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Alastair Borthwick: Father of the Scottish Outdoors


Alastair Borthwick was a journalist and adventure writer for multiple media platforms. He was born in the early twentieth century and died in 2003. He was born in Rutherglen and moved several times through out his life, after dropping out of school to work for the Glasgow Herald

Through his work on the Glasgow Herald’s “Open Air page”, he motivated the average person to embrace activities like nature walks, outdoor adventures and rock climbing. Before Alastair’s influence, such activities were seen as only for the wealthy.

Alastair moved to London in 1935 to work for the Daily Mirror. Though it was an upper vertical shift professionally, Alastair did not enjoy living in London. He soon moved back to Glasgow and became a correspondent for the BBC.

Always a Little Further, Alastair’s game changing outdoorsman book, was published in 1939. The publisher initially gave resistance to the unconventional format of the book, but T.S. Louis himself gave a stout recommendation that convinced the publisher to move forward with the project. 

When World War II was instigated, Alastair was recruited as an Intelligence officer. He served in multiple theaters, to include Italy, France, Belgium, North Africa, Sicily, Holland and Germany. At the end of the war Alastair published Sans Peur, The History of the 5th (Caithness and Sutherland) Battalion, the Seaforth Highlanders, the history of his battalion during the war. This was in 1946. The book has since been reprinted under a different title.

After his service, he and his wife spent the last half of the century in several locations. They started in Jura where Alastair split his time between his passion for the outdoors and broadcasting for the BBC. He soon moved back to Glasgow so that he could help with the 1951 Festival of Britain. In the 1960’s he worked for Grampian Television.

Alaistar spent the 1970’s in Ayrshire on a farm. This was before moving to Beith in the late 90s, where he would live out his final years.