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“Space” chillis to be harvested at festival

An astronomical harvest will help make Langholm Chilli Festival “Singh” this month.

A package of chilli seeds from the Langholm Chilli Club were carried by the world’s first Highland Coosmonaut, BuzzBò, when he soared 36km into “near space” to celebrate Scotland’s connection to the first Moonwalk.

He lifted off by weather balloon from the ancestral home of Clan Armstrong, Gilnockie Tower in Langholm in 2019 and landed safely near Cranshaws in the Scottish Borders.

It was all part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Apollo 11 mission and of national tourism organisation, VisitScotland.

The seeds were returned to the Langholm club which has helped the town earn the title of “Chilli Capital of Scotland”.

It is estimated that around 350 households are now growing chillies in the Muckle Toon.

And their labour of love in sowing the seeds and nurturing them into productive plants has paid off as they now have “space” chillies ready to harvest for the festival whose special guest will be celebrity chef, Tony Singh.

He was given a sample of the Langholm chillies which were delivered to his renowned Edinburgh street food café, Radge Chaat, by toy Highland cow BuzzBò himself.

Tony said: “I was over the moon to meet BuzzBo and have the opportunity to sample the amazing cosmic-chillies sent up from Langholm.

“Scotland’s cuisine is already out of this world, but these chillies have cemented this fact. They might even make a debut in our chilli-cheese samosas.

“I’m looking forward to meeting up with BuzzBo at Langholm Chilli Festival later this month.”

Paula Ward, regional director at VisitScotland, said: “Langholm is such a special place with a strong community spirit which is encapsulated in the story of the Langholm Chilli Club and the mark it has made on the town.

“When planning to send our intrepid Highland Coosmonaut into near space we felt it only fitting that he take something from Langholm on his trip – and what better than chilli seeds from Scotland’s Chilli Capital.”

Mark Hodgson, inset, from Langholm Chilli Club said: “We have members growing chillies right across the world and now with the support of BuzzBò and his space chillies, we have been able to surpass our ambition and include ‘out-of-this-world’ chillies as part of our festival this year.”

Langholm Chilli Festival takes place on October 23.

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