The Life And Times Of Nature Author And Broadcaster Alastair

Alastair Borthwick was a Scottish nature author and broadcaster. Born in 1913, he grew up in Rutherglen, Troon, and then Glasgow. Dropping out of school when he was 16, he started working in the newspaper industry as an editor and writer. He went on to write two of the most acclaimed books in Scottish history.

His first book, Always a Little Further, was a collection of his newspaper articles about his adventures in the Scottish Highlands. As a teenager, Alastair Borthwick became very intrigued with rock climbing. He wrote about this activity along with the personalities he met. With Scotland in the depths of the Great Depression, people without jobs took to the Highlands because it was inexpensive entertainment. So, he had a large cast of characters to write about. This book is regarded as a joyous classic.

In 1935, he joined Fleet Street in London to advance his career. He only stayed until 1936 because he was disappointed by the experience. However, a career as a radio broadcaster for the BBC came out of this journey. Alastair Borthwick showed a natural flair for the spoken word while sharing stories about the outdoors, mainly that of Scotland. 

When World War II broke out, he decided to sign up to fight the Axis powers. His served Scotland in Sicily, the Western Desert, and Europe. He attained the rank of captain and, in 1945, led a battalion of 600 soldiers behind enemy lines. His battalion caught the German by surprise, having dug in behind them.

In exchange for getting to miss parade drills, he wrote his second book, San Peur. This book covered the history of his battalion’s activities in the war. This book was widely praised. It provided an accurate and visceral depiction of what it was like to serve in the war from the view of an enlisted soldier.

After the war, Alastair Borthwick continued to work as a broadcaster, including on TV. Along with his wife, Anne, he moved away from Glasgow and settled in a cottage of coast of Jura. They both passed away in 2003.

The Humble Life Of Alastair Borthwick

Always a little farther was not only the title of the book that made Alastair Borthwick a Scottish icon, it was also the way of life that he embraced. His adventures took him from the highest Scottish mountains to the frontlines of war. Alastair and his wife Anne saw many a mountain, vast shores, and cityscapes that took breath away. They lived a full life that was simple and peaceful.


Alastair Borthwick found his niche primarily in radio broadcasting. He started out after a simple on air interview about mountaineering. This turned into weekly broadcasts that held the BBC and it’s audience captive. As his career grew he realized the need to serve a greater purpose. This led to Alastair enlisting and joining the fight against the Germans in WWII.


In the military Alastair Borthwick quickly rose up through the ranks to attain the rank of Captain. He served in a number of units, but was primarily charged to the 51st Highland Division’s 5th Seafort Highlanders. He garnered significant experiences that ultimately gave reference to his second literary success.


His love of the outdoors and prowess in nature allowed Mr. Borthwick to lead units through rough terrain to gain advantage over enemies in war. He is once known as commenting that he knew all those days in the highlands would pay off. They certainly did as he and his unit were able to pass undetected to make camp behind the enemy.


Once WWII was over he decided to move with his wife to the Scottish shore. There they would enjoy the peace of nature without the disturbance of other people. It was there that Alastair and his wife Anne had their son. They would soon move away from the shore to a mountain farm.


Alastair died at the age of 90. He will always be remembered as a man that went as far as he could and then pushed himself one step farther. He became a Scottish icon and was well loved and respected by those who knew him. He was a very gifted, yet humble individual.