Alastair Borthwick, a writer and broadcaster, was born on February 17, 1913. He grew up in Troon, Ayrshire. He attended high school in Glasgow where he went to live at age 11. At 16, he took a job at the Evening Times as copy taker, then went to the Glasgow Weekly Herald.
His role at the Weekly Herald included editing and producing the children’s, women’s, and film pages. His work led to the discovery of his passion for nature and rock-climbing, and to the writing of his 1939 book, Always A Little Further, seen as portraying an escape from the stress associated with city life. He moved to London in 1935 to work for the Daily Mirror but only stayed there for about a year.
He signed up for military service in WWII and rose to the rank of captain, working mostly as a battalion intelligence officer. Just prior to VE Day his colonel excused him from parades to allow him to write about the last three years of his battalion’s campaign in the war. The book he wrote was praised as a classic of the war literature genre.
After the war, Borthwick and his wife moved into a small cottage on the coast of Jura away from city living and close to nature. That was on Christmas Day 1945. They stayed there for seven years and had a son, Patrick.
Borthwick did a series, Scottish Survey, on post-war Scotland for the BBC on contract for three years. He gained the OBE for work in a presentation on heavy engineering in Glasgow in 1951. In 1952 he and his wife relocated to Islay, then back to Ayrshire in 1960. They spent the rest of their lives there.
Alastair Borthwick for many years, wrote a column weekly, for News Chronicle. From the 1960s he also wrote scripts and presented programs for Grampian TV on a variety of subjects. They included his favored 13-part series of Scottish Soldier which gave the story of the Scottish infantry from the infantryman’s perspective.
Alastair Borthwick died on September 25, 2003, at the age of 90.