Stargazing in Aberdeenshire
Sometimes we’re so caught up in the hustle and bustle of modern life that we forget to take a step back and be grateful for the beautiful nature that surrounds us every day.
While Aberdeenshire has been blessed with a multitude of beautiful earthly scenery – it also offers several spectacular viewpoints for appreciating the universe beyond ourselves.
So, whether you’re an astronomy aficionado complete with telescope and star maps, or merely a casual appreciator of the wonders of the cosmos – be sure to check out these top stargazing spots in Aberdeenshire.
While the brilliant lights of the cities have their own appeal, they tend to mask the natural brightness of the stars that decorate our night skies. So, when it comes to Stargazing, you have to go where it’s dark in order to really see the light!
That’s where Glenlivet Estate comes in. The area has very little light pollution, giving the night sky an inky black canvas for all those constellations that are often invisible in built up areas. It is so good in fact, that it has been named a Dark Sky Discovery Site. For the best views, head over to the Blairfindy car park where, on a clear night, you won’t even need your binoculars to make out the stunning structure of The Milky Way.
However, it’s not just stars that embellish the skies of Glenlivet; the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, have also been known to make an appearance. For your best chance of spotting this natural phenomenon head to Scalan, in the Braes of Glenlivet which is a hot spot for sightings. Be sure to check ahead for times that the lights will most likely be visible!
The Acorn - Former Cabrach Primary School
Another Dark Sky Discovery Site is The Acorn, or former Cabrach Primary School, located just outside Cairngorms National Park. The building itself is often used to hold stargazing events and can be privately leased for those who wish to host a gathering of their own.
The Cabrach is listed in the top thirty most remote zones in Scotland – leaving plenty of room to be filled in with fascinating stars and planets. On a good night, the skies here are often so populated, that it becomes difficult to differentiate between the few stars you know from the thousands that you may never have even seen before!
The mountainous terrain surrounding it makes it an excellent spot for photographers looking to capture the beauty of both the earth and beyond in a single shot.
Revel in the secrets of the cosmos surrounded by the grandeur of Crathes Castle in Banchory.
The whimsical turrets of the 16th century tower house is the ideal setting for your imagination to run wild as you ponder the galaxies beyond our own.
The Aberdeen Astronomical Society occasionally holds stargazing events in the castle grounds allowing visitors to not only admire, but learn from experts about the beautiful stars that surround them (along with a hot cuppa of course). If you’re on Facebook stay tuned with Crathes Castle, Garden & Estate for the next one.
However, with its rolling hills and gorgeous gardens – Crathes Castle also has a more down to earth appeal that will delight all who encounter it. So, if you’re in the area be sure to check the castle out in all its daylight glory!
Its location in the naturally stunning Scottish Highlands makes Braemar an understandable destination when it comes to the pursuit of a clear night’s sky.
The convenient Braemar Caravan Park poses the perfect spot to pitch up a tent and gaze at the sky until your heart’s content (or maybe just for an hour or so before heading back to your cosy home!). The multitude of stars which are normally obscured by pollution provide a complementary background for the breath-taking beauty of Cairngorms National park.
If you’re looking for a more social experience, however, Mar Lodge Estate occasionally hosts Stargazing events – featuring an introductory indoor talk, followed by an expedition to view the beauties of the surrounding night sky. The tour provides telescopes and binoculars for all those interstellar beauties that are hidden from the naked eye.
If you’re looking for more stargazing opportunities in the area, The Aberdeen Astronomical Society holds monthly informal observing evenings at The Bettridge Centre in Newtonhill. It also organises events across Aberdeenshire where you can come along and view and learn about the stars from interesting locations.