The Highlands of Scotland boast some of the darkest skies in Europe with Milky Way class observing from dozens of natural and rugged wilderness locations.
Highland Astronomy Tours is offering a special weekend stargazing break, on October 21st and 22nd 2017, at The Steadings at the Grouse and Trout, a 3* gold country hotel, situated near Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands.
The weekend will be hosted by astronomer Stephen Mackintosh, who will be on hand during both evenings of your stay for talks, informal Q&A and professional outdoor excursions under the stars. Stephen’s guiding will teach you how to navigate your way through the heavens with the naked eye, binoculars and with a sophisticated live video telescope setup, allowing audiences to peer at distant galaxies, planets and glistening star clusters.
The Steadings hotel, situated in the rugged hills above Loch Ness, is uniquely positioned for appreciating the night sky, miles away from urban light pollution and close to the Loch Ruthven RSPB bird sanctuary.
Arrive at the Steadings on Friday for check-in (directions here). Stephen will meet guests for introductions 30 minutes before dinner at 6.30pm, and will setup while you enjoy your evening meal, served at 7pm.
After dinner Stephen will kick off with an introductory talk on navigating the night sky, before taking the party outdoors for some naked eye, binocular and telescope viewing of the heavens. In the event of poor weather, Stephen will instead present an informative lecture and Q&A on astronomy, with the hope of clearer skies the following evening.
On Saturday you have the day to yourself to explore some of the wonderful attractions of the Loch Ness area, or just to relax in the cozy confines of the Steadings. Stephen will join the party again on Saturday evening after dinner for more talks, or excursions under the stars.
During any outdoor stargazing excursion, hot chocolate will be served either in the field or on your return to the Steadings.
At the conclusion of both evenings Stephen will host an open Q&A session where he hopes to answer as many of your questions as possible.
Full package cost is £229 per person, including two nights dinner bed & breakfast at The Steadings + all talks and outings with Stephen.
To keep the weekend manageable and intimate in nature, availability of rooms is limited, so please book early to avoid dissapointment.
Most guests travel to the Steadings by car. The hotel is a 30 minute drive from the Highland capital Inverness. Inverness itself is well connected by road, rail and air to the rest of the UK and Western Europe. Inverness airport is regularly serviced with flights by British Airways, FlyBe, easyjet and KLM. There are over 38 weekly flights from London to Inverness alone, and many other connections from UK hub airports.
Please email or call Stephen (tel: 07414 964 965) to book a place, and feel free to ask any other questions you might have about the weekend.
“Stephen is an articulate and nuanced astronomer, with a real flair for communicating complex concepts in a way that people can understand. His video telescope work is excellent, revealing details of the cosmos on a computer screen for all to see, allowing audiences to marvel at Jupiter’s moons, faint nebulae, and distant giant galaxies.” – Steve Owens, author of “Stargazing for Dummies’ @darkskyman.
“I’d thoroughly recommend Stephen Mackintosh to host an astronomy event. As well as being extremely knowledgeable, he is a good communicator that is well able to hold the attention of a large group. I look forward to working with him again and to what I’ll learn about and see in the night sky” — Caroline Snow, Project Manager, Merkinch Local Nature Reserve, Inverness.
“I have spent many a happy but chilly night alongside Stephen Mackintosh, enjoying a guided tour of the night sky. He has shown me planets, galaxies, clusters and nebulae. Every sighting has been accompanied with informative commentary about their discovery and historical background. Wrap up warm and bring a flask of hot chocolate. You will be in for an unforgettable night.” — Gavin Macfie, Writer and Outdoorsman at Living Mountain.
Scotland’s outstanding dark skies