Alastair Borthwick was born in 1913 in Rutherglen and brought up by his parents in Troon, Ayrshire. At the age of 11, his parents moved to Glasgow, where he got his high school education. At the age of 16, Alastair Borthwick started his career in journalism as he was employed to type news stories dictated over the telephone by reporters by the Evening Times Newspaper. He later graduated to a Scottish newspaper, Glasgow Weekly Herald, where he wrote the children’s and women’s pages as well as edited letters to the editors of the newspaper.
Borthwick is renowned for having written several articles on rock climbing. In 1930, his articles on rock climbing were published by Faber. These articles had memorable characters, were humorous, had vivid descriptions, and displayed unique tense action scenes. One of his famous phrases was that one cannot sweat and worry at the same time.
Borthwick professionally had always aspired to work at Fleet Street, which was known to be a very significant location for journalists. In 1935, he went to London where he worked for Daily Mirror but he did not stay long at this place. He left after working there for a period of one year and joined the BBC where he broadcasted outdoor topics and other events that happened in Scotland.
Borthwick’s adventurous spirit moved him to join the Second World War. He spent most of his service in Sicily, Europe, and the Western Desert. He attained a captain rank and worked mostly as a war intelligent officer. During this time, he wrote a widely praised classic book of war. The book had a high level of accuracy, had graphics of high quality, and was filled with ironic humor. Clearly, Borthwick is a man who would find fun in a desperate situation even in war.
Borthwick was married to his wife Anne, whom he had one son with, Patrick. His family lived at the Coast of Jura for seven years, moved to Islay in 1952, and finally moved to South Ayrshire in 1960. Here, he lived with his wife and son for the rest of his life. His wife died later and his son lives on. Alastair Borthwick died in 2003 at the age of 90.