5 Things to do at night on the hill
It’s getting dark again in the evenings, but don’t let that stop you making the most if it! You can still pop onto the hills in the right conditions, and here are some ideas
1 – Stargaze – With a pair of binoculars, or just making the most of the darker skies you usually find in the hills, you can try and spot the constellations or even some more exotic items such as the galaxy of Andromeda that you should be able to pick out.
2 – Meteor Watching – You can set out on one of the nights when there’s a meteor shower due. You’ll just need to observe, with a rough idea of where to look, and when! The main showers in the UK are listed on Time and Date about Meteor Showers which even states the dates they’re most visible and if the moon will be a hindrance or not. The Leonids in Mid-November are the next shower due.
3 – Astrophotography- This makes the most of 1 and 2, and with the right kit, is easier than you might think. If you’re lucky, you may well get to see the band of the Milky Way – though not if the moon is out! Even then, you can point away from the moon and perhaps catch some star trails or constellations, making use of that moonlight to expose your foreground.
4 – Aurora Watching – You may well get a couple of nights a year south of Scotland if you’re lucky – and have clear skies! Head up to the far north and you increase your chances dramatically of viewing this natural wonder. Keep an eye out on Aurorae Watch – both on the Aurora Watch website and especially their Twitter feed. The image below was taken at Trwyn Penmon on Anglesey, so there are definitely some spectacular opportunities if you keep an eye out for solar activity and are ready to get out there at a moment’s notice.
5 – Night Navigation – This really is fun, honest! Or is it just me? A couple of hours, in the dark, finding your way around really increases your confidence on the hill and unless you can do it, you should think twice about the next activity!
6 Night Walks – If the full moon puts paid to activities 1-4, at least it has one positive of making the night walks easier. It’s quite a sight to see the towns lit up, even though you know that means less stars. I’m waiting for an opportunity to get out there during an inversion, where the street lights would largely be smothered by the cloud and perhaps some more stars would be visible.
7 – Of course, you can stay out all night and Wild Camp! You can do any of the above if wild camping much more conveniently, and you can brew up as often as you like!
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siDave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader. Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.