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Solar eclipse and stars

Solar eclipse and stars
Here on Argyll’s Secret Coast we’re getting excited about the prospect of the solar eclipse next month. On Friday 20th March at around 9.30am, the first total eclipse for more than a decade will take place across the far northern regions of Europe and the Arctic.

But you don’t have to travel to the Faroe Islands to see something dramatic. Here on Argyll’s Secret Coast we’ll be treated to a partial solar eclipse of around 94% - which, weather permitting, is going to be very spectacular indeed! And the experience will be all the more memorable out here among the hills, lochs and beautiful countryside. You could head for the shore and watch the partial eclipse cast an eerie light over the waters of the Kyles of Bute or choose from any number of wild, deserted beaches and enjoy the sight over Loch Fyne. Or how taking it all in from the top of a hill? The small hills near Glenan Wood provide a perfect vantage point.

If the eclipse leaves you hankering after more astronomical delights, Argyll’s Secret Coast is a fantastic place for stargazing. We’re on the map of Europe marked as the boundary for ‘total darkness’, with very little light pollution. Walk outside on a clear night and the canopy of stars will take your breath away. In winter, you might even see the Northern Lights.

Take your pick from any number of great stargazing spots. You don’t have to make a special trip - the stars are clearly seen from anywhere on Argyll’s Secret Coast – but there are some places that are particularly magical.

Otter Bay at Otter Ferry on the east shore of Loch Fyne is pretty unbeatable. With just a few dwellings, hardly any artificial light is emitted. Walk along the shore and out along the spit and enjoy the celestial spectacle. On a dark night throw a stone into the sea and the water might glow with phosphorescence. What’s more you can round off a perfect evening’s stargazing with a Fyne Ale in the fabulous Oystercatcher Bar/Restaurant which is right on the beach.

The Ardlamont Peninsula is another great area for dark skies. On a moonlit night, walk down to the wild and deserted Ostel Bay and look out for shooting stars. Lie back on the sand, listen to the waves lap the shore and take in the display. Or how about walking to Glenan Bay? Follow the shore path through the woods and look up to see the stars twinkling through the trees. The bay itself feels far from civilisation. Sit quietly in the dark and you might hear otters frolicking in the water and owls hooting in the woods.

Another lovely sight is the moon rising from behind the Island of Bute casting a beautiful, silvery light across the Kyles. It’s a real treat on your walk home from the pub!
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