Scottish writer and broadcaster Alastair Borthwick

Journalist, writer and broadcaster Alastair Borthwick has died in Beith, Ayrshire, aged 90.

Although latterly best known as a writer – especially for his seminal book on outdoor adventure, Always A Little Further – he began his career as a news copy telephonist on the Evening Times, Glasgow.

From 1928 to 1936, on what was then the Glasgow Weekly Herald, he took charge of the women’s, children’s and film pages and letters to the editor, before undertaking research for the “Open Air Page”, when he stumbled upon walking and climbing and set out on the adventures he was to describe in his best remembered book.

Borthwick worked at the Daily Mirror for a time before becoming a broadcaster for the BBC. He compered the Matter of Opinion radio show and was front-man for the long-running national series Country Magazine. He was also press officer for the Empire Exhibition in Glasgow in 1938.

After the war, when he served in the 5th Seaforths, he became a freelance radio journalist, specialising in industrial documentaries. In 1948 he organised, with architect Sir Basil Spence, the Scottish exhibit for the Festival of Britain, which concentrated on industrial energy.

He was awarded the OBE in 1951 and continued as a freelance writer and broadcaster. However, he could never find an accommodation with television, although Grampian TV employed his scriptwriting talents from the Sixties and he wrote close to 150 programmes, including Scottish Soldier, a 13-part history of the Scottish infantry regiments.

He is survived by his son Patrick. Ann, his wife of 62 years, died last year.

Hamish Mackay

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