When we first moved here, we couldn’t believe the night skies especially on a moonless night. One summers night just after we’d moved in, Jackie saw 2 shooting stars from our bathroom window at 3am. A few minutes later, she’d woken Ian up and bundled him down to the courtyard to see the stars and the most spectacular milky way.
7 years on, we still don’t take the skies for granted. Last night we sat in a friend’s garden hoping to spot some barn owlets fledge, and whilst they were a no show (although we could hear them down the lane) watching the stars come out as the sun set was just wonderful. This image was taken from the courtyard of the Long Barn
The North York Moors hosted a zoom conference call this week to update local businesses on all things Dark Skies. Of the various calls we’ve been on, without doubt this had the absolute best title of “Astro-Tourism”.
Our favourite 5 facts were:
1. 80% of people in the UK live under light polluted skies, seeing very few stars and never seeing the milky way.
2. The North York Moors have some of the darkest skies in England; we see thousands of stars compared with a handful in towns and cities.
3. Autumn is the best time to see the Milky Way, Winter for sparking star clusters and Spring for planets and galaxies.
4. Our dark skies are really good for nocturnal wildlife like owls and moths.
5. There are lots of apps which can help you identify the best time to look upwards (and also what you are looking at)
When we set up the Long Barn, we installed as few outside lights as we could to minimise light pollution. Which means on the right night, it is the perfect place to wrap up warm, take a seat in the courtyard, gaze up and watch the most amazing stars.
If your stay at the Long Barn coincides with a good time to star watch, we’ll tip you off so you can sky gaze in comfort. We’ll even share with you our favourite Whitby Mulled Gin Recipe which is just delicious.
We’ll also let you know about the various dark sky events which take place during the year from the Dark Skies Fringe festival in October to the main festival in February. As well as when to look out for the meteor showers; we’ve got the dates for the remainder of 2020 in our diary.
For those of you super keen to find out more, we recommend https://darkskiesuk.org/ and https://www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/discover/dark-skies.