Most individuals consider themselves lucky to write a classic in just one genre. However, Alastair Borthwick created two classics in very different areas. The first classic is Always a Little Further, which was published in 1939. The book focused on a carefree number of years that Borthwick spent mountaineering in the highlands of Scotland. It is full of adventure and humor where he describes encounters with hawkers and tinkers as well as the usual youth shenanigans. The book also includes a journey to Ben Nevis where he boarded a lorry filled with dead sheep.
The classic describes the initial grass-roots movements into the hills of Scotland. Ever since it was published, Always a Little Further was known as a classic of outdoor literature. The book is remembered for its humor, memorable characters and Alastair Borthwick’s vivid descriptions which always made the classic more interesting than other novels on mountaineering and climbing during the time.
At first, Faber and Faber declined to publish the classic because they were not impressed with the new writing style and unique subject content. However, T.S. Elliot, who served as a member on the board of directors, insisted that the book should be published.
Alastair Borthwick’s second classic, Sans Peur was published in 1946. The book is also as popular as the first one. San Peur was written immediately after World War II, and it contains graphic detail and a sense of immediacy. Alastair had experienced a lot of incredible events during the war and was talented enough to recapture and describe this series of events accurately. Sans Peur was well received, and in 1994, it was republished with the title, ‘Battalion: a British infantry unit’s actions from El Alamein to the Elbe, 1942-1945′. The book received excellent reviews and widespread acclaim, now preserved as a non-fiction war classic.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Alastair Borthwick’s books were re-issued, and he enjoyed immense acclaim especially in the outdoor community. He also enjoyed the recognition along with Tom Weir, Seton Gordon, and Bill Murray, who were among the great celebrants of his home country’s highlands.