We can’t believe that it is September already, and as the evenings are growing darker earlier, we welcome the opportunity to enjoy the dark skies here at Layside. Northumberland is considered the best place in England to view the night sky with clear air and minimal light pollution, and on a clear night the planets and even many of the fainter stars of the Milky Way can be seen.

Northumberland International Dark Sky Park was unveiled in December 2013. At 572 square miles (1,483 square kilometres) it is also Europe’s largest area of protected night sky. Due to its pristine skies it was awarded gold tier designation by the International Dark Sky Association, making it officially the best place in England for people to go to enjoy the heavens” (Visit Northumberland).

to replace the seasonally brewed “Curlews Return”, we have introduced the Allendale Brewery’s “Dark Skies” strong ale. At 7% ABV this robust ale is based on an old Victorian recipe and brewed with all UK ingredients. It is well hopped and balanced with the variety of malts, hiding the strength within – even on a cloudy night, with a couple of these you may be seeing stars!

Annual meteor showers arise when the Earth passes through streams of debris left behind by comets and asteroids, and the Perseid Meteor Shower is one of the most dramatic with up to 80 meteors visible per hour. The Northumberland National Park enjoys a “Dark Skies” status and can be enjoyed at Layside where we aim to keep light pollution to a minimum. Looking to the north with Sycamore Gap as a backdrop, August 13th/14th should be the best time to view the Perseid Meteor Shower (ideally between 11.00pm and 3.00am which are the darkest times of the night). Unfortunately having recently enjoyed great weather and clear skies, it is forecast to be overcast and raining, so perhaps we won’t be so lucky this year…