Our first event of the Dark sky festival weekend (first weekend that is) saw us return to the Fox and Hounds at Ainthorpe.  Our first visit last October had proved rather frustrating with low cloud and then persistent heavy rain, preventing any chance of observing, or indeed any outdoor demonstration occurring.  Indoor presentations were the order of the evening, which turned into an enjoyable affair.

Hopes were therefore high for something along similar lines, but this time with observations of the winter sky from the hotel beer garden.  Our hopes were dashed.  The rain mostly held off (until much later in the evening) the wind however was horrendous, no telescope would have held steady.  Intermittent cloud cover also didn’t help matters.  Mark and Keith had made the journey up, Mark having already transported several telescopes, poster boards and demo items up to the venue the previous afternoon.  Hosts Colin and Vicky (with new baby arrival) welcomed us on arrival and after setting up in the games room/come ‘lecture theatre’, Colin gave an introductory speech to the assembled guests (14 I believe) who were staying for the weekend’s events.  Mark then gave a presentation utilising Starry Night 8, showing what should have been visible in the late February night sky.

Every so often Colin slipped out to see if any decent cloud breaks would allow at least some naked eye observations to be made.  With less than 30 minutes before the scheduled dinner break, a thumbs up came and donning winter garb, we ventured outside and up to the stable yard buildings, where at least some protection from the exceedingly blustery wind could be found.  Using the laser pointer, Mark pointed out as best he could any winter constellations or stars which fleetingly appeared in a wreck of a sky.  It transpired 30 minutes was about as much as anyone could take in the wind.  Dinner called.  This was every bit as tasty as last time, and as conversations ranged across a wealth of subjects, continents and decades, it became apparent from the wind rattling and rain streaked windows, our evening was about done.

Only essential equipment was re loaded into the car, the rest (including scopes etc) was safely stored for the following evening’s event down the road at Danby.   Farewells were said (brief ones only as all the guests were booked into the Danby event) and the journey home made.