Editorial – The Scottish Banner Says….

June – 2022 (Vol. 45, Number 12)

The Buchanan and Lady Buchanan.

The Banner Says…

Scotland-Out of this World

As international borders and travel slowly starts to get back to a version of normal we have all been missing, many readers will be considering plans to get them from A to B, or perhaps more likely for some readers from A, or B, to Scotland.

SaxaVord UK Spaceport

A form of travel of a whole other kind has been creating excitement in Scotland itself recently. Shetland Islands Council has approved an application to build a £100m spaceport at the Lamba Ness peninsula in Unst. The Shetland location for the SaxaVord UK Spaceport will be the UK’s first vertical launch spaceport and will be used to launch small satellites into low-earth orbits and used by telecommunications, media, weather and defence organisations. The first launch is hoped to take place in the third quarter of this year with targets of up to 30 launches a year from Shetland, and the first orbital launch from UK soil.

Space Hub Sutherland

Blast off will also take place from the Scottish mainland as plans are also well underway for the £17.5m Space Hub Sutherland, which is also developing a vertical launch site on the A’ Mhoine peninsula, in Sutherland in the far north of the country. Space Hub Sutherland aims to become the world’s first carbon neutral spaceport and hopes to have up to 12 launches a year of small satellites.

Scottish Space Strategy

It is not only the far north which has galactic plans. Glasgow Prestwick is looking to become Europe’s leading space hub. The Ayrshire hub that many may have memories as a transatlantic passenger hub now wants by the end of 2023 to develop and operate horizontal space launch systems for small satellites, which would be the first in Europe to be able to do so.

These spaceports are part of the Scottish Governments Scottish Space Strategy project which is looking to place Scotland as a leader in commercial space development. The Scottish Government has ambitious plans to achieve a £4 billion share of the global space market for Scotland and create 20,000 jobs by 2030. It appears space employment is not as far away for some as the solar system is with a huge increase of 65% in the number of space related business now operating in Scotland since 2016, and twice as many people in the UK space sector work in Scotland rather than other regions.

In this issue

Returning back to earth, or at least the coast of Scotland, this month is the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Stevenson. Though they were in fact related he is not to be confused with the famous writer Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, etc) Stevenson made a name for himself as one of Scotland’s great lighthouse engineers, designers and builders. Robert would go on to build Scotland’s tallest, most northernly and westerly lighthouses and also one of his most famous, and the oldest surviving rockbuilt lighthouse in Britain, Bell Rock. This month we hear from the last lighthouse keeper at Bell Rock.

Hundreds of years in the making and many years of methodical research will see one of Scotland’s largest Clans take a chief later this year. Clan Buchanan is now inviting clansfolk from across the globe to descend on Callander for the appointment of John Michael Baillie-
Hamilton Buchanan as Chief of Clan Buchanan, the first since 1681. We featured the new chief in our pages back in 2020 and look forward to hearing about the inauguration events taking place in October.

There is a reason Glasgow is called the ‘Dear Green Place’ as the city boasts over 90 parks and green spaces. Every time I visit the city, I make sure some of my time is spent in one of the many great green patches which dot the city. Pollok Country Park is the city’s largest and the only County Park to be found in Glasgow. Many will have visited the park as they visit the recently refurbished and reopened Burrel Collection museum and gallery. However, the leafy sanctuary also boasts some amazing gardens and includes the very stately and grand Pollock House.

Lift off

Whilst other locations across the UK are also looking to develop spaceports such as Cornwall and Newquay, parts of Scotland are being seen as favourable spots to launch small satellites missions and who knows if space tourism may one day follow. When people think of space perhaps Scotland does not come to mind, just yet, but with the potential of creating a multibillion-pound industry and tens of thousands of jobs the term “lift off” can’t come soon enough. Scotland’s space industry ambitions will have benefits across not only Scotland and the UK, but the world.

For me I plan to remain firmly grounded on earth and hope soon to lock in that ticket to Scotland, a place that for me remains out of this world.

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