One of the big tips for tourism this year was going to be space exploration. No, not joining Virgin’s space flights but watching the heavens. African countries and the outback of Australia where light pollution is minimal compared to almost any British suburb are promoting these opportunities. But you don’t have to necessarily go so far. Even the BBC has got into the act by running a series called Stargazing Live which is bound to excite interest.
The Brecon Beacons in South Wales are running events from March onwards where you can be guided by people who know what they are talking about. But for those who have an interest already and have an idea of what to look for in the night sky, then the Beacons offers an all-around opportunity for good sky gazing, – providing you manage to get a cloudless night. Why? Because being a national park, buildings are regulated. There aren’t that many to cause light pollution which then makes it difficult to read the sky. But there are cottages and a few hotels that provide accommodation all year round. And is late spring, summer and early autumn there are campsites and caravan parks.
The Beacons cover 520 square miles and have some spectacular scenery. When overseas friends drop by, the Beacons is one place I take them if they are here for more than a few days. Those that think the England is all suburbs or like Coronation Street or East Enders are surprised. (Believe you me, there are far too many who believe this sort of thing! Sometimes I think you need a few more TV series like Coast to redress the balance) The run from Merthyr Tydfil to Brecon is one that has to be punctuated by frequent stops to just gaze and give thanks that we have such scenery. And being so empty makes it idea for star gazing. For more information see www. breconbeacons.org.