Alastair Borthwick: Scottish Author of True Classics


Author, journalist, and broadcaster, Alastair Borthwick, is a native of Rutherglen, Scotland. He initially got his start in journalism with a job the Glasgow Weekly Herald in 1929 at the young age of 16. Alastair Borthwick began his career by assisting correspondents as they phoned in their news to be reported, but from there he was able to transition into editor of some of the feature pages. During his time at the Herald, Borthwick became aware of the climbing and hillwalking aficionados in the Scottish Highlands and he helped to perpetuate the popularity of these activities by detailing them in the “Open Air” section of the paper.

An interesting aspect of the hiking, climbing, and hillwalking scene at that time was that it was transitioning from something only done by the more financially well-off to a hobby of the working class people. It became an activity that was especially popular with residents of Clydebank and Glasgow who would travel to the Highlands area on the weekends. This pastime was the topic of one of Alastair Borthwick’s books, “Always A Little Further”. This was his first novel and was published in 1939. The book became a classic and has never been out of publication.

A true lover of Scotland, Alastair Borthwick was offered a job at the Daily Mirror which consisted of a huge professional advancement, but it was in London. Despite trying for one year to adjust to the vastly different London lifestyle, Borthwick ended up back in Glasgow and secured a position as a BBC radio correspondent.

When World War II began Alastair Borthwick was commissioned as an Intelligence Officer in the Seaforth Highlanders. His war experience led to the penning of his second book, a work entitled “Sans Peur, The History of the 5th (Caithness and Sutherland) Battalion, the Seaforth Highlanders” which was published in 1946. The work has often been in publication and was most recently released under an altered title in 1994, “Battalion: a British infantry unit’s actions from El Alamein to the Elbe, 1942-1945” which received a significant amount of critical acclaim.

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