Although gone, Alastair Borthwick is far from being forgotten. His reputation mainly stems from being an avid writer who managed to pen two acclaimed books including Always a Little Further and Sans Peur. The impressive bit about the two masterpieces is that they do not belong to the same field, yet they manage to vividly capture whatever Alastair Borthwick intended to pass to his readers.
Alastair Borthwick went outside the norm by writing Always a Little Further, which until now is nothing short of a classic book. In fact, at the time the only available mountaineering and rock climbing literature could be found in expedition books, whereby the well-off narrated their travels to exotic destinations.
Always a Little Further mainly touches on domestic mountain adventures. Alastair Borthwick managed to explore the start of unemployed and working-class people from Clydebank and Glasgow moving into the Scottish Hills. At first, this movement was stirred by the “Wandervogel” movement, which was taking shape in the Weimar Republic of Germany.
The Wandervogel movement entails a wave of climbing and hiking enthusiasm that spread all over northern Europe by the start of the 1930s. In Scotland, mass unemployment in the shipyards of Clydebank triggered the massive interest in hiking and climbing, as the able women and men had access to mountains and time to spare. Alastair Borthwick focused on the new breed of impoverished, carefree climbers as opposed to other writers such as J.H.B. Bell and W.H. Murray who not only documented the accounts of the mountaineering elite only but also concentrated on climbing itself.
About Alastair Borthwick
The late Alastair Borthwick was a renowned broadcaster and author. Alastair Borthwick’s career as a writer started at the Glasgow Weekly Herald, where he wrote on a wide array of topics including the children’s and women’s pages, front page leads and coming up with the crossword. His first book, Always a Little Further, became published in 1939. After participating in the Second World War, Borthwick penned his second book titled Sans Peur (1946), which was later reissued as Battalion back in 1994. He died on September 25, 2003, in Beith, Ayrshire, where he had lived for the last 30 years of his life.