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Glasgow’s West End: Ian R Mitchell: Writer and Mountaineer

Genova – La Superba, Glasgow with sunshine – April, 2017

West Texas Highs; Be In Your Own Movie by Ian R. Mitchell – July, 2016.

Bothy Life 9 December, 2015

Following In The Footsteps of Maclean and Maxwell, Ian R. Mitchell, The Herald, 11 July, 2015

 Glasgow Shawfield Riot of 1725 – Wee Scotch Whisky Tales by Ian R. Mitchell – May, 2015

Ian R. MitchellIan R. Mitchell

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) the book Mountain Days and Bothy Nights which has become a classic of Scottish and international mountaineering literature, being continuously in print for over a quarter of a century. Described at that time in the Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal as the book for the rucksack this year it has remained so for twenty five years. 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. Ians work on Queen Victoria meanwhile was praised in The Times as entertaining, well-researched and by a distinguished historian. Though still a keen mountaineer and hillwalker Ian has more recently developed an interest in urban walking and heritage which new development has produced two books about his adoptive Glasgow. The first was This City Now; Glasgow and its Working-Class past (2005) 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 Ians books to be so distinguished. Of this latter work the Morning Star commented that, Mitchells 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 had published widely in newspapers and journals such as History Scotland, Scots Magazine, the Herald 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.

Ian has completed a biography of Alexander Kellas, the Aberdonian mountaineer who was the first man to die on Everest, on the Reconnaissance of 1921. As well as gaining Ian a return invitation to speak at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival in Canada, in addition to invites to repeat performances at the Dundee Mountain Film Festival (both in November 2011), Ian will be talking about this book, Prelude to Everest, at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, as well as at the Alpine Club, University College and Royal Geographical Society in London in February 2012.

Another project is a travelogue bringing together his Utah experiences, entitled A Sinner among the Saints: Trails in and around Mormon Utah.

A busy man - you can often catch him at Glasgow's Aye Write Book Festival.

Features by Ian on Glasgow West End Website

Glasgow Shawfield Riot of 1725 – Wee Scotch Whisky Tales by Ian R. Mitchell – May, 2015

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.

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 email:
Telephone: 00 44(0)141 353 2292
Flat 4, Gleniffer House
21 Woodside Terrace,
G3 7XH.

Signed copies of his works are
available, post free from the author or you can order them from .

One response to “Glasgow’s West End: Ian R Mitchell: Writer and Mountaineer”

  1. Steve Carver says:

    Hi Ian,

    Dunno if you remember me (and us down in Leeds) but just watched the excellent BBC Bothy-Life documentary. Reminded me of many days (and nights) in wild places and your books. Anyways, just thought I’d say hello and say thanks.


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