Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a haggis plummeting back down to earth after hitting stratospheric heights.
A Perthshire butcher is toasting to a successful mission after attempting to launch a haggis into space for the first time.
Simon Howie has taken Burns Night celebrations to new heights this year as the product was shot into the air reaching 107,293 feet (20 miles) above the earth.
Reaching stratospheric heights, the traditional Scottish dish travelled the equivalent of nearly four times the height of Everest, or 3.5 times higher than a jumbo jet flies.
The original 454g haggis took off from Simon Howie’s headquarters in the small village of Dunning before travelling over Stirling, Falkirk, Edinburgh, and the Pentland Hills, before its safe landing in Lauder in the Scottish Borders.
In the video, viewers can see at least as far as 250 miles away and at parts can make out Dundee, St Andrews, Stirling, Glasgow, Stranraer, the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland and down to Blackpool, Manchester and Liverpool.
Watch as the first haggis makes its way to space
Working with Stratonauts, Scotland’s leading near-space education, marketing and research provider, the teams managed to fly the haggis to the edge of space where the balloon popped. It plummeted to the earth at 200 miles an hour before the parachute took over.
This isn’t the first time the firm has taken the humble haggis to new heights having previously hosted the world’s highest Burns Supper on the top of Kilimanjaro in 2010.
Simon Howie, owner of the firm said: “Every year we try and do something different. We were really excited about it and no one else has done it – send a haggis to the edge of space. There was no guarantee on where it was going to land – it wasn’t like a rocket that you knew where it would end up.
“It took just over two and a half hours to go up and then come back down. You could see the curvature of the earth at one point which was incredible.
“We didn’t know how high it was going to go. The balloon could have easily burst but we were lucky with the weather. The balloon also ended up expanding to 10 metres wide with the gas inside and then it burst.
“I started as a local butcher in the village and now we’re selling a million haggis in January. The first year we supplied the supermarkets was 1999 and we did 30,000 in January and thought we had touched the stars – it was a massive deal to do that much for Burns. Our success is absolute testament to my hard-working team and the strength of relationship that we have with all the retailers
“It feels so satisfying and amazing to send it into space and the team will really be thinking about what they can do next year to top this!”
The “space haggis” has been transported back to the company’s headquarters where it will be preserved for years to come as the first haggis in space.
Lewis Campbell, director at Stratonauts added: “Launching from Dunning was challenging due to the winds as we needed to ensure a safe retrieval of the footage and of course the “space haggis” itself. Having monitored the weather for weeks a window of opportunity finally presented itself, and what a window it turned out to be. Perfect conditions.
“After reaching over 107,000ft with views of at least 250 miles, the haggis then fell to Earth at nearly 200 miles an hour before the parachute took over – meaning it is also probably the fastest haggis in the world too! We are delighted to have worked with Simon Howie on this flight to the Edge of Space and to fly a haggis to such great heights in celebration of Burns Night 2021.”