THE BIG SKY
Where on the canal network are the darkest night skies? It’s a question I was asked recently by a boater en-route from Manchester to London. I whipped out my phone and showed him the interactive light pollution map published by the Campaign to Protect Rural England – see http:// nightblight.cpre.org.uk/
It’s a map generated from satellite data in September 2015 that shows light spillage into the night sky from cities, towns, villages, roads and other emission sources. Between us we figured out a route for him along the Shropshire Union that coincided with dates when no moon was in the sky.
A couple of weeks ago I got a call from him. He was moored between Audlem and Market Drayton and was bowled over by the splendour of the stars above him.
But that’s not the only place where you’ll find dark skies on the canal network. Rural spots on the Llangollen, Monmouthshire & Brecon, Kennet & Avon, Middle Levels and the Broads offer amazing night sky views.
So, if you’re floating about in these areas this summer do moor up and cast your eyes upwards if you’ve a clear moonless night. You too might be amazed at the view.
A space-eye view of light pollution across England and Wales