A Classic Author – Alastair Borthwick

Alastair Borthwick was a Scottish author, journalist, and broadcaster. He lived from 17th February 1913 to 25th September 2003. Mr. Borthwick is remembered for several reasons, among them being a holder of the OBE. The classical writer is famous for two books: Always A Little Further (1939) and Sans Peur (1949) later reissued as Battalion. The first book, Always A Little Further is the tale of hiking and climbing in the Scottish Highlands, while the second is a vivid tale of the Second World War from the perspective of an infantryman.

Alastair Charles Borthwick was born in Rutherglen but was raised in Troon and later on Glasgow. He studied in Glasgow High school. At the age of 16, he left to become a copytaker for the Evening Times. He later moved to the Glasgow Herald, where he wrote on various topics and newspaper leads. It was through “Open Air” page in the Herald that Alastair Borthwick was exposed to the famous climbing and hiking culture in Glasgow.

Initially, the activity was popular among the well-off but with time, the younger people picked it up. Hiking and climbing became the focus of his articles which were later published by Faber and Faber. A Little Further was a joyful classic that combined humor, social changes, and a vivid description of the outdoors in the Scottish Highlands. The book is still in print today.

The commencement of the Second World War saw Alastair Borthwick commissioned to different British Army Units. Initially, he served as private in the Highland Light Infantry before being moved to the second lieutenant and later on lance-corporal. He mainly served as an intelligence officer and towards the end of the war, he led a battalion of 600 men against the Germans. It was after the war that he published the second book, Sans Peur.

He and his wife, Anne moved to Jura where he worked as a broadcaster for the BBC. In the 1960s he also worked in television, where he produced programs for Grampian TV. In the 1970s, he relocated to Ayrshire on a farm, before moving to Beith and stayed in a nursing home for five years before his death.

Borthwick on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alastair-borthwick