Remembering the Modest Nature Author, Alastair Borthwick

Alstair Borthwick is a man who will always be remembered for his great works as a Scottish nature writer who was mostly interested writing about the working class in his country.

Early Life

Borthwick was born in the year 1913 in Rutherglen. As a kid, he also lived in Troon before moving to Glasgow at the age of 11 years. He went on to pursue his high school education before dropping out at the age of 16


After dropping from high school, Borthwick took on a job at the Evening Times as a copytaker. This was before landing a post at Glasgow Weekly Herald. Initially, he was responding to queries by readers. However, with time he was invited to take a number of other responsibilities due to the limited number of employees. This included editing women and children’s features on the paper. This role played a big part in his exposure to mountaineering.

In the year 1935, Borthwick moved to London and began working for the Daily Mirror. However, life in London did not appeal to him. Therefore, he resorted to go back to Glasgow after working for the Daily mirror for only one year. Back in Glasgow, he got a job at BBC, working as a radio correspondent.

The year 1939 saw Alastair Borthwick get a career breakthrough. A piece that he had written for Glasgow Herald, ‘Always a Little Further’, was published. This book was almost not published as the publisher was unsure how people would respond to reading a book about a rich man’s sport. Thankfully, one of the directors insisted on its publication and since then it has continually been published and considered one of the most interesting reads about outside sports.

His Role in the War

Alastair Borthwick signed up to fight for Scotland against the Germans. He served with different units of 1st Highland Division’s 5th Seaforth Highlander both in North Africa and West Europe. He worked his way to become Captain and serving as the Battalion’s intelligence Officer

Alastair Borthwick, Full of Life

The Scottish writer, Alastair Borthwick, was born in Rutherglen, Scottland in 1913, raised in Troon, and moved to Glasgow with his family when he was 11. Alastair dropped out of high school when he was 16 and entered the newspaper industry as a copytaker for the Glasgow Evening Herald. His writing talent was soon recognized and he was soon the writer and editor of its Women’s Page, Children’s Page, Film Reviews, Reader’s Letters, and Crossword Puzzle. The years spent in this role meant that he investigated for a wide variety of topics.


This included mountaineering which became one of his greatest passions. He is famous for his novel “Always A Little Further.” Published in 1939, it was instrumental in fueling the mountaineering craze among Scotland’s lower classes. Borthwick’s book was in turn inspired by the “Wandervogel” movement of Germany’s Weimar Republic. The Scottish movement encouraged by Borthwick’s book coincided with a mass layoff of workers in Glasgow, which he meant that these ex-workers had lots of time on their hands to partake of this new craze.


After a short time, much informal camping and mountain climbing clubs began to be formed. While prior to Borthwick mountaineering did have some popularity, it was predominantly considered the hobby of the rich and famous. His novel was more than a great educational document about this time; it is also full of life, wit, and good humor, ensuring that it would always remain a beloved classic. It was almost not published by Faber and Faber its eventual publisher who eventually did so because T.S. Eliot, who was currently on its board, insisted that they do so.


He fought with distinguishment in World War II. In the many years afterward, he worked much as a radio broadcaster and as a T.V. scriptwriter. One of his personal favorite works during these years was a 13-part radio series he developed called, Scottish Soldier. This series looked at the war from the point of view of the infantrymen. Borthwick spent the last five years of his life in a nursing home and passed away in 2003, almost exactly one year after his wife, Anne. He is today considered one of the most iconic 20th century Scottish personalities.