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The Interesting Life Of Alastair Borthwick

Alastair Borthwick
Dec 11, 2018 · 3 min read

You’re most likely familiar with the phrase, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” The phrase is self-explanatory and oozes a sense of commonsensicality. People can master subjects, topics, fields, actions, and sports, but they generally can’t master more than one. Of course, people can pick up more than one hobby, job, or activity, though they’re almost guaranteed to not be able to master them in their lifetimes.

Further, you’re almost certainly aware of the inherent fact of life that suggests there is an exception to every rule. Just like the phrase above — “Jack of all trades, master of none” — there are, in fact, people who can master multiple trades.

Alastair Borthwick is one of these multi-faceted, highly-focused people, or at least he was until his death just over 15 years ago on September 25, 2003. Mr. Borthwick was best known as a broadcaster, author, and journalist. He picked up the trade of journalism in 1929 at the young age of just 16 years! Alastair Borthwick even dropped out of secondary school, Glasgow High School, roughly two years prior to his slated graduation date just so he could pursue his passion for journalism.

The young Alastair Borthwick really loved journalism — let’s try to fathom how much he cared for the trade

Journalists’ primary goal is to inform the public of events, happenings, phenomena, interactions, and other things. Writers, field researchers, filmers, and other flavors of journalists craft articles or even full-fledged books using nothing but their brain, language, and the truth of what they observed. If it weren’t for journalists, we wouldn’t find out about anything unless we experienced it firsthand for ourselves.

Alastair Borthwick began working for the Glasgow Herald, one of the most popular newspapers in the entirety of Scotland at the time he joined, immediately after he dropped out of Glasgow High School at the young, green age of 16.

His first responsibilities were to capture and copy anything and everything correspondents said when they communicated with the Glasgow Herald over the phone. After a number of months, the young, teenage Mr. Borthwick was happy to be promoted to the rank of an editor. As one of a select handful of editors of the Glasgow Herald, Alastair helped maintain the clean, pristine image of the Glasgow Herald for rarely reporting information that was false, misleading, or slanderous.

Alastair was also responsible for editing “Open Air,” a page of the Scotland-based newspaper in which experienced hillclimbers and hikers shared tips, tricks, and experiences related to their hobbies and crafts.

He decided to see what the fuss was about and attempted his first climb when he was just 18. Mr. Borthwick eventually became known as a pioneer in bringing the activities of rock climbing and hiking to the working class of Glasgow and, to a lesser extent, the entirety of Scotland.

The journalist was drafted into the Second World War against his will. He unwillingly suited up in combat gear and pulled his bootstraps tightly together in fighting the Axis Powers, led by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party of Germany. To keep himself going, Alastair Borthwick continued working as a journalist from the field, regularly writing articles and reporting key tidbits of information to inform Scotland about.

After World War II was over, Mr. Borthwick occupied himself primarily by working across both radio and television, effectively leaving his writing career on the proverbial backburner. He also wrote two books.

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