“The sky grew darker, painted blue on blue, one stroke at a time, into deeper and deeper shades of night.”_
― Haruki Murakami, Dance Dance Dance
Nowadays, unless you are fortunate enough to live far away from any busy roads, towns and cities, it can be difficult to realise just how many stars are actually visible in our night sky!
But don’t worry, we’ve compiled a list of the greatest places to go to enjoy the celestial show and appreciate the beauty of the Milky Way to its fullest! As there are so many wonderful places for you to discover, we are introducing this list as a series. This week we’ll be talking about Scotland!
So grab your hats, coats, sleeping bags and a flask of your favourite tea, hot chocolate, mulled wine or whisky and get ready to be amazed!
THE ISLE OF COLL
There are no street lights on Coll. The island has three places designated for stargazing, although you can enjoy the superstar display from any part of the island:
RSPB Totronald car park, Cliad football pitch (where you can enjoy a 360° view of the night sky) and Arinagour, with spectacular views over the village and the bays
GALLOWAY INTERNATIONAL DARK SKY PARK
First Dark Sky Park in the UK, enjoy over 7000 stars and planets in 300 square miles of forests and hills! Head over to one of the three visitors’ centres to pick the best location for your stargazing adventure! You will also find the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory where you can view the universe through two large telescopes, including a 20” Planewave CDK telescope in a 5 metre dome.Located just under an hour-and-a-half by car from Glasgow, Galloway Forest Park can be reached easily from central Scotland and the north of England.
THE TOMINTOUL & GLENLIVET - CAIRNGORMS DARK SKY PARK
This name should be familiar to many whisky lovers! This place is also the most Northerly Dark Sky Park in the world! Walk along the many paths through the Glenlivet Estate to find the best vantage points.
This location is as breathtaking at night as it is during the day, with waters rivalling with the Carribean seas in colour (although much colder). Luskentyre is situated on the west coast of Harris, in the Outer Hebrides. See the Milky Way with the naked eye and you might be able to enjoy the beauty of the Northern Light if you time your visit just right.
Enjoy this dramatic setting, surrounded by mountains. Torridon is said to have one of the darkest skies in the UK. Take your pick of hills, mountains or beach to get wrapped up and gaze at the thousands of stars above you.
THE MORAY COAST
This beautiful landscape is another perfect spot for stargazing! SIGMA, Moray’s Astronomy Club offers a great wealth of information on stargazing. The Moray Coast is also a great place to spot dolphins as they often venture near the shore.
THE ISLE OF SKYE
The Island of Skye is 50 miles long and the largest of the Inner Hebrides. Great destination for nature lovers, bird watching amateurs and of course stargazers. The best time for stargazing is from September through to April. Glendale is a great place to visit. In fact, the density of stars is so great, it can be difficult to discern the common constellations!
Actually, there are so many great stargazing places in Scotland that it is impossible to do them all justice in one blog, so why not head over to our social media pages to recommend your favourite places? Don’t forget to use our app to find YOUR star! Available on Apple and Android