Looking for a holiday break with a difference? Wanting to get out and learn something new or get out into the landscape, check out what Ennerdale in the heart of the Western Lake District has to offer. Visitors can drink in the stars at the next Dark Skies weekend in the valley, between the 17th February and the 20th February.
Lovely, dramatic Ennerdale is already the centre of a wilderness experiment. Now astronomers and other stargazers are heading to the shores of the lake. The valley is England’s remotest, quietest and least inhabited valley, nestling at the foot of Pillar, Steeple and Red Pike some of the Lake District’s most romantic fells. But this lovely secluded valley is also home to the North West’s first Dark Skies Discovery site.
At Low Gillerthwaite Fold Field Centre, visitors can view an astronomic treat in the form of the ‘Milky Way’, meaning that on a clear night, they will see the full spectacle of our galaxy stretching across the night sky in a silvery band. As part of the Dark Skies weekend, The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) will be erecting their Starlab Planetarium in the barn at the field centre. Chris Darwin from the Cockermouth Astronomical Society will also be on hand to help visitors explore the universe, using illustrated digital presentations.
Visitors can drink in the stars at the next Dark Skies weekend, being held between the 17th February and the 20th February, anyone is more than welcome to attend. It is recommended you walk to the site (a 2 mile stroll) as there is limited vehicle access for conservation reasons. Please note vehicle access is only permitted to Low Gillerthwaite if you are making a weekend of it and staying in one of the five dormitories at the Field Centre, or for the hardier souls camping on site and sampling a night literally under the stars.
For those after a few more creature comforts you could book into the Fox and Hounds, Ennerdale Bridge, an 18th Century traditional Lakeland pub. The inn is run by the local community and you are guaranteed to enjoy genial hospitality and a lively atmosphere in the company of true locals.
The Cumbrian night sky above Ennerdale is particularly special due to the lack of municipal lighting and it’s mountainous setting, and because of this the area is already receiving recognition as a site of special interest for night sky observation and astronomy and gives people of all ages the opportunity to appreciate the wonders of the universe and our place in it. It’s the perfect spot for a bit of star gazing.
To find out more about the Western Lake District, its food, activities and accommodation visit www.western-lakedistrict.co.uk to find out more about the Fox and Hounds visit www.foxandhoundsinn.org to find out more about the Ennerdale and its Dark Skies Discovery site and future Dark Skies events visit www.lgfc.org.uk