Dark Skies – Stargazing from your decking at Cairngorm Bothies


Each of the 12 pet friendly self catering Cairngorm Bothies offer an excellent opportunity for dark sky gazing. The Cairngorms National Park is recognised as an International Dark Sky Reserve. This means it has some of the darkest skies in the UK, making it perfect for stargazing.

Off grid Dark Sky Holiday at Cairngorm Bothies

Here are some reasons why it can be a good idea to come and dark sky gaze from your very own off grid Cairngorm Bothy. Our decking makes a perfect place to watch the nightscape unfold.

  • Darkest Skies in the UK: The Cairngorms National Park proudly holds the designation of a “Dark Sky Park,” since 2018. It indicates remarkably minimal light pollution. This results in skies that are nearly untouched by artificial illumination, forming a mesmerising display of stars rarely seen elsewhere in the UK. 
  • Uninterrupted Panoramas: Staying at Cairngorm Bothies and being surrounded by the forest and nearby views across the Cairngorm National Park, offer unobstructed views of the entire night sky. Forget the light pollution of cities – here, the heavens unfold above you, a breathtaking panorama of twinkling stars and celestial wonders. Let your gaze wander freely, unhindered by buildings or artificial light, and lose yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of the cosmos. 
  • Awe-Inspiring Sights: The observation of the Milky Way, an expansive band of celestial light traversing the night sky, accompanied by countless twinkling stars and fleeting celestial bodies such as planets and meteors, can be a mesmerising experience. Witnessing this breathtaking panorama fosters a profound sense of awe and connection to the vastness of the universe, an experience rarely achievable in other environments. 
  • Escape from Screens & Stress: Stepping away from the constant digital stimulation of our daily lives and immersing yourself in the natural wonder of the night sky, forest settings and the nocturnal wildlife can be incredibly refreshing and stress-relieving. It makes a memorable chance to reconnect with nature and gain a new perspective on our place in the universe.
  • Guided Tours: If you’re new to stargazing or want to delve deeper, guided tours are available. Experienced guides can help you navigate the night sky, point out interesting celestial objects, and share their knowledge, making your experience even more enriching. Garry from Hillgoers is a certified “Star ranger”

Dark sky and star gazing over the Cairngorm National Park at Cairngorm Off grid bothies


Here are some helpful tips for stargazing at Cairngorm National Park: 

  • Dress warmly. It can get cold at night, even in the summer, so be sure to dress in layers. (If you are planning on going stargazing in the winter, be sure to check the weather conditions before you go.) 
  • Give your eyes time to adjust to the darkness. It can take up to 20 minutes for your eyes to fully adjust to the darkness, so be patient. 
  • Stargazing Equipment: If you have binoculars or a telescope, consider bringing them for a closer look at celestial objects. Bring a star chart or app. This will help you identify the constellations and stars that you see.
  • Take a blanket and a favourite hot drink to keep your cosy.
  • Moon Phases: Moonlight can impact the visibility of stars, so be aware of the moon’s phase during your stay. (The best time to go stargazing is on a clear night with no moon.) 
  • There are a few guided stargazing tours available in the Cairngorms National Park. These can be a great way to learn more about the night sky and see some amazing sights.  
  • Relax and enjoy the view! There is nothing quite like seeing the Milky Way stretching across the sky. 

Close your eyes. Imagine yourself nestled amidst the towering Cairngorms, embraced by a velvety darkness. Open them and behold! Not city lights, but a breathtaking panorama – a million stars scattered across the vast canvas of the universe. This is the magic of dark sky gazing from our Cairngorm Bothies – an experience that goes beyond the everyday, igniting a sense of wonder and reconnecting your senses with the sights & sounds of our natural environment.     


Other useful information links to help you with your nightscape and Dark Sky Park exploration.

Cairngorms National Park


International Dark Sky Week – Pledge to help reduce light pollution


Dark Skies with the Glenlivet & Tomintoul Dark Sky Park


2024 Total Solar Eclipse Live on the 8th April across North America

Dark Sky 2020 leaflet for Cairngorms


Whether you’re a seasoned stargazer or a curious beginner, dark sky gazing at Cairngorm Lodges promises an unforgettable adventure. It’s a chance to witness the universe’s magnificence, reconnect with nature’s wonder, and create memories that will stay with you forever. 



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