Alastair Borthwick: Famed Author And Climber

Alastair Borthwick is best known for the 2 books that he published during his career, Always a Little Further and Sans Peur. While these subjects of these books vastly different from each other, they both became quite popular and still frequently go back into print. He was born on February 17, 1913 and lived until September 25, 2003. He accomplished a lot during his life as a broadcaster, journalist, author, and military veteran.

After being born in Rutherglen, Alastair Borthwick and his family eventually moved to Troon and then Glasgow where he spent most of his life. Until the age of 16, he attended Glasgow High School. He made the decision to drop out in 1929 to pursue his career in journalism. He started off small as a copytaker before eventually starting his writing career. His first position was at the Evening Times and then the Glasgow Weekly Herald as a writer. The Weekly Herald was a small newspaper with Borthwick being only one of 5 people on their staff.

While writing for the Glasgow Weekly Herald, he covered a variety of topics but one of the most popular columns he wrote for was called “Open Air”. In this column, he frequently covered the sport of writing that had started to become a popular form of entertainment amongst the working class of Scotland. Previously, climbing was a sport that was mainly reserved for the well-off in society, many of who were not excited to see their sport become popular with others.

He wrote about these happenings in his book Always a Little Further. Alastair Borthwick noted the social events that had taken place during the transition that climbing experienced when becoming popular among the common people in Scotland. In addition to the documented social changes, the book also took account of the people that he came across and the sport itself.

His second book was published after he served in the military. He served during the Second World War as a private. Eventually, he became a war substantive lieutenant. Sans Peur recounted these times and was recently republished.

You can purchase Borthwick’s book here:

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