Alastair Borthwick: Writer, Broadcaster and Adventurer

Alastair Borthwick, who lived from 1913 to 2003, was one of Scotland’s most highly regarded journalists and writers. While he covered a wide variety of topics in a professional writing and broadcasting career that began at age 16, he is best known for his 1939 book Always A Little Further about the then-emerging culture of working-class rock climbing and his 1946 publication Sans Peur, which gave a firsthand account of the considerable action Borthwick had personally seen as a low-ranking combat officer in the Second World War.

Born in Glasgow, Alastair Borthwick, attended Glasgow High School but left at age 16 to work for The Glasgow Herald, which was then a second-tier newspaper. From a humble start writing down the words of correspondents phoning in stories from the field, he moved on to compose pieces of his own. Because the paper was very small, he had a variety of roles, including writing about children’s events and editing the crossword puzzle. He left Glasgow to briefly to serve as a correspondent for a London newspaper, but returned to Scotland when he found the big-city lifestyle not to his taste.

Alastair Borthwick served as a low-ranking officer in World War Two in both Africa and Europe and received praise for leading a battalion of soldiers on a dangerous night mission behind enemy lines. His experiences served as the basis of Sans Peur and sparked a lifelong interest in military history and culture. Following the war, he returned to Scotland where he combined small-scale farming, fishing and broadcasting for the BBC to earn a living.

As television emerged as a powerful medium in journalism in the 1950’s, Alastair Borthwick turned his energies to broadcasting and remained active in the field until the 1970’s. To this day, he is known as one of Scotland’s finest writers and journalists. Here are books by Borthwick.

Recommended reading: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm7360669/

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