Remembering the Legendary Writer, Alastair Borthwick

After death, some people are remembered for the great things they did. Their legacies live long even after they are gone. Alastair Borthwick is one of those people. He will forever be in our hearts. Alastair was an author, a journalist, a war historian, an organizer of national exhibitions as well as a broadcaster. He is known for his books, always a little further, which he wrote in 1939 and the equally vivid Sans Peurin 1946.


Borthwick was born in 1913 in Rutherglen and later joined Glasgow high school. At the age of 16, he quit school and started working on the Glasgow Herald. It was here that he started working on Glasgow’s blossoming hillwalking and climbing scene for the very first time. In 1935, he got a job at daily mirror in London. He then discovered that he had a passion for outdoor recreational activities like mountain climbing, which helped him write his book eventually.


In his first novel, he gave tales of camping and outdoor adventures. It was based on the working-class Scottish and the experienced man. This was the era when hiking and climbing had initially made its way to people’s ears. The writer described his encounters with different traders and Irish travelers. He also discussed hiking preferences and the egalitarian climber humorously and entertainingly. In another book, Battalion, Alastair wrote about the life of the British Seaforths in Sicily. It majorly discussed the Second World War, which he and other Seaforths fought. In 1945, after the war, Alastair and his family relocated to the Isle of Jura. He began his broadcasting career where he presented the BBC’s Scottish Survey. He produced over 150 shows for Grampian TV. One well-known television story was a Scottish Soldier-a 13-part series where he told stories of Scottish infantrymen.


Even in his old age, this multi-faceted and ambitious man continued to write. He wrote scripts for TVs and did a weekly column for a magazine company, News Chronicles. He and his wife Ann were later taken to a nursing home in Beith where he stayed for the rest of his remaining life. He passed on at the age of 90 years, in 2003. He will be remembered as the journeyman who told heartfelt stories, in both good and bad times.