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Do you have a keen interest in stars, constellations, and the night sky, or do you just appreciate its beauty?  In the Scottish Highlands, you’ll see stars like you’ve never seen before.  Due to almost no light pollution, in the Highlands you get a better chance to see the night sky dance and play right before your eyes.  Wherever you are in the Highlands you’ll get a great starlight show on the canvas of a dark night.  Here are a few places that are known as stargazer hotspots.

The Moray Coast

Just north of Inverness, Moray is a location with many evenings of dark skies.  The views from the coastline can be clear and dark which is ideal for Aurora watching and general star gazing.  A popular spot is Alturlie point where displays of the northern lights can be seen.  Moray even have an astronomy club, SIGMA, where you will find help to accentuate your stargazing experience.   Further down the road there is the Jim Savage-Lowden Observatory, home of the Highlands Astronomical Society, located near the site of Culloden battlefield.  The society regularly open their observatory to the public when the skies are dark around each new moon.  The location makes for a great stargazing experience.

Isle of Skye

It’s quite easy to find yourself in ideal stargazing locations on the Isle of Skye.  This is due to very little light pollution.  Sporting nine strategically placed Dark Sky Discovery Sites across the Isle of Skye, each as breath-taking as the next.  The stars are thrown across the jet-black skies like a net, mixing with planets and satellites, all dancing around the moon.  This is an experience you will not regret while on the Isle of Skye.  Finding the sites is easy, in the northwest area there are 3 sites around Waternish.  Another near Broadford, and a further 2 at Kylerhea and Kinloch Forest.  The remaining three sites are on Clan Donald land at Armadale in the southwest of the island.

Glen Nevis

Glen Nevis is also a Dark Sky Discovery Site with many options for stargazing locations.  On the doorstep to Ben Nevis and Fort William, it can be surprising how close you are to civilisation once there.  Starting at the visitor centre and leading onto the rugged environment surrounded by the glen, this means the location is ideal for jet-black night skies.  The stars beaming beautifully with the wonder of the mountains below.  It’s easy to see why this is a popular location for all stargazers.

The Torridon

Our sister hotel, the Torridon, has just launched their stargazing and astronomy experience with a local astronomer Stephen Mackintosh. Available between September – March, this experience is suitable for beginners, amateurs, and aficionados.  The Torridon is classified as a ‘Bortle 1 or 2 location’ meaning that it is amongst the darkest locations on earth and you can experience views of the Milky way and thousands of naked eye stars.  For more information on the stargazing experience, read a blog post from Stephen Mackintosh, or contact the Torridon directly.

Another way to enjoy Scotland’s dark nights is to wild camp.  Wild camping is allowed in Scotland, this means you can get off the beaten track and sleep under the stars.  If it’s a clear night sky then that means it’s going to be a cold night’s experience so make sure you wrap up warm.  There are many remote and quiet locations to choose for camping and stargazing, just remember that you must respect your surroundings and other people looking for the same experience.

If you’re staying with us and planning your stargazing adventure, why not pick up a packed lunch from our Brasserie to take on your journey or enjoy a glass of wine by the fire from our Waypoint Bar when you return.

The Lovat Loch Ness, the perfect place to… Plan a stargazing experience


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Post by Dan Mitchell

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