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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 16/07/2019

We've released a new tourism map highlighting Scotland’s links to space exploration and the first Moonwalk on the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11 (16 July).

The Scotland is Out of this World trail is part of our new campaign of the same name which saw BuzzBò, the world’s first Highland Coosmonaut, soar 36,000 metres into near space wearing an Armstrong tartan spacesuit.

We teamed up with Sent Into Space to send up the cuddly toy on his near space adventure. Watch the footage of him lifting off by weather balloon from Gilnockie Tower, the ancestral home of Clan Armstrong. He landed safely near Cranshaws in the Scottish Borders.

Scotland is Out of this World

BuzzBò was named by 7-year-old Peter Lunan and derives from Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the Moon, and the Gaelic word for cow, Bò. The Highland Coosmonaut will be on display over the summer at our Edinburgh iCentre on the Royal Mile.

The Scotland is Out of this World trail features Scottish connections to each planet in the solar system, as well as fun facts and details of science centres and the best places to stargaze.


  • Mars – Glenelg, Highlands: In 2012 the village twinned itself with a geological feature on Mars, also called Glenelg.
  • Jupiter – Loch Airigh, Isle of Harris: The loch on the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides portrays the planet Jupiter in the 1968 Stanley Kubrick directed film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • Uranus –  Braemar, Aberdeenshire: The birthplace of Johann von Lamont, an astronomer and pioneer in geomagnetism, who calculated the mass of Uranus.
  • Neptune – Jedburgh, Scottish Borders: The birthplace of 19th century science writer Mary Somerville who theorised that difficulties in calculating the position of Uranus may point to an undiscovered planet, which inspired the discovery of Neptune.
  • Venus – Parton, Dumfries & Galloway: The resting place of 19th century physicist James Clerk Maxwell, whose name was given to Maxwell Montes, the planet’s only feature named after a man.

The Scotland is Out of this World campaign marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and US astronaut Neil Armstrong’s historic walk on the Moon as well as our own 50th anniversary.

Ohio-born Neil Armstrong was said to be proud of his Scottish heritage. The ancestral home of Clan Armstrong is Langholm in Dumfries & Galloway and in 1972 he become the town’s first and only Freeman, declaring it at the ceremony his “home town”.

Travel guide publisher, Lonely Planet, has identified dark skies as a tourism trend for 2019. Our Insight team has therefore created a research paper examining the opportunities for tourism businesses in Scotland to engage with the trend.

Scotland is home to two International Dark Sky Parks, Galloway Forest Park in Dumfries & Galloway and Tomintoul and Glenlivet in Cairngorms National Park, a Dark Sky Island (Isle of Coll) and a Dark Sky Town (Moffat).

For 50 years VisitScotland has helped position Scotland as a must-visit destination to audiences across the world. It is therefore fitting that in our anniversary year we set our sights even further and travelled into space in what can only be described as a truly ‘out of this world’ campaign.

Scotland is Out of this World offered the opportunity to delve into the past and celebrate the country’s contribution to space exploration and astronomy and its ancestral links to one of the greatest moments in history.

The new trail reveals some of the country’s stellar attractions and locations to visit to firmly cement Scotland’s place in astro-tourism. After all, our best views aren’t confined to our awe-inspiring landscapes, but reach up high into the night sky above as well.

Malcolm Roughead OBE, Chief Executive of VisitScotland

Launching at Gilnockie Tower was a real treat. Not only were the team from VisitScotland a great bunch to work with, but the countryside we crossed in pursuit of our payload is one of the most beautiful and dramatic landscapes we've visited. Once the Coosmonaut was back in our hands, we were genuinely sad to have to leave and head back to England.

Alex Keen, Head of Communications and Launch Specialist from Sent into Space

Scotland is Out of this World was launched at Langholm Primary School in May and is one of a series of activities created this year to mark our 50th anniversary. The Development of Tourism Act came into force in 1969 – the same year as the Moon landing – and an official Scottish Tourist Board was established with government funding.

For more on the campaign and to find out more about BuzzBò’s journey to near space, go to