Type II Fun

A few days ago I blogged about a longer run I did over Ward’s Stone (read about it here) where I mentioned that a small section of my run was definitely a bit ‘Type II’. Sean Conway, the ginger bearded adventurer often states that most of his longer multi-day adventures have been ‘Type II’. So what is Type II fun, and are there any other ‘Types’?

I’m not sure who originally came up with the concept of different types of fun, but here goes a short explanation (with regards to exercise and endurance sports/events).

Type I fun is when you completely enjoy an event the whole time that you’re doing it. For me that would be most parkruns, or going for a run with my beautiful wife and dog.

Type II fun would be when there are times or places during whatever it is you’re doing that you don’t completely enjoy. A fell run where the fog descends, an unexpected hill at mile 80 of a 100 mile ride, or mile 20 of a marathon. What makes it OK is that after the event and you’ve had chance to recover, you know that you’ll do it again and that you’ll telling everyone all about it, even the bad bits. For me this would be some of the best days out, on my own, with friends, or with Helen.

Type III fun is something that you don’t enjoy while doing it, and when you’ve finished it you have absolutely no inclination to ever do it again. The only race that I’ve ever done which would fall into this category for me would be a 6 hour run on a track which I attempted over 20 years ago. I’ve done longer races and I’ve done 6 hour races, but it was the track aspect of it that I really didn’t enjoy (hated it? Possibly). I decided to quite after I had done 105 laps, thinking that I had done a marathon, not realising at the time that a marathon had an additional 200m.

What’s been your best Type II day out?

Book Review: The Last Christmas by F. Paul Wilson

About 18 months ago I blogged about the Repairman Jack series of books by F. Paul Wilson (read about it here). Even though the whole story arc has been completed, Mr Wilson does like to surprise us. In this instance he has released a new book set between the books Ground Zero and Fatal Error. I’m never going to complain about another book, especially as this opens up the possibilities of more new books, also set between books already released.


In this book Jack is tasted with protecting one of the Infernals, although he doesn’t know that, plus an old character from The Tomb reappears with a referral for another job. Obviously both jobs are not what they seem and almost inevitably the clash.

As with most Jack books this is a great read and one that I couldn’t put down. I normally hate having to use the train to get to work, but it did mean that I could spend an extra couple of hours reading.

My only gripe is that the book does appear to reference characters and items that I feel that I should know about. I know that I’ve not missed any Repairman Jack books, but looking on Amazon and the F. Paul Wilson forum it would appear that there are a couple of short stories that I’ve missed. I promptly purchased them for my Kindle, which has now stopped working. It is a 3rd generation Kindle from 2010, so maybe it’s time for a new one. I’ve tried resetting and restarting it to no avail.

Back to the book, and if you’re not up to speed with the series, this one isn’t a good place to start, although it is more ‘stand alone’ than others. As I mentioned in my review last year, The Tomb, the very first book, is one of the best horror/thriller books out there.

Book Review; Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

I’m slowly working my way through the pile of books that I’ve read but not reviewed, and this one I think I finished months ago.


First off, James S.A. Corey is the pen name of two collaborators, one of whom is an assistant to George R.R. Martin. Leviathan Wakes was another book recommended by the increasingly incorrectly named Manchester Post Apocalyptic Book Club. There is no post apocalypse in this book. Set in the future, mankind has colonised Mars, the Asteroid Belt and beyond. Generations have been living off world for so long that those brought up on colonies where gravity is less than on Earth are far taller. It’s also part of a much longer series called The Expanse, with Leviathan Wakes being the first book.

What’s it about? A drunken old cop is given a job of finding a runaway, with the knowledge that he will fail. In parallel is an officer on an ice miner, along with his crew, trading between Saturn and the Asteroid Belt. They find an abandoned ship, contaminated with an alien artifact. An unknown faction wants to start a war between the Belters, Mars and Earth as well as finding out what the artifact does.

There’s nothing ground breaking in this book, although it is a fairly satisfying read, and at well over 500 pages there’s a lot to get into. Of course, the proof with any series of books, is would you read the next one. I will be honest and say that it is very doubtful if I will. I just wasn’t gripped enough to continue with another seven books. I will probably take this book to the Free Little Library round the corner, instead of placing it on our bookshelf in the spare bedroom never to be looked at again.

It’s not a bad book, but it wasn’t really for me.

1154 Days

Last December I had a go at running every day (read about it here). I didn’t quite manage it as I had one day off in the middle of the month the day after the very tough Bowland Half Marathon (read about it here). Of course there are plenty of people out there who are running every day for far longer than one month. Emily Rudow from Toronto managed to run a half marathon every day for 74 days, and famously Ron Hill ran every day for 50 years. A couple of Ron’s ‘runs’ were up and down a hospital corridor on crutches, but I’m not going to quibble as it is a very impressive feat (or feet).

I like to think that triathlon training is a bit easier on the legs, in that instead of a run you can go for a swim or bike ride. I’ve managed to train every day for over three years. (For ‘train’ read upload something to Strava). Some of those days have been pretty epic, while others have been little more than a 20 minute swim or 15 minute gentle run.

1000 days

Inevitably all things must come to an end. My beautiful wife had been really ill last week, and I managed to pick up whatever it was she had, so yesterday I spent most of the day in bed and didn’t leave the house. Training streak over. 1154 consecutive days from 27th September 2016 to 24th November 2019. I thought that I might be upset or annoyed, but I’m actually quite sanguine about it, possibly knowing that if I have another full on rest day it won’t affect my streak.

If I’m feeling better in a few days then I might have another attempt at running every day in December, but you know what, it doesn’t matter if I don’t make it. Just enjoy your running (or swimming, or cycling, insert other sport here).

Book Review: I Talk Too Much by Francis Rossi

I managed to pick up this book from one of our visits to Barter Books (read about it here). It’s only recently been released and it was less than half price; bargain.


Obviously the book begins with his childhood, the formation of the band that would become Quo, the seminal meeting with Rick at Butlins, and their foray into psychedelia with their first hit Pictures of Matchstick Men, and the gradual change into heavy rock. Many fans argue that the 70’s is the classic Quo lineup with their greatest hits. I probably wouldn’t argue about that. Francis is also very honest about the split after Live-Aid and then waiting for Alan to jet home to Australia before reforming without him, with the inevitable court case.

I will be honest that in my teenage years I was a big Quo fan, although I will agree with the bassist Alan Lancaster that the single Marguerita Time was awful, which was probably when I stopped listening to any of their new material. That was until the 2011 album Quid Pro Quo which was released exclusively through Tesco.

I’m rambling, what’s the book like. Over 50 years in one band means that there are going to be a stories. Francis doesn’t shy away from examining his relationships with both Alan Lancaster, who he doesn’t like in the least, and Rick Parfitt who was like a brother. He also mentions the drugs, and just how much cocaine he was taking, to the extent that his septum fell out. Francis cleaned up and stayed sober and drug free; Rick not so much.

I don’t read the tabloid papers, so I never knew of the acrimony coming from Rick’s family towards Francis. Status Quo have continued without Rick, but they were touring and recording without him for a couple of years before his death. Rick was working on his autobiography before he died, so I’m sure a version of it will be published soon, as will Alan Lancaster’s.

Anyway, the book is brilliant, even if you only have a passing interest in the mighty Quo.


Ward’s Stone Run

I like to try and get in at least one run a month which is at least a half marathon distance. If I’m not feeling very inspired then this would involve running to Morecambe, doing Morecambe Prom parkrun (read about it here) and then run home again. A couple of weeks ago I was feeling inspired to drive up to the car park at the top of Jubilee Tower and run from there. Unfortunately I headed up the wrong shooter’s track.

Second attempt and I drove to Tarnbrook, a farm in between the two big road climbs of Jubilee Tower and The Trough. Parking up a couple of km before the farm the first section was on road, before heading into the open access land, generally the preserve of pheasant shooters. It is still pheasant season, so I decided that if I saw anyone who looked like they were shooting I would turn back. I don’t think that I look like a pheasant, but I didn’t want to take the risk.


I’ve been up Clougha Pike a few times and across to Grit Fell, but I’d never run from Tarnbrook Fell. One good thing about the shooter’s tracks is that they are great for running, even in road shoes, although I did walk up the steeper sections. Linking the summits of Grit Fell and Ward’s Stone is a footpath, which was fairly easy to follow, even when the fog descended.

For safety I was wearing my running vest with water, gels, food, compass, whistle, paper map, phone (with digital map) and a foil space blanket. I had also told my wife where I was going.

Ward’s Stone apparently is the highest peak in the Forest of Bowland, although I couldn’t see a thing at the top, and if it wasn’t for the Trig Point I might not have known that I had reached the top. Definitely a little bit of Type II fun to be had there. I started to descend slowly and carefully, not wanting an accident, knowing that there is almost zero phone reception. Saying that, Timpson did manage to send me a text letting me know that my dry cleaning was ready to collect.

Halfway down the other side and the path splits at a fence. From here the route was fairly straight forward; just keep the fence to my left until I join another shooters track. Downhill all the way back to the farm, with only a couple more km back to the car. I was surprised by how good I felt during the last road section, and I even managed Lancaster parkrun (slowly) the next day.

ward stone

Final distance was 22km with 633m of climbing. One of the best runs that I’ve done. I was buzzing when I returned home. What is a shame is that I can’t run with Nelly, our unruly Pointer, as the whole area is strictly ‘no dogs’. However, the notice at the start of the shooter’s track with the ‘No Dogs’ sign, also stated that it doesn’t apply to dogs under effective control on Public Rights of Way. Am I right in taking that to mean that as long as Nelly is on a lead and we don’t stray off the footpaths onto the areas where birds are nesting, I can run with her?

Additionally, the shooter’s tracks would be fantastic on a bike, but again, definitely not allowed.

Next time that I’m up there I will try to run to Wolfhole Crag.

Books, Books, Books!

For my fiftieth birthday a couple of months ago I was given two book tokens, which I have now spent. These new books, combined with purchases from Barter Books (read about it here) now means that the pile of books beside by bedside has become ridiculous, much worse than it was a year ago (read about it here). Not only that, but the pile of books that I’ve read and haven’t blogged about is also ridiculous.

I’m going to implement a rule, I’m not allowed to start a new book until I have reviewed the one I’ve just finished, and one other from the pile next to the fruit bowl. That way, in a few months I should be caught up. Additionally, no new books this year (caveat; unless one catches my eye and I can’t possibly manage without it).

How many books do you have waiting to be read?

Alnwick Parkrun

Our last day in the north east and maybe as you would expect, we finished it with the nearest parkrun, which was only a few miles away in the town of Alnwick. It wasn’t called Alnwick parkrun, for some reason it was called The Pastures parkrun. I understand that the naming of parkruns has become contentious, especially when a town or city has more than one. Birmingham parkrun wouldn’t really work, but Lancaster does and so would Alnwick. Henceforth in this blog, The Pastures parkrun will be called Alnwick parkrun.

It’s less than a year old and is run on a field (The Pastures) across the river Aln from the castle. Quite spectacular it is too. You can almost imagine the Quidditch players warming up.


The three lap run is entirely on grass, and as it had been raining off and on all week we opted for trail shoes, road shoes would have been a slip-fest. At the run briefing we were told that we would be running the ‘B’ route as the regular route was waterlogged near the river. It also appeared that over half the field were tourists. Shout out to Lancaster.

Helen, my beautiful wife, decided to run with Nelly, giving me the chance to ‘go for it’. I started slow and gradually reeled in some of the people in front of me, managing to finish in 4th place overall. Very happy with that. Helen did even better, 3rd female and 11th overall. We won’t mention that there were only 27 people there, with one extra who didn’t go through the finish funnel as he was annoyed about missing the start. He’d gone for a warm up and was at the other end of the field when we started (Oops).

After Tawd Valley parkrun a few weeks ago (read about it here) where I was 5th overall and 2nd in my age group, I was optimistic that I might manage to be first in my age group. Alas, 2nd again. I still haven’t managed to be 1st in my age group since turning 50. All I can say is that there are some really quick older guys out there.


On our last full day in Northumberland we opted to visit the National Trust property of Cragside near to the town of Rothbury. Being at least 60% idiot I managed to forget my National Trust card, and even though the very patient man at the gate couldn’t find any record of me, even when phoning head office, he still let us in without paying.

Cragside is an amazing house set in huge gardens with over 40 miles of footpaths. Built by William Armstrong, the main talking point was that it was the first house in the UK to have electric light bulbs powered by hydro-electric. Baron Armstrong created five new lakes to ensure that there was enough water to power all of the ‘wonderful hydraulic machines that do all sorts of things’.


Did I mention that I’m part idiot? I hadn’t checked the opening dates on the website correctly, so the house was only open on Saturdays and Sundays from the start of November. No real problem, we decided to take Nelly with us and have a good walk around the estate.

We were most intrigued by Nelly’s Moss near to the top lakes, although we gave up trying to get our Nelly to face the camera.


From the top of the highest lake we followed a path signposted towards a wooden flume. Reminiscent of the kind of contraption you would see in Western movies when panning for gold, the flume channeled water from a stream into the flume, again to ensure that the lakes were always full. However, when the lakes were full, the water would be diverted back into the stream.

After just over 5 miles we returned to the car and then drove a full lap of the estate, beginning by going through the courtyard of the house. An amazing experience and somewhere that we would love to visit again; maybe when the house is open.

The Holy Island of Lindesfarne

There was no way that we were going to miss out on seeing Holy Island, off the north east coast. History has it that in 635AD Saint Aidan came from Iona and founded his monastery on The Holy Island of Lindisfarne. In the 16th century Lindesfarne Castle was built. More recently the island has become home to Lindesfarne mead and Pilgrims coffee, along with hundreds of tourists every day in the summer. Not so many on a wet November morning. The coffee was available at a local cafe in Alnmouth and made a very good brew, however I find mead to be a bit sweet so we didn’t try any. The island is also the starting point for both the St Oswald’s Way and the St Cuthbert’s Way long distance walks. The St Oswald’s Way is 97 miles long and finishes at Heavenfield near Hexham, at Hardian’s Wall, and we walked or ran a couple of sections of it (read about it here and here). St Cuthbert’s Way is 62.5 miles long and crosses the borders to finish at Melrose Abbey.

For those of you that don’t know, there is a causeway between the mainland and the island which becomes impassible at high tide. There is a very helpful website that lists the times for when it is safe to cross and when it isn’t. We set off from our cottage in Alnmouth in the dark, as the ‘safe to cross’ window for that day opened at just after 7am.

I had purchased an Ordnance Survey Explorer map of the area (1:25,000 scale) which showed a small car park on the mainland side of the causeway. Our plan was to park up and then run across to the island, have a quick look around, and then run back. Small problem, the map was last updated in 2009 and since then the car park has been closed. We therefore had little option but to drive across the causeway and park up on the island. This actually worked out for the best, as there was a very heavy hail storm, and because the causeway was close to 4 miles long.


Once on the island we waited in the car for the hail to stop. Helen, my beautiful wife, wasn’t feeling up for a run in hail, but a couple of minutes later it stopped hailing and we set off running (gently). First stop was the remains of the priory, where we manged to take a couple of stunning photos of the castle as the sun came up.

This early in the morning the castle was obviously closed, but we had a good look as we ran past. It was in very good condition and almost looked as though people still lived there.


It was cold but not raining or hailing, so we decided to have a look at following some of the numerous footpaths and see if we could complete a full lap of the island.

Standing on Emmanuel Head, at the north eastern point of the island, is a 35 foot high beacon. It was built between 1801 and 1810 to aid sailors, as this section of coast was notorious for shipwrecks, with over 700 deaths in one year alone. A small headland about one mile to the west has almost identical features, giving it the name ‘False Emmanuel Head’. Sailors would turn their ships to the south at the false head and hit the rocks. It is thought that this was the first ‘daymark’ beacon to be built in the UK. Two further, much larger beacons, were later built across from the island on Guile Point to guide ships into the harbour.


Unfortunately from Emmanuel Head the coastal footpath was on dunes, so we turned inland and made it back to our car just as it started to rain again. Even though our little run was less than 5 miles, it was one of the best runs that I have ever done. Thank goodness that the mainland car park was closed, as a run across the causeway would no way have matched what we ended up doing.

It turns out that the car park had been closed a few years ago by the farmer who owned it, as it was being used by wild campers who were dumping waste in his fields. The farmer had also set up a campsite near to the Beal Barn. Finally, about ten minutes after we set off for home, another huge hailstorm hit us on the A1.