It has been rather a hectic mid-month, with numerous star parties and events hosted to coincide with the schools half term.  Here then is an account of proceedings.

An Unexpected Journey

'Would you be able to help out?' came the plea from John T at Fylingthorpe.  'They're hosting a couple of ‘star nights’ down at Boggle Hole Youth Hostel and i think we need help'
‘Sure we can sort something out’
, said Mark, 'We’ll see you on Tuesday the 16th for the first event'. 

With all the dwarfs busy, just Mark and Keith set out for the mythical ravine; the last homely house before the wilderness of Ravenscar.

Boggle Hole Youth Hostel.  Click image for full-sized photo. See gallery for all photos.

Tuesday had remained cloudy all day and with little sign of change the telescopes were left behind.  An indoor presentation would be in order.  Having parked up at the top of the ravine the intrepid duo set off down the gorge laden with laptop, projector, screen and all the paraphernalia required for the scale solar system demo.  The Boggle Hole Youth Hostel was lit wonderfully; an enchantment seemed to fill the vale, perhaps elves were watching from the trees.  Alas but no, just a few bemused sheep gazed on.

On reaching the hallowed halls, we were warmly greeted by our hosts Keith and Peta and Andy, who ushered us into the already full to capacity events room.  The evening went well, with a slide show and our planetarium program, bringing the night sky indoors.  No time even for the scale solar system, that would wait until Thursday.

Events Room at Boggle Hole YH.  Click image for full-sized photo. See gallery for all photos.

The forecast looked encouraging for Thursday night and so plans were drawn up to transport at least a couple of smaller scopes down.


A Very Expected Return

Thursday 18th dawned clear and calm and remained that way.  One sensed something special lay in store as twilight deepened and the brighter stars emerged.  On reaching the car park it looked as though most of the ‘Bay’ area inhabitants were determined to make the most of the fine conditions.  Keith and Mark were met by Andy in the YH open back Land Rover, and whilst everyone else beat a hasty retreat down to the hostel, we paused to view the ISS low in the SW, (from the gorge this would have been invisible,- we did tell everyone)

The 'Road' to Boggle Hole YH.  Click image for full-sized photo. See gallery for all photos.

With two small scopes and all the other equipment loaded into the Land Rover, we set off down, three of us squeezed in sharing the cab with a 4” tube assembly laid across our laps.  (No it wasn’t a very big Land Rover) Wondering just how far we would have to carry the equipment along the narrow paths, the answer soon became apparent, we wouldn’t, as the intrepid Rover bumped across the rocky beach, forded the beck and scrambled up the slope to the hostel; - a rather unique arrival to a star party if ever there was one. 

It also soon became apparent that two small scopes would not be enough; (although short of hiring a helicopter or Thunderbird 2 there was little that could be done with regard to this matter) It was heaving, 60.  70, 80, it was hard to guess how many were there.  So whilst Keith manned the scopes (scope really) Mark roped in as many as possible to demonstrate the scale solar system.  Fortunately there was just enough room available without sending out a search party to ‘hunt for Pluto’ on the Scar.

With a bright moon, obscuring trees and restrictive valley sides pointing out celestial objects was quite testing.  Still, we coped and people seemed more than satisfied with events.  Jupiter rising over the sea framed by cliff walls certainly prompted fair excitement.  As regard showing the jewels of the winter sky, it is perhaps not the most ideal setting, but in every other respect it is quite remarkable ; the amenities, the ambiance at night, we shall certainly return, we just need to work out how to make it work for observing.

As we re-crossed Rio Mill Beck we could just make out John T in the moonlight striding out over the scar taking a short cut back home.  I hope he made it back safely... I’m sure i saw a monstrous crab lurking in the shadows.