Facts About Alastair Borthwick

Alastair Charles Borthwick was born on 17th February 1913 and passed away on 25th September 2003. He was a Scottish broadcaster and author whose books documented the popularization of climbing as a working-class sport in Scotland. In the course of the Second World War, Borthwick served with various British Army units in Western Europe, Sicily, and North Africa.

After the war, Alastair wrote his second book, Sans Peur, which was a history of his battalion during the Second World War. Distinct n by retired generals or committees, his book was written from the view of a junior officer who battled on the front line. From numerous regimental histories written at a period in which most climbing and mountaineering literature were composed of formulaic expedition books documenting travels by the well-to-do to exotic destinations, his classic account of domestic mountain escapades “Always a Little Further” became short of being a groundbreaker.

Published in 1939, it clearly described the beginning of the “grass-roots” movement into the Scottish hills by the unemployed and working-class of Clydebank and Glasgow. Initially driven by the “Wandervogel” movement prospering in Germany’s Weimar Republic, a wave of interest in hiking and climbing had grown across northern Europe eventually resulting in the development of national youth hostels associations.

Whereas other writers such as W.H.Murray and J.H.B Bell decided to document the events of the mountaineering elite and focused on the climbing itself, Borthwick recorded the personalities among the new breed of underprivileged egalitarian climbers and “gangrels of all sorts.” Illustrations of encounters with tinkers and hawkers, tramps, and funny hitch-hiking accounts made his book a classic of its genre.

Apart from being a proficient author, he was also a television and radio broadcaster where he wrote and presented programs on various topics. Therefore, it can be deduced that Alastair Borthwick was an author whose contributions have gone a long way in revolutionizing how people document events.

Helpful reference: https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/usbiography/b/alastairborthwick.html

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