight fully featured mountain running smock. We’ve focused on creating new innovative closures around the wrist, waist and face. We then combined these with eVent’s new DVSTORM 3 layer fabric. Find out more….

OMM Essential Skills: Moving through checkpoints

OMM ESSENTIAL SKILLS: Moving through checkpoints

Charlie Sproson from Mountain Run talks through some essential skills he’ll be using on this years OMM Elite Course. To complete the OMM course requires many different skills to operate safely in the mountains at the end of October.

Moving through checkpoints – For those looking for an edge over the competition. Try and avoid hanging around at checkpoints. The leading team mate navigates into the checkpoint whilst the trailing team mate sets up the bearing for the next leg. The leading runner dibs the checkpoint and the trailing runners takes over the navigation.

Charlie wears: AETHER SMOCK


The NEW Aether smock is lightweight fully featured mountain running smock. We’ve focused on creating new innovative closures around the wrist, waist and face. We then combined these with eVent’s new DVSTORM 3 layer fabric. Find out more….