The high quality of the night skies above Tomintoul and Glenlivet have received a prestigious award by becoming Scotland’s second recognised International Dark Sky Park.
Awarded Gold Tier status by the International Dark-Sky Association, the Tomintoul and Glenlivet - Cairngorms Dark Sky Park is among the darkest Dark Sky Parks in the UK, it is also the most northern Dark Sky Park in the world.
The local community celebrated their new Dark Sky Park status at a launch event in Tomintoul (on Thursday 29th November), welcoming amongst others, Professor John Brown, Astronomer Royal for Scotland and wildlife filmmaker and presenter Gordon Buchanan to the event.
Simon Ovenden, Countryside Manager for Glenlivet Estate which encompasses the Dark Sky Park said: “Today marks the culmination of a huge amount of work and effort by people from across a number of organisations, and it’s great news for the area. I’m delighted that Glenlivet Estate will play host to the International Dark Sky Park, and hopefully it will encourage even more people to come and enjoy what the area has to offer.”
The award is the culmination of several years’ work by the volunteer-led Dark Skies Project to reduce light pollution and preserve the natural darkness of the night skies within The Glenlivet Estate and the Cairngorms National Park. Supported by the National Lottery funded Tomintoul & Glenlivet Landscape Partnership, the project has worked closely with distilleries, farms, Moray Council and households to change outdoor lighting and reduce light pollution.
This will bring many benefits to wildlife, energy consumption and human health as well as preserving the beauty of the night sky. The designation will also help to promote dark skies to a wider audience and, as experienced in other International Dark Sky Parks, bring astro-tourism business to this remote rural area during the off peak season when star gazing is at its best.