A BRADFORD printer turned novelist has released his new book to rave reviews, and the true story is sure to leave any intrepid readers green with envy.

Michael Rowland, formerly of Idle and Eccleshill, worked at Watmoughs in Bradford for over 30 years but he has now lived in The Wirral since 2001.

He has based his new book 'Morocco or Bust August '69' on a remarkable road trip he undertook with friends 50 years ago.

Seven young Bradford men, all aged 19 or 20, including Michael, were sat in the Fleece Inn in Bradford on a gloomy night late in 1968, determined to escape the UK and make the following summer one to remember.

They certainly achieved their goal. With only an unreliable van for transport, the group set off across France and Spain to try and achieve their goal of arriving in Morocco, hoping to enjoy the sun, sand, women and nightlife along the way.

The publication of this amazing adventure almost never happened though.

Michael, who is 69, explained: "Steve Wilson, one of the seven of us, met his Scottish wife while we were on the trip and not long after we lost touch.

"About 43 years later, I found him again on Facebook and we got chatting. It was like we'd only been apart for a few months.

"We've been to the Lakes and Scarborough together since and I've given a talk at his grandkids' school in Scotland about my children's books.

"Recently, Steve told me he'd written a journal about our Morocco road trip and when he sent it over to me this January, I thought it would be amazing to write it up as a book.

"It gave me a lot of joy to read through the journal, as there were lots of things I didn't remember.

He laughed: "We set off from Thackley and the van had already broken down by the time we got to Greengates.

"Once we got going again, there were some more hairy moments. Steve got attacked in his sleep while we were in France and we soon found out there had been a couple of murders in that area.

"On our way back through France, we got caught in what is still by far the worst thunderstorm I've ever seen. A tree was struck by lightning about 30 yards from our van and it completely went up in smoke.

"I also got so badly burnt on the trip that I was walking like C-3PO for months.

"It was a tough journey and General Franco closed the border between Spain and Gibraltar in 1969 which didn't help.

"Readers will have to wait and find out whether we actually made it to Morocco or not."

Michael only wrote his first book nine years ago. 9/11: Official Complicity centred around facts and theories of the Twin Tower attacks in New York in 2001 and was published in 2010.

His children's books, such as Christmas Presence and The Key to Survival proved popular too, but he admitted that the new novel might surpass everything else he has done so far.

Michael enthused: "It's only been out for just over a couple of weeks but I've already sold a lot of copies. People who know me in the Wirral have come up to me in the market to say how much they've loved the book.

"I still come to Bradford now and again, as my son lives here, but my wife and I are really enjoying our retirement on the Wirral as it's peaceful and we live right by the coast.

"Six of the seven of us have kept in touch now and we're all still with our wives/partners from many years ago."

A happy, gentle ending to a remarkable tale then and certainly a far cry from the drama that unfolded half a century ago.

Did Michael and his Bradford buddies make it to Morocco? Or did everything go bust?

To buy Michael's book, visit: