Star Gazing Dark Skies
The north west of Scotland has some of the darkest skies in Europe. Fancy wishing on a star , moon gazing or simply watching the sun go down with a glass in hand? Look no further than Skye and Lochalsh.
The show starts, as the sun is going down. In this part of Scotland, we can experience some spectacular sunsets! Great places to watch the sunset include: Neist Point, Talisker Bay, Kilmuir and Trumpan (Waternish).
The Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights is a phenomena that most people would love to see at least once in their life time. Believe us, we get super excited at the prospect too! The good news is that the Isle of Skye is a great place to stand at least a good chance of doing so! They may not happen very often (and we certainly wouldn’t suggest planning your whole trip around them) but when they do happen it is quite frankly magical!
1. Check the conditions
Because the Northern Lights depend on an essential mix of geomagnetic activity, clear sky and darkness, they are more likely to occur between Oct-March. There are a few excellent websites that will send you an aurora alert based on constant monitoring of geomagnetic activity. Do remember that you will also need to keep an eye on the local weather. Very often a sighting can be thwarted by local cloud cover – especially here in Skye!
2. Choose your spot
If you get an alert, and there is a good chance that the Northern Lights are going to be visible, you need to be somewhere with no artificial lights, and facing north. Ideally looking out to sea or from a high vantage point.
3. Grab a Camera
To ‘see’ the colours of an aurora, you really need a digital SLR camera and a tripod. It is extremely rare to see a good colour display with the naked eye. Without a camera, most aurora will be either invisible, or just appear as white lights on the horizon. With a camera they are revealed in all their colourful glory! Glendale Aurora Watch offers some useful tips on capturing aurora with a camera.
Moon and Star Gazing
As well as Aurora watching…. our dark skies will reveal the Moon (of course!) the Milky Way, planets and meteor showers, Much of the nights sky wonders are visible with the naked eye. You can also use simple binoculars or telescopes to amplify things dramatically and see moons orbiting Jupiter or the craters and texture of the moon!
Just remember to wish upon a shooting star!
Cottages for Dark Sky Watching
Enjoy dark skies appreciation from one of the following ‘home from home’ holiday cottages.
Blue Sea Cottage
Situated on the western tip of the Glendale peninsula in the North West of the island, Blue Sea Cottage offers stunning sea views. Watch the sunset from the comfort of your armchair, and make use of the telescope in the sun lounge to watch those planets and stars. Sleeps 4.
On the shores of Loch Dunvegan, The Steading is a spacious holiday home that will suit the whole family! Make the most of the superb views from the picture windows in the living room (binoculars and telescope provided). Cosy up by the log burner whilst the kids let off steam in the games room ( table tennis and mini snooker table included)! Sleeps 6.
This cosy traditional cottage up in the north end of the island enjoys uninterrupted views across the water. Facing west, it is an unrivalled position to catch the sunsets. Maybe even the aurora! Bring you binoculars and a telescope to make the most of those views! 6 Herbusta Sleeps 6