Alastair Borthwick: Timeless Author and outdoorsman

Alastair Borthwick’s experience among the Scottish inspired his adventure in writing and broadcasting. His ability to illustrate circumstances, articulately describing both conquest and fiasco was auspicious. His desire to live in peace beat the chase of fame since he lived quite a simple life. Born in early 1917, he lived and schooled in Scotland. However, he dropped out of school to write for the Evening Times, and after that the Glasgow Herald, the city newspapers. Alastair Borthwick swiftly rose through the ranks, with an opportunity to compile the crosswords at some point. He relocated to London 22 years on to venture into the media, where he started his journey at the Daily Mirror. His career climaxed at BBC where he would write scripts for various programs run on the station.

Hiking and Adventure

Exposure to audacious locals during his job at Glasgow Herald spiked his interest in hiking and highland climbing. Alastair Borthwick ventured into hiking and mountaineering writing, a career reserved for the rich. He pioneered literary hiking for commoners as he wrote hiking experiences common citizens would relate to. He inspired mountaineering among common Scotts since the description and imagery used compelled them into the quest. His literature, including Always a little Further, was the first to give such a wholesome description of a noble climbing experience in Scotland in the ‘30s.


Alastair Borthwick was a loyal soldier and rose through the military ranks during World War 2. He diligently fought towards Europe’s emancipation from the Nazi. He also trooped through the enemy lines in Holland undetected, prompting their victory against Germany. John Sym, Borthwick’s colonel, gave him an opportunity to recount his experiences and memories throughout the war, an opportunity many writers only dream about. He compiled a widely commended war classic, the Battalion, which Max Hastings referred to as, “An outstanding book.” He used deep dialogue among militants as well as imagery to evoke battle heat among readers. The book gave 1st account narrations of the 2nd World War right from the frontline, through the planning, to the ultimate victory. After the victory, Borthwick alongside his wife relocated to Jura. They got a baby boy named Patrick. He ventured into crofting, harpooning while pursuing his passion; writing.