Alastair Borthwick: The Great Scottish Storyteller

January 3, 2019
By Rel

Alastair Borthwick was born in the countryside of Scotland. At an early age, his family decided that it would be best for them to move to the city of Glasgow Scottland where Alastair Borthwick attended Glasgow High School. He did not have a strong fondness for school and so he dropped out at the age of 16 in order to work full time at one of the local newspapers in the Glasgow Herald. This happens to be a fortuitous choice as the organization only had five employees and so Alastair Borthwick was able to work his way up rather quickly. During his time working for the newspaper, he was able to collect stories while walking through the Scottish Highlands working on creating articles for the newspaper.

In 1939 Alastair Borthwick was able to utilize the help of famed poet T.S. Eliot in order to compile the articles that he had written for the newspaper into a book which he published titled Always a Little Further. This book was one of the first books to describe the Scottish Highlands and the activities such as climbing and hiking in a manner that appealed to the common people and not only to the elite of Scottish society. While the book was successful Alastair Borthwick decided to join the war effort and was soon serving in North Africa with the 51st Highland Division’s 5th Seaforth Highlanders.

Over the course of the war, Alastair Borthwick was collecting stories and experiences from North Africa all the way to the center of Europe. He would later be commanded by one of his superior officers to compile these stories that he had collected into a book which he published titled Battalion: A British infantry unit’s actions from the battle of El Alamein to Elbe, 1942-1945.

Today we remember Alastair Borthwick for the ability that he possessed to tell stories. He was capable of transcending mediums and was well known not only as a writer but also as a broadcaster and even as a television personality. He died in the year of 2003 but he will always be remembered as one of the greatest Scottish storytellers.