Highlands & Islands

Astronaut Don Williams recalls dirty farm days

Space shuttle
Image caption Don Williams completed two space shuttle missions

A former astronaut touring the Highlands has recalled his time growing up on his father's farm in Indiana dreaming of becoming a pilot.

Retired US Navy captain Don Williams said there was no reason why youngsters growing up in rural Scotland could not follow in his footsteps.

He is giving a series of talks with former Johnson Space Centre director George Abbey.

Millburn Academy in Inverness and Alness Academy feature on the tour.

The men have also given a talk to members of the Highlands Astronomical Society.

Mr Williams said: "I grew up on a farm in Indiana and had never been in a plane until I went to college.

"I used to work on tractors in the fields. They were hot and dirty, dusty days and when an aeroplane flew by I used to say: 'That looks a lot more fun than this'."

Mr Williams went on to complete two space shuttle missions and spend 300 hours in space.

Mr Abbey had a highly decorated career with Nasa.

It included being given the USA's highest civilian award for his role on the effort to bring the crew of the Apollo 13 mission back to Earth safely.

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