Dark Sky Status Spells a Bright Future

Dark sky shows the Aurora Borealis on Isle of Sky

Two news areas in the UK awarded Dark Sky status by the  International Dark Sky Association

Lovers of the night sky were rewarded this week as Dark Sky status was awarded to the Island of Coll and to the Northumberland Dark Sky Park (a combination of Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water and Forest Park).  Both areas with a good choice of Independent Hostels.

Dark Sky on Isle of Coll
Isle of Coll

This is great news for the hostels located within these areas.  The designation tells visitors that these are the best places in the UK to look at the night sky.  Coll Bunkhouse manager George McConnachie, a member of the Coll Dark Skies Group, said “This is fantastic news for the island and a real sign of the commitment to preserve the dark skies here.  I’ve seen some amazing sights recently from a fireball meteor to the aurora borealis and I’m delighted that Coll has been given this prestigious accolade”. He went on to say “The winter months are traditionally a quieter time for tourism on the island … hopefully … our new dark sky status, will convince more people to come and make the most of our night skies”. And it appears that Dark Skies status has certainly helped improve off season visitor numbers in Galloway Dark Sky Park the first of its kind in the UK which was designated in 2009.

dark sky Northumberland

Down in Northumberland Tarset Tor has been hosting astronomy events are very excitied about the potential provided by the designation as they are located dead centre if the new Dark Skies Park. With an estimated 85% of the population having never seen a truly dark sky it is hoped that these designations will encourage many more people to take a look upwards of a night time.

Existing Dark Sky areas in the UK

The two new areas join Exmoor Dark Sky reserve and Galloway Dark Sky Park.  The tranquil Isle of Man has proved been named one of the best places to view the night skies in the British Isles. Astronomers from the Dark Sky Discovery Network have awarded it 26 designated sites, due to the clear night sky and almost total lack of light pollution. There’s Niarbyl on the west coast, Smeale in the north, as well as The Sound in the south and Sulby reservoir, to name but a few.

Thanks to George McConnachie from Coll Bunkhouse for the Photos.   Here is a page where you can find the details of all the bunkhouses and hostels in the UK’s Dark Sky Parks.