Dark Skies

Dark Skies

On 16th November 2009, after months of preparation, the first Dark Sky Park in the UK was awarded to the Galloway Forest Park, by the International Dark Sky Association. The award was set up to encourage a reduction in light pollution, and raise awareness about the adverse effects of light pollution and the solutions.

Due to the remoteness of the area, and the trees, the quality of darkness in the park is almost perfect, with sky quality metre readings of between 21 and 23.6 (perfect being 25). This allows stargazers to see much more than they would in many parts of the country. The core area of the park consists of the high unplanted hills: Shalloch (542m), Shalloch on Minnoch (768m), Macaterick (499m), Tarfessock (696m), Kirriereoch Hill (786m), Mullwharchar (692m), Merrick (843m), Benyellary (719m), Bennan (562m),
Buchan Hill ( 493m), Lamachan Hill ( 716m) and Larg Hill (675m). However there are viewing sites that don't require climbing around on a mountain in the dark. (see below)

A map of where the best viewing points can be seen at:- http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/Darkskiesparkboundaryandsites.pdf/$FILE/Darkskiesparkboundaryandsites.pdf (it is a fairly large file and may take some time to download).

1. Galloway Red Deer range car park
2. Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre car park
3. Glentrool Visitor Centre
4. Bruce's stone car parks
5. Caldons woodlands
6. Kirroughtree Visitor Centre
7. Loch Braden car park
8. Loch Doon West end car park
9. Talnotry
10. Raiders road west end car park

There is an observatory at Glenamour which is off the A712 near the Newton Stewart end, at NX445675.