Dark Skies Project

The Tomintoul and Glenlivet – Cairngorms Dark Sky Park area covers 244 km2. It lies mainly within the Cairngorms National Park and is some distance from the larger towns and villages of Speyside and Deeside. It is also surrounded by hills of 700 – 800m which help to protect it from much of the light pollution generated by those areas. As a result the underlying quality of it’s night skies is excellent.

A night time satellite image shows why the skies in the Dark Sky Park are worth protecting compared to other nearby settlements. The Dark Sky Park is outlined in blue:

Satellite image of Partnership Area
Satellite image of the Dark Sky Park area

Our Dark Skies Project aims to preserve the natural darkness of the night skies in the area by promoting environmentally responsible lighting. This will help to:

  • Protect the plants and animals that depend on Earth’s daily cycle of light and dark rhythm to govern life-sustaining behaviours such as reproduction, nourishment, sleep and protection from predators.
  • Promote out of season tourism by allowing visitors to experience a sky brimming with stars – a night sky that inspired science, religion, philosophy, art and literature.
  • Reduce energy wastage by ensuring that outdoor lighting only illuminates the intended areas and does not overspill into the surrounding countryside or night sky.

The main components of our project are:

You can find out more about light pollution and why we should be protecting places with  natural dark skies at the International Dark Skies Association web site.