Gavin Anderson has been a mountain climber since his early teens, when he went walking with his father in the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh. Since then he has completed a considerable number of Classic ascents in North and South America, the European Alps, and on his home turf in all four corners of the British Isles. His ascent of Alpamayo in the Peruvian Andes, ‘The World’s most beautiful Mountain,’ was a boyhood dream come true . These experiences have been put to good use in the realistic details he has injected into his writing.
Likewise his experiences as a Latin teacher in a private school in Columbus, Ohio, and love of the language have found their way into Mons Graupius, his first novel. His short stories have been published in many journals. For example in the Scottish Mountaineering Journal and Loose Scree. A selection of his short stories have been put together in his first book, “On Belay.” This selection has been highly recommended for the clarity of the writing, and the exuberant creativity of the tales.
Praise for On Belay; “The stories in On Belay are in some cases humorous, others are gripping! They are inventive and written in a most appealing and frank style. I am happy to recommend them to be read by one and all!” Dennis Gray Distinguished English Mountaineer
Scottish Mountaineering Journal; Ian Thow;
“The climbing sequences all feel authentic. The landscape description is vivid and the dialogue is well observed.”
“‘On Belay’ is a top pick for readers looking for tales of true adventure.” Mid West Book Revue.
“The author’s adventures, real or fanciful, and sometimes a mixture of both, had me by turns gripped with trepidation and chortling with mirth, sometimes a mixture of both. A good read.” Ken Jack
Praise for short story. ‘We never knew her Name.’
“A well-crafted and moving essay.” Ian Hamilton. Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal.
“Anyone involved in a mountain tragedy will recognize the feelings expressed by the author. Though few of us have the skills to express them with such sensitivity.… Gripping and exciting writing.” Paul Brian. Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal.
The title of his first novel Mons Graupius harks back to a first century CE battle somewhere in the Scottish highlands. Despite numerous trial archeological excavations no one has discovered the actual site of this battle between the Caledonians (Scots) and the Roman legions. According to the Roman historian, Tacitus, Mons Graupius represented a clash of ideologies between the Scots primitive but free existence against the luxurious servitude offered by Roman civilization in the time of the emperor-Nero. This historical episode has its echo in Moira’s aspirations to be a mountaineer, when the rich spoilt heiress of Italian origin is rebuffed by the plain-loaf outlook of the Scottish Working Class mountain climber. The book describes her rites of passage and the conflicts internal and external that Moira must come to terms with. It is a remembrance of the Calvinistic Edinburgh of the last century, and is at the same time a paean to the beauty of the Scottish Highlands.