Life Around The Map

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Alastair Borthwick was born in 1913 in Rutherglen, Lanarkshire. He worked as a broadcaster, journalist, and author. He spent his childhood days in Ayrshire, Troon. In his early teenage years, he relocated to Glasgow and enrolled in Glasgow High School. At the age of sixteen, Borthwick left high school and secured employment with the Glasgow Herald as a telephone boy. His primary included recording information from field journalists, who called to deliver the news. After working for quite sometimes, Borthwick was deployed to work in the Glasgow Weekly Herald. He joined a team of five editors who were responsible for several editions including the Children’s Page, the Readers’ Letters, Women’s Page, and the Film Reviews page.

Alastair Borthwick was one of the most inspiring writers of the time. His unconventional storytelling approaches became very popular with lovers of adventure, especially rock climbers and hitchhikers. His role as the editor of Open Air”, a page which featured the then prestigious outdoor games in Glasgow aroused his interest in storytelling. To collect materials for his page, Alastair Borthwick had to venture out in the Glasgow hillsides and mountains. Eventually, he developed a great love for the adventurous games.

Borthwick’s first book, “Always a Little Further,” was a collection of the articles he had written for the “Open Air” page of the Glasgow Herald. It is noteworthy that by the time Borthwick was writing the book, there was a radical cultural shift on the place of mountaineering and rock climbing as a game for the affluent. “Always a Little Further” incorporated the elements of this cultural change in its storyline and approach. Therefore unlike the works of that time, Borthwick’s novel glorified a domestic account of mountaineering and rock climbing. In this perspective, the story focused more on the outgoing hitchhiker, who did not belong to the affluent society. His work was a great motivation to the working class and the unemployed of Clydebank and Glasgow.

Alastair Borthwick has also authored a second novel by the title, “Battalion: a British Infantry Unit’s Actions from El Alamein to the Elbe, 1942-1945.” The book is a story of his experiences as a soldier during the Second World War. The story details his war experiences in Belgium, North Africa, Holland, and France among other places. Borthwick died in 2003, at a nursing home in Beith.

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