A Little Further With Alastair Borthwick

The famed author Alistair Borthwick was born in Rutherglen, Scotland in 1913. While writing for the Glasgow Weekly Herald during the first half of the 1930s, Alistair Borthwick researched and wrote about many different subjects. One of these subjects happened to be concerning the growing popularity among Glasgow’s working class of mountaineering in the nearby Scottish highlands. The Scottish movement just one iteration of an earlier movement that began in Germany and inspired similar movements all over Europe. 

One thing that encouraged its spread in Glasgow was the mass layoffs at the shipyards which meant that a lot of people suddenly had lots of free time on their hands. In 1935 Alistair briefly moved to London to write for the Daily mirror but moved back to Glasgow a year later to work for the BBC. In 1939 he published his classic mountaineering novel, “Always a Little Further.” In writing it he had used a number of his earlier articles as its basis. A little less than one year later he joined Scotland in the fight against Germany in World War II. 

Just a few weeks before hostility officially ceased his superiors allowed him to start on war memoirs which would be called “Sans Peur: The History of the 5th Battalion, the Seaforth Highlanders.” It has been a huge success throughout the years. In 1994 it was reprinted with the title “Battalion: a British infantry unit’s actions from El Alamein to the Elbe, 1942-1945.” Not long after its publication in just a few months later, Alastair and his wife Anne moved to a remote Scottish island called Jura. The two lived there for several years, during which their son Patrick was born. 

In 1952 the little family moved to the more populous neighboring island of Islay. Alastair and Anne both died in 2003 three months apart.