Hebridean Dark Skies Festival teams up with IET and Lews Castle College UHI for ‘Dark Skies Discovery Day’

The Hebridean Dark Skies Festival is partnering with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and Lewis Castle College UHI for a ‘discovery day’ at An Lanntair on Saturday 12 February. The event will include talks by leading astronomers, an astrophotography workshop, a film screening and a comedy night by Bright Club, hosted by Bruce Fummey.

Tickets for Dark Skies Discovery Day go on sale from today, including a £15 (£13) day ticket that grants you access to six events.

Dark Skies Discovery Day will include:

  • A Brief History of Everything, a whistle stop tour of the Universe from the Big Bang onwards with Sheona Urquhart of the Open University.
  • The Mysteries of The Multiverse, in which Scotland’s Astronomer Royal Catherine Heymans examines the science behind the theory that there are an infinite number of possible worlds.
  • The Next Steps in Space Travel, a look at the future of space tourism with Dr Chris Macleod of Lews Castle College UHI.
  • Losing the Cosmos, in which Steven Gray of the International Dark Sky Association explores the importance of dark skies to our health and wellbeing.
  • The City Dark, a beautiful film exploring the impact of light pollution.
  • Bright Club, the first ever Lewis show by the international comedy night that challenges academics to turn their research into stand-up comedy. Hosted by stand-up comedian and science buff Bruce Fummey.
  • Dr Macleod is also hosting a "Astronomy & Space Science" a ten week short course starting in Feb 2022 - Find out more here. 

The day will also include a free astrophotography workshop with Stornoway Astronomical Society. Since this is a limited capacity event it is not included in the day ticket but ticket-buyers will be notified in advance of workshop places becoming available.

Hebridean Dark Skies Festival director Andrew Eaton-Lewis said: “We always try to pack as much as possible into our opening weekend and with this day of events we’re offering a voyage through all kinds of astronomy and space-related ideas. We’re delighted and grateful to have the support of Lews Castle College UHI and the IET for this event; we hope that the low price tickets will encourage students – and everyone else – to come along to a few events throughout the day.”

While Dark Skies Discovery Day is aimed at teenagers and adults, the Hebridean Dark Skies Festival will also include a day of workshops for younger children on Saturday 19 February.

The Hebridean Dark Skies Festival will run from 11 to 25 February, with an arts and astronomy programme bringing together Scotland’s new Astronomer Royal Catherine Heymans, singer-songwriter Rachel Sermanni, award-winning science communicator Roberto Trotta and lots more. Now in its fourth year, the festival is supported by new funding from Caledonian MacBrayne, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Culture and Business Fund Scotland.

The Hebridean Dark Skies Festival is led by An Lanntair, in partnership with Stornoway Astronomical Society, Lews Castle College UHI, Gallan Head Community Trust and Calanais Visitor Centre, with support from Caledonian MacBrayne, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Outer Hebrides Tourism, Visit Scotland, and Cala Hotels.

Catherine Heymans, Astronomer Royal for Scotland, said: “I’m delighted to join the 2022 Dark Skies Festival in celebration of one of the Hebrides’ most famous natural resources - its pristine dark view into the wilderness that is our Universe.  With music, art, theatre, comedy and science there is something for everyone to enjoy whilst we wait for the Sun to set and the clouds to clear, to stargaze out into the cosmos.”


Hebridean Dark Skies Festival tickets can be booked at www.lanntair.com or by calling 01851 708480. Look out for further programme updates throughout the winter.


To request interviews or images, please contact Hebridean Dark Skies Festival director Andrew Eaton-Lewis at andrew@anlanntair.com.


Website: www.lanntair.com/darkskies

Twitter @anlanntair 

Facebook www.facebook.com/anlanntair




An Lanntair has put in place stringent systems to help mitigate risks from COVID-19 in its building and across its activities to keep staff and the public safe.  Details can be found here on An Lanntair’s website https://lanntair.com/visit-us-safely/. A Coronavirus Risk Assessment specific to the Hebridean Dark Skies Festival will be in place for the event.



Notes to Editors


The Hebridean Dark Skies Festival was launched in February 2019 and has taken place each year since then. Previous guests include singer-songwriters Karine Polwart, Emma Pollock and Kathryn Joseph, storyteller Andy Cannon, astronomy-inspired artist collectives Lumen and Creativity and Curiosity, Sky at Night presenter Chris Lintott, comedian Robin Ince, and astronomers including Roberto Trotta, John Brown (Astronomer Royal for Scotland), Amaury Triaud, Sheona Urquhart and Nigel Henbest. The festival’s 2019 to 2021 programmes are archived at www.lanntair.com/darkskies


An Lanntair is a hub for creativity and the arts in the Outer Hebrides. Its work stretches across a national and international platform, with a mission ‘to connect and inspire people in producing extraordinary, creative programmes, uniquely rooted in the place and reflecting the arts and ideas of our time’ We are supported by Creative Scotland, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Point & Sandwick Trust. For more on An Lanntair visit www.lanntair.com or contact Eilidh Whiteford, Head of

Marketing, at 01851 708480 / eilidh@anlanntair.com


Festival supporters and partners


Caledonian MacBrayne, usually shortened to CalMac, is the major operator of passenger and vehicle ferries, and ferry services, between the mainland of Scotland and 22 of the major islands on Scotland's west coast. This is its third year of supporting the Dark Skies Festival and its second as one of the festival’s principal funders. www.calmac.co.uk


Highlands and Islands Enterprise is the economic and community development agency for the north and west of Scotland. We help build a prosperous, inclusive and sustainable economy across the Highlands and islands, attracting more people to live, work, study, invest and visit. www.hie.co.uk


Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information at creativescotland.com.


Stornoway Astronomical Society is a volunteer-run astronomical society officially formed in September 2010. The society runs regular stargazing events on Lewis and has been involved in the Dark Skies Festival programme since 2019. www.stornowayastro.org


Calanais Visitor Centre is located in the west coast of Lewis at the world famous 5,000 year old Callanish Stones (Calanais in Gaelic). The Calanais Visitor Centre contains an interactive Story of the Stones exhibition, which explores how the standing stones were built and used and what they have meant to people through the centuries. Its café accommodates 50 people, with easy access for disabled visitors. The gift shop caters for locals and visitors alike and sells Harris Tweed accessories, books, music, postcards and other gifts. www.callanishvisitorcentre.co.uk


Gallan Head Community Trust was established in 2014 as a community body serving the community of Aird Uig. The Trust now owns the former RAF base and has been developing numerous projects for the benefit of the community. www.gallanhead.org.uk

Lews Castle College UHI is a centre for learning and research based in the Outer Hebrides. It delivers a wide range of courses from HNC to Postgraduate research locally as well as online to national and international students. The College has campuses and Learning Centres throughout the Outer Hebrides and is part of the University of the Highlands and Islands. www.lews.uhi.ac.uk


Outer Hebrides Tourism is a Community Interest Company, which exists to develop, promote and sustain the tourism industry in the Outer Hebrides. Tourism generates £65m in economic value for the islands, sustains 1000 FTE jobs, and is one of the key growth sectors in the economy of the Islands. There are approx 218,000 visitors per year, 900 accommodation providers directly supported by tourism, and hundreds of other businesses whose livelihoods depend on the visitor economy. www.visitouterhebrides.co.uk

VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourist board. Working closely with private businesses, public agencies and local authorities, we work to ensure that our visitors experience the very best of Scotland and that the country makes the most of its outstanding tourism assets and realises its potential.  www.visitscotland.com