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.