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ALL THE LATEST NEWS, VIEWS AND STORIES FROM AROUND YOUR LOCAL AREA:SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER


LETTER FROM THE


SOUTH...


We've just come back from the Dalby Starfest, an annual astronomy and camping long weekend in the heart of the beautiful Dalby Forest in Yorkshire. As usual, we took our cat with us and again Jess had a fantastic time in the caravan, sprawled out on her favourite fleecy rug or curled up in her nest of soft toys while we were out in the cold and dark looking at stars. After several recent clouded out astro events, this time we did see stars!


Saturday evening was clear from dusk and was still clear at 3am when my eyelids set down a motion of ‘No Confidence’ in my ability to stay awake much longer and after saying farewell to the Milky Way and my fellow observers, I crept under my duvet and fell asleep in moments.


increased cloud cover and increasing number of rainy, cloudy nights is another sign of the mess our climate is in. If you don't believe that after all the proof that scientists are giving the world well, I'm sorry but you need to get your head out of the sand and wake up.


So, it was a real treat to be at Dalby under such a beautiful sky. Stars glittered like gemstones thrown up into the heavens; shooting stars skipped through the constellations like rogue fireworks - including a pair of fireballs that apparently looked like WWII flares as they fell (I say apparently because, of course, I was looking in the opposite direction at the time...) and the Milky Way was so obvious to the naked eye it looked like some cosmic Banksy had airbrushed it across the sky. Standing beneath it I honestly felt like if I just reached out far enough, if I stood on a stool and stretched out as much as I could, I could trail my fingers through the Milky Way and cover them in its stars like glitter off a Christmas card. Glorious!


Many of the people there didn't actually see it. They were too busy taking photos


It was lovely to be out under the stars again because I seem to have that pleasure less and less often these days.


Warning: if you're one of the blindfold- wearing science-deniers who don't believe in global warming then maybe you should skip this next part.


When you look at the sky, specifically the stars in the sky, as a hobby, for decades, you notice changes. The stars don't really change - well, they do, but over such a long timescale that our flashbulb, mayfly human lives aren't long enough to let us see them. However, the state of the sky as a whole does, and since I started this wonderful, frustrating, fascinating, infuriating hobby I have definitely noticed clear nights are fewer and farther apart thanks to a cruddier, cloudier, claggier atmosphere. It is simply rubbish more often, there's no denying that and the


WWW.COCKERMOUTHPOST.CO.UK


through their multi-thousand-pound telescopes, hooked up to their chugging laptops with more wires and leads than the insides of a BT junction box. I know they find that time of astronomy very rewarding and fascinating, but I can't help feeling that they've disconnected from the natural beauty of the night sky somehow. It's become more about gathering pixels than seeing stars.


No. Give me the raw beauty of the night sky any time. I've been stargazing for a long time now (cue Obi Wan Kenobi voice: "a long, long time..." ) but I'm happy - still to forget about my telescopes and cameras and just stand in the dark on a clear night and bathe my face in starlight, seek out the misty swirls of distant galaxies and enjoy gazing at glittering star clusters. And I hope I never lose that connection to the universe...


Stuart Atkinson


We will be open 10.00am to 4.00pm on Sunday 29th September for the Taste Cumbria Food Festival


Open Monday to Saturday 9.00am to 5.00pm 01900 828867 • www.lindentree.co.uk 65 Main Street, Cockermouth CA13 9JS


Cockermouth Art & Craft 


  


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                                          


 


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Charity Auction 7.30pm


Saturday 5th October Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team Base


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We are offering a wide range of lots to bid for, including guided walks, prints, a stay in Felldyke Bunkhouse and two mystery lots Tickets: £6.00 includes a welcome drink


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All proceeds to the Rescue Benevolent Fund, providing support for Mountain and Cave Rescue Team Members who are injured whilst on callouts, rescuing others


For more information & tickets email secretary@rescuebenevolent.fund Rescue Benevolent Fund


For the mountain and cave rescue family in need


Registered Charity number:1152798


ISSUE 435 | 19 SEPTEMBER 2019 | 15  


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David Benson with Brock ©Ian Sandaloiu


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