Glasgow’s West End: Ian R Mitchell: Writer and Mountaineer
Ian R Mitchell is a long-established author, who has published 20 books which range from fiction, to historical and biographical works, and to mountaineering and travel books.
Born in Aberdeen, Ian taught History for over twenty years at Clydebank College near Glasgow, and during that time wrote a standard textbook, Bismarck and the Development of Germany. He later gave up teaching to write full-time. A lifelong mountaineer, in 1987 Ian produced (with Dave Brown Mountain Days and Bothy Nights which has become a classic of Scottish and international mountaineering literature, being continuously in print for over thirty years. It was described at that time in the Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal as “the book for the rucksack this year”. This was followed by another work with Dave Brown in 1991, A View from the Ridge which won the prestigious Boardman-Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature. Mountain Magazine said the book “celebrates a glorious and honourable tradition in Scottish mountaineering (and) left me hoping for more”.
From his own pen Ian subsequently produced Scotlands Mountains before the Mountaineers (1998) and On the Trail of Queen Victoria in the Highlands (2001) both of which won the Outdoor Writers Guild Award for Excellence. The former book was described by High Magazine as “The most significant book on Scottish mountaineering of the decade”, and the Guardian stated that “Scotlands Mountains would give you much to think about next time you are up that mountain”. More recently Ian co-wrote , with George Rodway Prelude to Everest (2011), the biography of Aberdonian Alexander Kellas, the first man to die on Everest in 1921. More of a travelogue than strictly a mountaineering book, there followed Encounters in the American Mountain West (2012) based on Ian’s great love for and knowledge of the US South-West.
Though still a keen mountaineer and hillwalker Ian has more recently developed an interest in urban walking and heritage which new development has produced three books about his adoptive Glasgow, the most recent being A Glasgow Mosaic (2013). The first was This City Now (2005)- revised and reprinted as Walking through Glasgow’s Industrial Past (2015) of which the Daily Mail said “the warmth and wit of working class Glasgow pervades the books heart and soul”, and Clydeside; Red, Orange and Green (2009), which attracted a Scottish Arts Council grant, the second of Ian’s books to be so distinguished. Of this latter work the Morning Star commented that, “Mitchell’s infectious enthusiasm leaves the reader with the compelling urge to follow in his footsteps”. A further book of urban discovery about his native town, Aberdeen beyond the Granite (2010), was praised in the Aberdeen Press and Journal, as follows, “Mitchell has honoured the spirit of fine, hard-working people with a splendid book”.
As well as writing books Ian has published widely in newspapers and journals such as History Scotland,The Great Outdoors, the Herald and elsewhere, and he has appeared on radio and television programmes on travel and the outdoors, such as BBCs Landward, Country File and Country Trax programmes. He has also lectured to organisations such as the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, the Scottish National Trust and to hillwalking clubs and historical associations throughout the UK on the subject of his books. Ian has further been featured at the Dundee and Kendal Mountain Film and Book Festivals as well as at the Banff International Mountain Book and Film Festival in Canada, in addition to giving many talks during his frequent visits to Utah and the US South-West. He has also showcased his works at Glasgow’ Aye Write Book Festival and at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Ian’s first effort at fiction was The Mountain Weeps, a collection of mountaineering short stories published back in 1997, and recently republished on-line as a Kindle download. This was followed by Mountain Outlaw (2002) an account of the life of Ewan MacPhee, Scotland’s last bandit. Moving off the mountain, in 2009 he wrote Winter in Berlin, a Cold War thriller set in the GDR (East Germany) in the 1980s and is at present working on a contemporary novel, set in Trump’s America, called Ghost Dance, which will be published towards the end of 2017.
Features by Ian on Glasgow West End Website
New book October, 2017 – Ghost Dance, the first Trumpland Political Thriller by Ian R. Mitchell.
Genova – La Superba, Glasgow with sunshine – April, 2017
Glasgow Cinema City Re-born? – Ian Mitchell, April, 2013
The Measured Mile Of Art / Open Doors To Art ….? – new feature by Ian Mitchell, November, 2012
On The Cowboy Trail- Book Preview May, 2012
from Encounters in the US Mountain West; A Sinner amongst the Latter Day Saints, by Ian R. Mitchell – to be published by NWP Publishing in September 2012
Other features by Ian R. Mitchell.
- On The Cowboy Trail- Book Preview May, 2012
- Alex Ferguson’s Govan July, 2011
- Joan Eardley’s Townhead January, 2010.
- Easterhouse – Altered Images – April, 2008.
- John Maclean’s Pollokshaws – On the anniversary of his death in 1923, Ian R. Mitchell looks at the place where John MacLean was born and died.
- Dennistoun: No Mean Streets – 30th October, 2007.
- Unlocking Maryhill – Glasgow’s Venice.
- Around Brigton Cross – Glasgow’s Changing East-End
- The Heilanman’s Umbrella and the Teuchter Trail
- The Gorbals – a look at historical developments in The New Glasgow Suburb
- The Heart of Govan Beats Again Govan – The Pearce Institute Centenary Book January, 2007.
- Between Gorbals and Govan– the centenary of Scotland Street School, part of Charles Rennie Mackintosh Festival. – August, 2006.
- The Paisley Pattern – article by Ian Mitchell. August, 2006
- Govan’s Pearce Institute: Conservation and Social Inclusion – March, 2006.
- Barga, Tuscany. April, 2005. Chianti, Culture and Chips
Ian’s books include:
- Second Man on the Rope, (1992.) “Chris Bonington crossed with
James Kelman” (Scotland on Sunday)
- The First Munroist, (1993.) A.E.Robertson’s life and
- Mountain Footfalls, (1996.) “A masterpiece of its kind, or
indeed of any kind” (Usual Suspects, BBC Radio)
- The Mountain Weeps, (1997.) Mountaineering short stories.
- On the Trail of Queen Victoria in the Highlands (2000)
“entertaining and well researched by a distinguished author”(The
- Walking through Scotland’s History(2001)
- Mountain Outlaw (2003) “A marvellous oddity – a classic”
(Scotland on Sunday)
Ian can be contacted for information regarding lectures,
broadcasts and commissions for articles by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Signed copies of his works are
available, post free from the author or you can order them from
This section: writers
Filed under: writers
2 responses to “Glasgow’s West End: Ian R Mitchell: Writer and Mountaineer”
- David MacLennan
- Maggie Graham
- Brian Hamill
- Paul McCafferty
- Louise Welsh
- Dave Anderson
- Ellen McAteer
- Frankie Gault
- Elaine Reid
- Allan Wilson
- Leela Soma
- John Hamilton May
- Denise Mina
- John Dingwall
- Paul McQuade
- Denise Mina: Writer
- Glasgow Writers: Kevin Scott
- Glasgow Writers: Alistair Braidwood – Scots Whay Hae!
- Glasgow Writers: Theresa Talbot
- Glasgow Writers: Graeme Macrae Burnet
- The Garngad: Heaven and Hell by Ian R. Mitchell
- Glasgow Writer: Stuart Cosgrove
- West Texas Highs; Be In Your Own Movie by Ian R. Mitchell
- Glasgow Writer: James Connarty
- Glasgow Writer: Stephanie Brown
- Glasgow Writer: Samina Chaudry
- Glasgow Writers: Willy Maley
- Glasgow Writers: Stephen Watt, Poet
- Glasgow Writers: Pauline Lynch
- Glasgow Writer: Micheal Norton
- Glasgow Writers: Phil Murnin
- The Carbeth Clearances
- Phil Murnin: Glasgow Writer
- Glasgow Writers: Gillian Mayes
- Glasgow Writers: James Carson