The Yorkshire Dales National Park has some of the darkest skies in the UK and that is why we were very excited to be asked to be part of the Dark Skies Festival – an event that was happening in the National Parks around the country. The Dark Skies Festivals are all about discovering, learning and enjoying the dark and the stars. There were many different events happening around the parks, including night time cycling, potholing, canoeing and walking. Our night walk was planned so that it was accessible to all.

© Andy Kay – Yorkshire Dales national Park

A huge thanks has to go to Jonathan Smith from where2walk for his support in the organisation of the event and to Andy North for ensuring that all the walkers were safe. We did the recce for our walk just before Christmas, on a very dark, wet and miserable evening! Despite getting absolutely soaking wet,we knew that the track around Grimwith reservoir would be accessible for a sturdy all terrain wheel.

A huge thank you has a go too to The Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club for hosting the event.

Over 30 people arrived for our night walk and each of our guests was welcomed into the sailing club for pre walk refreshments. Our walk took about two and half hours to get around the reservoir as we had regular stops to look up to the sky and learn about the star constellations. The supper, which was provided by the sailing club staff was most appreciated and just the ticket for a cold February Night.

© Andy Kay – Yorkshire Dales national Park

The Terrainhopper company made it possible for five wheelchair users to experience this event. Debbie and Sam Dantzie made a six hour round journey to travel up from Lincolnshire to bring TerrainHoppers to allow people with disabilities to join with us on the walk.. I do know that we had a couple a tears shed by the some of the TerrainHopper users as they were overjoyed to be out on a walk of this type and to be walking alongside family and friends.

© Andy North

Our astronomer for the evening was Chris Higgins, who gave us a great insight to the dark skies. By 7pm the sky was full of stars. We had the absolute perfect evening for our walk with the grand finale of the rising of the full moon. It was truly amazing. The telescopes made it possible to see the surface of the moon, with its mountains and craters. It was magical.

The event was filmed by True North production company for the next series of C4 Lakes and the Yorkshire Dales. We look forward to seeing the footage.