“Alastair Borthwick – Undiscovered Scotland”

Alastair Borthwick life spanned from Feb. 17, 1913 to Sep. 25, 2003. He was a journalist, broadcaster, and author. However, he is best known for two vastly different books. The books are considered classics in their respective fields.

He was born in Rutherglen, and lived in Troon before ending up in Glasgow for his high school years. He opted to leave high school when he was 16 to work at the Glasgow Herald. Hillwalking and climbing started to thrive in Glasgow. The working-class population did not initially participate in hillwalking, and climbing activities. This changed when Alastair Borthwick started writing articles in the “Open Air section of the Glasgow Herald. The articles covered the working-class population heading to the Highlands on the weekends.

He started working for a more prestigious newspaper in London. London did not appeal to him, so he left the Daily Mirror after a year to return to Glasgow. He shifted gears from journalism, and started as a BBC radio correspondent.

He published his first book “Always a Little Further” in 1939. The book was a compilation of the “Open Air” articles previously written. The publisher was skeptical about this book. The skepticism stemmed from hillwalking and climbing considered a rich man’s activity. T.S. Eliot’s strong endorsement paved the way for the publication. It continues to be one of the best-selling books in Scotland.

Alastair Borthwick served in WWII on the front lines as a commissioned officer. He wrote his second book originally titled “Sans Peur” and republished in 1994 as “Battalion.” It still receives widespread acclaim. This is due to his unique experience as a front-line infantry officer.

He moved from Glasgow to Jura with his wife Anne following the war. He focused on crofting and fishing for the BBC until 1952. They moved to Islay and then Glasgow until the 1970’s. He spent much of this time producing half hour television programs for Grampian. They moved to a farm at Ayrshire for his retirement years. He spent his last five years at a nursing home in Beith.

Check out his biography: undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/usbiography/b/alastairborthwick.html

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