First Dark Sky Discovery Site for Argyll

On Friday 19th October, West Kintyre Stargazers announced that their nomination for a Dark Sky Discovery Site in Kintyre has been successful.

The Putechan Hotel near Bellochantuy  – already a dining venue of choice – was nominated by the West Kintyre Stargazers some time ago but the official notification that the nomination was successful came through on Friday.

The hotel, on the west coast of the Kintyre peninsula, is the first location in Argyll to receive Dark Sky Discovery Site status from the Dark Sky Discovery programme. The hope is that further sites within Kintyre and across Argyll and the Isles will follow in the footsteps of The Putechan and bid successfully for the same status.

As well as having first class uninterrupted panoramic views of the night sky out over the western Atlantic, the Putechan can also boast very low light pollution levels. There is little around it, nothing behind it and nothing at all oit there in the ocean.

Furthermore, the provision of parking, disabled access, excellent outdoor viewing areas with hard standing – coupled with the indoor facilities of the hotel – come together to make this a well suited site for all-comers to see what Kintyre’s dark skies have to offer.

West Kintyre Stargazers launch event

On Sunday 28th October, from 5.00pm, West Kintyre Stargazers will be holding their launch event, starting inside the hotel with an introductory talk and presentation, followed, at around 6.30pm, by a night sky viewing session outside in the hotel grounds.

The talk and presentation – Discover Kintyre’s Dark Skies – will be given by Dr Alex MacKinnon, an astrophysicist from Glasgow University.

The night sky viewing will be an opportunity for everyone from the very youngest to the more mature, the beginner to the experienced, to come along and learn and to share knowledge. This event along with monthly events to follow should help to bring a sparkle to the long winter nights – with the clocks going back next weekend.

More information on this event and the opportunity to book your free place is here on the West Kintyre Stargazers website.

West Kintyre Stargazers see the recognition of The Putechan Hotel location  as a first step on the road to develop Kintyre as a Dark Sky destination.

A resourceful lead for Argyll and the Isles

The sister islands of Tiree and Coll out in the Atlantic are applying for this same Dark Sky destination, already – and successfully, acquired by Galloway.

There will be other locations across Argyll and the Isles capable of qualifying for the Dark Sky Discovery Site status now awarded to The Putechan Hotel. Iona, Colonsay and the west coast of Islay spring immediately to mind.

This successful nomination puts Kintyre out there on the Dark Sky Discovery map – the sites are described like warships, with The Putechan a ‘Milky Way Class’ location.  If you check out the map, it is not only fun to see The Putechan proudly marking Kintyre but a glance at the Isle of Man – peppered with such locations and looking like the place to go for astro-tourism -  should get other locations in Argyll and the Isles getting their nominations in to nail this attraction as a major and appropriate part of the tourism offer for this part of the world.

Our long dark nights add to this offer and, well marketed,  the winter skies create the opportunity to develop a welcome and a unique experience for visitors in the quiet part of the year.

Iona, Colonsay and Islay – over to you. Kintyre, the West Kintyre Stargazers and The Putechan have led the way.

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5 Responses to First Dark Sky Discovery Site for Argyll

  1. Not wishing to rain on the parade, but with the lights of the hotel and the headlights of cars on the main road beside it, how dark can the skies here be compared with somewhere more genuinely off the beaten track? Is this perhaps more a marketing ploy for the Putechan?

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    • just saw this – old news, maybe comments are no longer useful. Anyway: Dark Sky Discovery sites are not only about dark skies, but also safe level surfaces, accessibility and usability for disabled people, etc. Putechan are willing to host events which gets this site a different symbol on the Dark Sky Discovery map, and is really helpful for the Kintyre Stargazers. The hotel lights are not an insurmountable difficulty. Even with the odd headlight this is already a much darker site than anywhere in the Central Belt, or indeed most of Europe nowadays. Of course Putechan hopes to gain – they’re a business! – but this is a win-win situation for everybody involved, not just a “marketing ploy”.

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