Scotland’s Alastair Borthwick was an acclaimed nature author and broadcaster. Born on February 17, 1913, he started working at a newspaper in Glasgow, Scotland, when he was just 16. Since the Glasgow Weekly Herald only had a staff of five people it meant that he wrote and edited multiple sections of the paper. The part of the paper he was most drawn to was the open-air page. This page introduced him to rock-climbing which quickly became his major hobby.
He wrote about rock-climbing and these articles quickly became his most popular. Alastair Borthwick filled his writing with interesting characters and situations. He inspired many working-class people in Glasgow to also take up this hobby. Later on, he collected his open-air page writing together and published, Always a Little Further. This book was an instant success and is regarded as one of the best nature books to have ever been written.
Alastair Borthwick briefly worked for the Daily Mirror in London but didn’t care for that city so he returned home. This stint did lead to him becoming a radio broadcaster, though. He was so good at this that listeners didn’t know he was reading from a script. When war broke out in Europe, his adventurous spirit led to him joining the 5th Seaforth Highlanders, a battalion in the 51st Highland Division. After the war, he wrote his second book, Sans Peur. This book has also been hailed as a literary classic, covering World War II from the eyes of a regular soldier.
Post-war, Alastair Borthwick signed a contract with the BBC. His first work for them was the Scottish Survey which earned him an OBE. He also became a celebrated television broadcaster who created programs for Grampian TV. He created a 13-part series, Scottish Soldier, which he said was his favorite.
He was married to Anne Borthwick and they had one son, Patrick. After retiring, he spent his time in a small Scottish village. Alastair Borthwick died on September 25, 2003, just three months after his wife passed away.