I Need You!!


I’m working on a new project for 2014.

Entitled Hills, Holes and High Tales I want to feature at least 20 of the best walks the Yorkshire Dales can offer.

So I’m looking for your hidden gems!

They can start anywhere and end in a pub with a roaring fire, a B and B or a wild camp for example.

In fact, the more obscure and unique the better – and two day walks are welcome too…

Of course they don’t need to be epics.

I’m inviting people to suggest their walk and if it sounds like a cracker I will walk the route with you, take pics and find out why it is your favourite.

At least five or so of these wanders will appear in the book.

I’ll also use them in a series of podcasts too.

So what do I need? Well, I need your walks! You’ll get a copy of the book and my undying love in return. I’ll also bring wine gums on the walk and possibly a dog.

Contact me @mascarandy or log on to www.mascarandymedia.com for contact details.


Off The Cuff



I’ve tried not to worry about the reviews for my latest book because for the first time in a while I know the piece of work I’ve produced is pretty decent.

I don’t want that to sound arrogant but sometimes you just realise what you’ve done is ok and this time around I’m pleased with the end product.

I’ve always been the sort of person that seeks out some kind of external ‘support’ and recognition for my work because sometimes I’m not totally confident in my own ability.

I know I can write though and as this is my third published book – my fourth is on the way – I shouldn’t really need that feedback.

But sometimes you need that extra nudge from an external source to just confirm what you know, deep down.

Most writers will check out reviews and the vast majority will take on board any comments that are made.

If they’re good of course.

In the past I would have let the negative ones have more bearing on how I felt about a project – even though the majority of comments would have been mostly positive.

Weirdly, this made me more determined to make sure this book was right.

Yes, I know people won’t like it. There will be fans of Lee who wanted a more linear story and some who will find the overlapping story-lines difficult to follow.

But Briersy played ‘Off the Cuff’ so it was only fitting really that we adopted a similar style. It was never our intention to do that, but it kinda ended up that way.

On the plus side I’ve received comments from some of the most critical of my peers – journos! They don’t give out praise that often, but this time they have.

Nice of them. Shows what free copies can do!

My next project is a biggy for me as it is different from the norm. It’s not sport related, it’s the Yorkshire Dales and my second home.

I’ve invested so much time and energy in to it that perhaps I will need some external recognition of its success.

That said, once it is in my hands, I’m sure I will feel as excited as I did when Lee Briers: Off The Cuff, hit my doorstep.

Check out this clip to hear myself and Lee talking about the project and what it means to us both.

Plug Plug Plug

Off The Cuff

Off The Cuff

It’s only right that I use my blog now and again to blatantly promote and flog some stuff so here goes.

1) Lee Briers’ Off the Cuff autobiography is due out in November 2013 (published by Vertical Editions). It’s been a lengthy process getting it together and we delayed it a year so we could fill in this season. As I write this it could be a great year for Lee that ends up with a Grand Final win. Either way, Monday evening is my deadline so it is all hands to the pump.

2) Yorkshire’s Three Peaks: The Inside Story of the Dales has now been submitted to the wonderful people at Amberley Publishing. It tells the story of the Three Peaks area of the Dales and the people I meet along the 24+ mile route. It’s pretty cutting at times too and the opinions of the folks I talk too quite stark about the future. It is due out in Spring 2014.

3) Attached to the above is a four pack of postcards which highlight some of the areas I have visited whilst writing the Dales book. They are on sale here and proceeds go to Cave Rescue. Only a limited few are left so please help!

4) Follow me @mascarandy on Twitter – it’s wonderful!

Something A Little Different!

Pen-Y-Ghent on a summer's day...

Pen-Y-Ghent on a summer’s day…

So, cliche straightaway… it’s funny how things change.

Last time out I posted some pictures of my solo trip into the Yorkshire Dales. Those images now form part of my project and some are even on sale with the proceeds heading to the Cave Rescue Organisation.

Both my current tomes are doing well and my Yorkshire Dales one in particular has evolved to encompass more of pictures and a bigger visual impact.

An old gaffer of mine once told me I should ‘never lose my bottle…’ – basically if you know you have a talent then you shouldn’t be afraid to use it.

On countless occasions during my Dales project I have indeed come close to using my bottle.

I can write about sport – it is something I do for a living.

It is what I am and it took a fair while of grafting and long hours to reach where I am at present.

I always dreamt of working for my hometown club.

And now players have become friends and I’ve witnessed some incredible moments first hand including cup wins and dressing room celebrations, bus rides home, and yes, a fair few downs too. It’s an environment I’m comfortable with.

I believe you have to constantly challenge yourself and I’m now in that phase of my life. I’m 36 and despite I the fact still like Haribo and love listening to Paramore, I ain’t getting any younger!

That’s why the Dales book is important and needs to work for me.

I need to show I can write on other things than sport.

Weirdly, I’m actually not that bothered about selling thousands of books – although that would be nice – It’s more about proving to myself I can do it.

That feeling will come when it is submitted and I suppose, in the future, when it receives any kind of praise. The book is for me and to tell the real story of the Three Peaks of Yorkshire.

I’m shy, reserved and quite humble when it comes to my own work.

And so the change in structure of the project has worried me as it could move away from my original intentions. But it is something both myself and the publisher have agreed to so I’m not going in blind.

It the meantime I have created this page to show the project and have posted an audio clip too.

Check it out.

Finally, these postcards are on sale now – I’ve put a lot of work into them – so buy a pack and help out the CRO.

Had to change the headline on this one as people were wishing me all the best in my new career.


Dent Head Viaduct in the snow

Dent Head Viaduct in the snow

Ok, so not an update as such, but wanted to share some pictures with you.

2013 has been all work, work, work so far and as I am writing this, there are 101 days until my Dales book is due for submission.

Here’s a few of the pictures I will be using from my last trip to my second home.




Jack, Todd, Jones…. Single, Solitary

One tree standing... and a sheep... and a great view. Jealous of them.

One tree standing… and a sheep… and a great view. Jealous of them.

At times I can be a very solitary person.

I like walking on my own – mountains and all – as well as caving, to rely on my own self and know my limits. People think I’m a little mental as a result and ask me “what would happen if you had an accident” but you never know you are truly alive until you push your capabilities.

Also, I tend to think I know what I am doing…

Society seems to balk at the fact people can operate alone and be perfectly happy. People don’t want to take risks anymore and the health and safety culture, and the fact we are more bone idle, has driven large sections of it never to experience the thrill of the peaks, the rain, wind and snow.

I think that’s a shame but on the other hand it’s better as the fells are free for the rest of us to enjoy.

I feel energised when I come back from trip to the hills and even though I get that familiar hunger pang to be back there almost immediately, it remains with me for a few days.

It’s a hit, a drug, a need. Being on my own there is a symptom of that hit. It’s vital. It’s necessary and prescribed.

Being office based leaves me with cold turkey until the next adventure and new experience.

That’s why writing my ‘Yorkshire Dales‘ book is important for my soul. Without it I would feel lost, without commitment.

2013 will probably be my busiest year to date. I am continuing with Lee’s book, although I have a week to complete the final chapter for now, and I have my Dales project which has proved bigger than I ever thought imaginable. It’s opened my eyes to many facets of the area and also the loss that is being felt ecologically and socially. I am already in mourning and I haven’t written it yet.

Please leave a comment and tell me what you think of how being alone is good for the soul.



After my last project – which is still ongoing – it was always going to take me a while emotionally to pitch into another.

Lee Briers’ autobiography was such an involved book and has taken most of my spare time for the last 18 months.

Now we are on the last chapter and that means I can now finally focus on my Dales project.

That began in earnest last week as I got a week off from the day job to go interviewing, walking and caving in an area I hold close to my heart.

And it worked too. Interviews flowed, as did my literary juices and I feel ready to tackle it head on.

It wasn’t easy… on the first day my new camera decided to purge the battery of all its juice even through it was charged and then two of my interviewees didn’t show to arranged meetings.

However, these were just blips in a superb week.

Now I have a bundle of transcripts to do and even more interviews to arrange – thanks to the people I met on the way.

I will also be podcasting my walk and ramblings for ‘Walks Around Britain‘ too.

I’ve been reluctant to talk about the book to a few people as it is a real labour of love and I didn’t want to jinx it. Once completed, the plan is to give a chunk of the proceeds to the Cave Rescue Organisation too.

So, what’s it about:

The Three Peaks Of Yorkshire – Ingleborough, Pen-Y-Ghent and Whernside – hold a unique fascination and focal point for all who head to the Dales. They dominate the landscape, shape those who work with and around them, and together offer one of the toughest challenges England can offer.

Using the famous Three Peaks Walk as a road map, Mike Appleton takes a tour around this most popular of areas and finds the real story of the picturesque dales. Away from the trudging boots the farmers who have been abandoned by the EU and are left to fight on. The tourist villages still picking up the pieces following Foot and Mouth. The locals struggling to find affordable housing.

But in a time when the countryside is facing a crisis from cuts and reduced spending, he also finds beauty in the labyrinth of passages hidden beneath the earth, how countless species continue to thrive and how those characters of the Dales carry on regardless.

And he speaks to those who are charged with making sure this boundless natural wonder continues to serve its people and the rest of the country for generations to come.

There you have it…