Alastair Borthwick’s Life and Legacy

Born in Rutherglen in February 1913, Alastair Borthwick lived to be 90 years old. He passed away in September of 2003, but he left behind a legacy of works. He wrote two books, one of which, Always A Little Further, is still one of the best books about outdoor activities in Scotland. He was also a broadcaster for BBC, and produced 150 programs for Grampain TV.

Alastair Borthwick spent his childhood in Rutherglen, Troon and Glasgow. There he went to Glasgow high school. In 1929, at the age of 16, he left school to work at the Glasgow Herald. Although he began copying down what correspondents phoned in, he was able to later be an editor for some of the feature pages of the Glasgow Herald. It was there that he became involved with the Open Air page, which began his involvement in the hill walking and climbing scene. This lead to his book Always A Little Further.

He was an intelligence officer during the second world war. Alastair Borthwick saw action in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. His second book came after the war, when he was asked to write a history of his battalion. He titled it Sans Peur, The History Of The 5th (Caithness and Sutherland) Battalion, The Seaforth Highlanders. In 1944 it began to have widespread acclaim.

He continued to broadcast for BBC until the 1960s, when he began producing half hour programs for Grampain TV, on a number of topics. Although he and his wife, Anne, moved around they ended up back in Glasgow until the 1970s. When they then moved to Ayrshire, where he lived until he was moved to a nursing home 5 years before his death. Throughout his life, Alastair Borthwick created, and he left behind a legacy of works that are still known today.