Alastair Borthwick was a renowned and respected author, journalist, and broadcaster. He was born in 1913 in Rutherglen. He spent most of his early days as a child in Ayrshire, a seaside town in Troon. Later, his family relocated to Glasgow. As a teen, Alastair attended Glasgow High School until the age of eighteen.
Immediately after school, Alastair Borthwick joined the Glasgow Evening Herald as a telephone boy, where his primary duties included recording incoming news from field officers. Later on, he was assigned a more involving task with the Glasgow Weekly Herald. Soon, he was promoted to serve as the editor and writer of the Children’s and Women’s Page. He was also placed in charge in charge of Readers’ Letters, Readers’ Queries, and Film Reviews.
It was during his stint at the Glasgow Weekly Herald that Alastair Borthwick became involved with the “Open Air Page,” a weekly edition of the outdoor and adventurous sports edition of the paper. The experience sparked off his love for the breathtaking outdoor scenes of the Glaswegian countryside, which was very conducive for mountaineering and rock climbing.
With an innate flair for writing and storytelling, Borthwick eventually recorded most of the outdoor experiences in a novel, which was first published in 1939. He used his articles for the open air page to write” Always a Little Further,” a story which highlighted the experiences of poor Glaswegians in outdoor activities.
Through the novel, Alastair Borthwick details the blossoming of rock climbing among the unemployed and less privileged youth of Glasgow and Clydebank. The book describes the rise of rock climbing in the 1930’s as a wave of unemployment hit the Clydebank shipyards. Adventurous Glaswegians hitch-hiked North in droves, dossed in caves, and organized themselves into climbing clubs.
Alastair Borthwick was also a patriot. In the wake of the Second World War, He joined the British army against the Germans. In the military, he served in various units, chief among them, the 5th Seaford Highlanders. He traveled with the army through Italy, Sicily, France, Burma, and North Africa. Most of his war experiences ended up in a book, Battalion: a British infantry unit’s actions from El Alamein to the Elbe, 1942-1945, which was published in 1994.
Alastair Borthwick spent his last five years in Beith in a nursing home, where he died in September 2003.