Famed Scottish author and mountaineer Alastair Borthwick is best known for his literary works. Recording a memoir from the perspective of World War II and during climbing as a sport, Borthwick earned a revered reputation in the U.K. and throughout the world.
As an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), Borthwick’s name is among those few who have received this honor to date.
But not many are aware that it weren’t his literary works that earned Alastair Borthwick the title. Instead, it was his work during the festival of heavy engineering in Glasgow as well as the Festival of Britain that contributed to it.
In addition to that part of his personality, not many people know that Borthwick was also considered a very friendly person. No matter which social class that someone belonged to, if Borthwick struck a conversation with them, he became fast friends with them.
That is why, while most other authors in their climbing stories cater to the words of an elite climber, Borthwick’s book looks like a more honest take on the everyday man’s feelings and experience towards climbing as a sport.
Always a Little Further, Borthwick’s 1939 publication, mostly focuses on his adventures in the Scottish highlands. Whereas, his second book Sans Peur describes an army man’s time during World War II in spectacular detail.
Always a Little Further speaks to the common man in Scotland, U.K., and throughout the world. It looks at the world of climbing from the perspective of an individual that is seeking solace in the sport and not only “trying it out” as a secondary or unimportant hobby. This makes the book such an interesting read.
And it is all possible due to the simple and down to Earth approach that Alastair Borthwick employed throughout his life. He did not only learn from his own experiences himself, but also tried to expand the teachings to those who needed them.
With his many friendships with people on the street, Borthwick showed a kind of compassion that was rare to witness even during his lifetime (1913 – 2003).
In today’s day and age, we can all learn the lessons of being true to one’s self and being kind to others through Borthwick’s exemplary life.