The Life And Work Of Alastair Borthwick


Alastair Borthwick was born in 1913 and lived until 2003. After his birth in Rutherglen, he moved to the town of Troon as a child, eventually settling in Glasgow. Attending Glasgow High School in the early 1920’s, he left at the age of 16 to work as a copywriter for the Glasgow Herald. During his involvement in the newspapers “Open Air” page, Alastair’s love affair with Glasgow’s burgeoning hillwalking and the climbing scene began. This infatuation is what eventually led to his writing of articles about working class citizens from Glasgow and Clydebank mountain hiking in the highlands during the weekend. These articles would eventually be compiled and published under the title of Always A Little Further. Since its initial publication in 1939, the book has been in continuous print. Many believe that it remains one of the best books ever written about mountain hiking and outdoor activity in Scotland.

During the Second World War, author Alastair Borthwick enlisted as an intelligence officer for the fifth battalion known as the Seaforth Highlanders. His battalion saw combat in North Africa, Italy, and Germany. These experiences are what Alastair would later claim to be sources of inspiration for his writings. Oddly enough, after the war had ceased, Mr. Borthwick was approached by members of his battalion and asked to write a history. Taking them up on the offer, Alastair would later write and publish The History of The 5th Battalion, the Seaforth Highlanders. Throughout its time in print, it has undergone many printings, the most recent of which under the title Battalion: A British Infantry Units Actions from El’Alamein to the Elbe, 1942-1945.

After the war, Alastair and his wife Anne moved to Jura where he began broadcasting crofting and fishing segments for the BBC. These broadcasts eventually led to television in the 1960’s with Borthwick producing over 150 half-hour programs for Grampian TV on a wide range of interests. Finishing out his golden years on a hill farm in Ayrshire, Alastair finally moved to a nursing home in Beith shortly before his death in 2003.


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