THE SKY AT NIGHT: Night time photography is among the activities of this year’s North Pennines Stargazing Festival
THE SKY AT NIGHT: Night time photography is among the activities of this year’s North Pennines Stargazing Festival

IT’S all eyes to the sky for the third North Pennines Stargazing Festival.

The popular event – which was a sell-out last year – is set for autumn half term, October 23 to November 3.

Events in the 2019 festival celebrate and mark the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing and include moon talks, family moon trails and moon-themed planetarium shows, alongside broader astronomy, space-themed talks and stargazing opportunities.

Also new for this year is a night skies run taking in iconic High Force waterfall.

The festival includes activities for more experienced stargazers alongside events for children and families.

Highlights of the festival include the stunning planetarium film Capcom Go! The Apollo Story at pop-up planetarium events in Hexham, Barnard Castle and Alston.

There will also be night photography workshops at High Force, The Bowes Museum, Raby Castle and at the Lord Crewe Arms, Blanchland.

The return of the two-night Star Camp, at Doe Park Caravan Park, in Teesdale, with astronomy expert Richard Darn is set to be popular again.

Skywatch events are scheduled at Killhope Lead Mining Museum and Nenthead Mines – with new venues at Talkin Tarn County Park and Tan Hill being added to the programme for this year.

Stargazing suppers are also making a welcome return to the Lord Crewe Arms with knowledgeable local star guides Andy Gray and Gary Lintern.

The programme is also full of half-term activities, from solar system walks, moon art workshops, family stargazing events at High Force and Raby Castle.

For adults and keen astronomers wishing to take their knowledge to new frontiers, there are talks and astrophotography workshops, plus a chance to learn how to use a telescope at Alston Moor Golf Club with expert trainers.

Shane Harris, responsible tourism lead for the North Pennines AONB Partnership, said: “The festival was fully booked last year and we hope that our events for 2019 will be as popular.

“We have a wide range of events spread across the whole of the North Pennines AONB and UNESCO Global Geopark, appealing to local people and visitors to the area.”

“The North Pennines is the darkest mainland area of outstanding natural eauty and is one of the best places in the UK to enjoy stargazing – the festival is designed to make it easy for people to celebrate the area’s fabulous starry skies.”

The festival has been organised by the North Pennines AONB Partnership and is supported by Visit County Durham, Northumberland County Council and Carlisle City Council.

Discover the entire programme at www.northpenni