Now available! ‘The Sunny Side of the Alps: From Scotland to Slovenia on a Shoestring’ has been published by Ant Press. Buy it here:  
The Sunny Side of the Alps

Stormy Weather

With an orange weather warning being toted across the whole country we are once again experiencing the brutal onslaught of another Atlantic gale (Storm Ciara) here in Ireland. 

After our 16 years in Slovenia, we’d pretty much forgotten the power of the westerly gales that regularly pummel Ireland and the UK. One of the first things we’d noticed about the weather in Slovenia was the lack of strong wind. Having come from the west coast of Scotland, it seemed quite novel to open the car door without risk of it being blown off its hinges! There was no need to wear windproof jackets and, when it rained in Slovenia, most folk just unfurled their umbrellas. An umbrella on Scotland’s west coast would be whipped inside out and turned into a kite without a string before you could say ‘supercalifragil-….’ See, I told you!

So far, we’ve been lucky here at McCann’s Farm and have not had suffered any serious storm damage. Soon after we arrived in Ireland, storm Ali flipped the metal roof off our hay barn (see pic). It had already been terminally damaged by storm Ophelia before we arrived, and storm Ali just finished the job. I was consoled when a friend remarked that Ali had done the work of tidying it up for me!

Although these westerly storms can be worrying, particularly the anticipation of property damage, the child in me is excited and fearful at the same time. 
I remember feeling that excitement and fear during a long difficult climb one winter on Ben Nevis. A powerful storm was forecast for the afternoon and I  and a climbing friend from Glasgow had reasoned that we should be finished and on our way back down by lunch time if all went well. The climb did go well, but as we began the last pitch we suddenly found ourselves being pinned against the wall of snow and ice by roaring gusts of wind.The storm had arrived early and it wasn’t taking prisoners. Loud snapping sounds filled the air as the wind cracked its whip hard against the rock. It was an unusual and unnerving noise and not one that I’d heard before in the mountains. Topping out onto the summit plateau, we could barely stand between gusts and had to crawl on hands and feet to reach the summit shelter for some brief  respite before making the long and arduous descent in wild conditions.

Just right now though, I’m going to top my tea up as I look out the window from a warm room as storm Ciara does its worst…    


Now available! ‘The Sunny Side of the Alps: From Scotland to Slovenia on a Shoestring’ has been published by Ant Press. Buy it here:  
The Sunny Side of the Alps

McCann’s Farm

After sixteen years living in Slovenia, we have now been in Ireland for sixteen months. The circumstances that conspired to lead Justi and myself here make us feel both baffled but extremely grateful. That as they say though, is another story, and I’ll be telling that one in book number three.

We are now the guardians of a small bungalow on just under 2 acres of land in Co. Mayo. Our goal is to turn most of the land into a wild haven for local wildlife and keep about a third for ourselves to grow vegetables.
So far we’ve planted 100 native trees and will be planting another fifty next month. Our lovely neighbours gave us a polytunnel that they were no longer using, and we were able to grow fourteen types of veg in it in our first year.  It wasn’t all smooth running though as we are on a steep learning curve regarding the vagaries of the Irish climate. Our potatoes got blight and several times we worried that the polytunnel would end up in another county during each of the ‘named storms’ that blast in from the Atlantic like howling banshees.

Next to our house stands a derelict cottage and several stone outbuildings. Whenever I ‘go missing’ for long periods of time, the cottage is the first place Justi looks. I was excited about the cottage as soon as I first saw it on the auctioneers website. It’s become my dream (obsession : Justi) to make it into a warm dry workshop/art studio.
With the risk of becoming a cottage bore, I’ll let you know how that project unfolds in future blogs.

Right now though I’m trying to batter my self into shape having committed to an endurance race and cycle sportive in May.  I’ve got to shed the kilos accumulated through noshing umpteen Toffee Crisps, Bakewell tarts, tikka pasties and other treats that I missed for sixteen years!


Hello, my name’s Roy and I was born and brought up in Liverpool UK. After discovering hills and adventure on trips into nearby North Wales, I moved to the Scottish Highlands with its abundance of knobbly mountains. That’s where I met Justi and eventually we moved to Slovenia with its even bigger knobbly Julian Alps.

After living in Slovenia for sixteen wonderful years we moved to Ireland where we have now lived for sixteen months. Ireland’s hills are slightly less knobblier but still provide plenty of adventure with their often remote locations and trackless ascents.

On the whole, It’s been surprisingly easy to adjust to our new home and I believe that’s mainly down to the friendly nature and welcome we have received from the local people.

I miss many things about Slovenia, not least the hot summers and the deep snow of Alpine winters, but even the wet Irish climate has its plus side. Our first view on our first morning here in Ireland was of a rainbow and a fox standing on our garden wall picking berries from a dripping wet Rowan tree.

I’m looking forward to sharing some of our past experiences and ongoing adventures with you through this blog.


Due soon: ‘The Sunny Side of the Alps’ to be published by Ant Press.


Welcome to the blog. I hope to keep you updated on the progress of publishing the adventures Justi and I have had in moving from Scotland to Slovenia, and then again to Ireland.

The first book – The Sunny Side of the Alps – is due out shortly, and covers the move from Scotland to Slovenia.