Sunday, 19 April 2015

Starry, starry night?

Welcome to one of my occasionally ranty blogs - honestly, I don't do this often.  So what's got me going this time then?

Well, today marks the last day of International Dark Sky Week for 2015 and this picture popped into my Facebook timeline an hour or so ago:

Please click here to visit Thierry Cohen's website.

The "photos" are superb and FULL credit to Thierry Cohen for creating them.  His website is here with more information about him and his exhibition dates - I'm only disappointed he's doesn't appear to be coming to the UK - but that's not what's got me all ranty...

Sunny Whitehaven
One of my snaps - Steve's fab pics are for our book! :-)
Yesterday we spent a fantastic day in Whitehaven taking photos for our book (deadline for the publishers is end of June so we need to seize every sunny day between now and then!) anyway, we decided to head home via Castlerigg Stone circle; we knew there would be no moon so hoped to see a few thousand stars.

To be fair there were a lot of stars, but we were shocked at the amount of light pollution - it's amazing how much glow even a relatively small place like Keswick can kick out.  Much as I love Cumbria the dark skies don't come remotely close to those of Kielder or Dumfries.  What is it with all of the lights?

Dark skies of Dumfries
Street lights every 10 paces and then house after house with external lights blazing away while the owners are tucked up inside with the curtains closed - what's the point of that?  Fair enough if you have an exterior light with a motion sensor that clicks on to light your way along the path to your door or to spook a would be intruder, but why on the whole time?

And that's not even the thing that's got me most ranty - oh no - the thing that has me most ranty is the fact that manufacturers are now fitting nice, bright external lights to caravans so that when people visit a stunning dark sky park like Kielder or Galloway Forest Park in Dumfries, they can camp up and stick their bright shiny lights on all night while they go out.

On our most recent visit to Kielder we stayed on a lovely little campsite and on one night, out of the three vans there (including ours) two had exterior lights blazing all evening while the owners were not even in them.  What's the point of visiting a dark sky park then lighting it up like Las Vagas?

I'm not asking folks to blunder around in the dark, just carry a torch or fit an external light with a motion sensor.  It's better for the planet, it's better for your energy bills and it's certainly a lot better for my blood pressure!  :-)

The only big bright shiny light that should be on all night.
You tell 'em Don.