We hosted another wonderful evening of star gazing for our holiday cottage guests with the very talented dark skies park ranger, Elizabeth Tindal during half term.  Apologies in advance for the lack of good photographs but because our eyes must get used to the dark in order to see the stars clearly, we can’t take any flash photography as the glare would be too strong for our eyes.  It’s therefore quite challenging for an amateur like me to take photos in the dark without using a flash, but in some cases I managed to use the light given off by the fire pit.

Yet again, we were so lucky with the weather as the skies stay predominantly clear of clouds.  Lying on mats and with the luxury of pillows – all provided by Elizabeth – we saw the star Vega in the constellation of Lyra, along with the star Deneb in the constellation of Cygnus, followed by the star Altair in the constellation of Aquila.  We learnt that these stars together make up what is called the Summer Triangle.  We also saw the constellations of Pegasus, which includes as its hind legs the constellation of Andromeda. Using this, Elizabeth then found the Galaxy of Andromeda, which is the neighbouring galaxy to ours, the Milky Way.  Absolutely fascinating stuff.

Star Gazing Evening with Dark Skies Park Ranger Elizabeth Tindal

Elizabeth knows just how to keep all our guests interested and entertained and we sound found ourselves back on our feet toasting marshmallows on the fire pit, which gave off a most welcome heat too.  This was accompanied by hot mugs of hot chocolate to warm up any cold little hands, complete with cream and marshmallows.

Then it was time to get really stuck in to damper break making.  Elizabeth gauged exactly how much of each ingredient to add for the perfect mix – flour, powdered milk and enough water to mix it into a gooey dough.

Making the damper bread dough

We carefully wrapped it around a stick and cooked it on the fire pit.  When it slides off the stick easily, then you know it’s cooked.  Just add thick, liquid chocolate, jam or honey and gobble.

Cooking damper bread over the fire pit

We all had a great night.  Huge thanks to all our holiday cottage guests for taking part and to Elizabeth for another entertaining and educational evening.  we’re very much looking forward to our next event with Elizabeth Tindal in 2018.