Alastair Borthwick grew up in Troon. He studied at Glasgow and left when he was sixteen. Alastair started working for the Evening Times as a copytaker. After some time, he was employed by the Glasgow Weekly Herald which was smaller than the Evening Times. However, he was assigned better roles, and he wrote on various topics for the front page, children’s and the women’s pages. He was also tasked with creating the crossword.
Mr. Borthwick discovered rock climbing through writing for the Herald magazine. Rock climbing was an activity for the rich, but it started gaining popularity within the working-class and young people. Alastair started writing about the culture of hiking, and it became the main topic for his Open Air columns for the Heralds magazine. The knowledge he gained on rock climbing was incorporated in his first book, “Always a Little further.” In spite of his social status, Alastair associated with common people. He led a simple life.
The first book by Alastair Borthwick was based on the fun times he had when mountain climbing in the Scottish highlands. It was published in 1939. “Always a Little Further” captures the beginning of many movements including the grass-roots movement and the establishment of associations such as the national youth hostels association.
While author of the time wrote about the art of mountaineering and captured elites from well off families, Alastair described the personalities of the common folks, their challenges, and their hiking preferences.
His second novel, “Battalion” was based on the Second World War. He led an army into the war until the end of the Second World War. His experiences in war inspired him to write “Battalion.” For Alastair Borthwick, being in war was a great experience. Towards the end of the war, Colonel John Sym gave him a task of documenting the battalion. Finally, he was doing something he loved.
As the title of his first book suggests, Mr. Borthwick was always moving a little further in his life. Alastair’s books are important for history. One was written during an era of great social changes, and the other one was documenting the last days of the world war. Alastair Borthwick is remembered as a talented broadcaster, journalist and a war historian.