Born in Rutherglen (1913) Alastair was to go on and have an outstanding journalism career. He wrote publications on the popularization of climbing as a sports activity of the working class in Scotland, and the infantryman’s perspective of the second world war. It is for these two books that he is largely remembered, each remaining a classic in its field.
In 1929, Alastair left school at the age of 16 to work for Glasgow Herald, initially taking notes from correspondence phone calls and later as a feature pages editor. Through his interaction with the “open air” page on the paper, he acquainted himself with the Glasgow’s budding hillwalking and climbing scenes. He was later to write articles about Glasgow’s and Clydebank’s working-class weekend involvement in these activities.
Come the year 1935, and author Alastair joined Daily Mirror in Fleet Street, for what at the time was a step up in his journalism career. The London lifestyle failed to impress him, and one year later he was back in Glasgow working as a correspondent for the BBC radio.
Always a Little Further, a collection of his works while at Glasgow Herald were published by Faber in 1939. Uncertain of the unusual approach of the book to what was a sport of the wealthy at the time, it was only through the urging of one of the directors that Alastair’s work got published. The book has continued to be in print to date, proving to be among the best books written about any facet of outdoor activities in Scotland.
The second world war saw the commissioning of Alastair into the 5th Battalion (Seaforth Highlanders) as an intelligence officer. Having seen action throughout, Alastair was requested to write about the Battalions history after the hostilities ceased. The History of the 5th Battalion, the Seaforth Highlanders is a book that has been in print with a recent publication in 1994, receiving widespread acclaim.
Alastair Borthwick was to settle in Glasgow after the war, engaging himself with crofting and fishing while working as a broadcaster for the BBC. Later years of his distinguished career saw him in television producing programs on a variety of subjects for Grampian TV. You can purchase Alastair’s book on Amazon.