Tag Archives: Alastair Borthwick

How Alastair Borthwick Became Nationally Famous In Scotland

Alastair Borthwick was an acclaimed nature writer and broadcaster. He was born in Scotland and became a writer when he was just 16 years old. His life included writing two literary classics, serving in World War II, and decades as both a radio and television broadcaster. He died at age 90 after achieving national fame.

At age 16 he joined the Evening Times in Glasgow and then the Glasgow Weekly Herald. Since this newspaper had just five employees he was put to work writing multiple features, answering letters to the editor, news articles, and creating the crossword. This newspaper had an open-air page and it was through this that he developed a lifelong passion for rock-climbing and being out in nature.

His first book, Always A Little Further, was published in 1939. In this book, he shared his adventures in nature. Other nature books of the time were pretty dry. His books were lively with comedy, interesting characters, and situations. 15 years later, Alastair Borthwick wrote Sans Peur which detailed his experiences in World War II. This book was as acclaimed as his first one by critics and readers alike.

He moved to London in 1935 and before long became a BBC radio broadcaster. He is best-known for talking about the outdoors but he covered other topics as well. He was very talented at this and nobody listening knew he was reading as he talked. When the war broke out he returned to Scotland and enlisted. He was eventually a captain and served through to the end of the war.

Alastair Borthwick had married just before entering the military. After the war was over, he and his wife moved away from the city to the coast of Jura. They lived in a small cottage for seven years and had a son there, Patrick. During this time he worked for the BBC as a radio broadcaster. He also wrote for the News Chronicle. In the 1960s, he signed with Grampian TV and produced programs covering a wide range of subjects with his best-known one program being Scottish Soldier.


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Alastair Borthwick, Great in War and Writing

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.

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