Exploring the wonders of the night sky is back on the menu at one of Northumberland’s most popular pubs, with a new programme of stargazing evenings already proving popular.
Since last autumn, The Twice Brewed Inn, which is situated on one of the most dramatic stretches of Hadrian’s Wall, has been making the very most of its Dark Sky Park location by teaming up with astronomer Wil Cheung to deliver a series of inspiring and exciting events designed to bring the magic of the starry night skies a little closer.
Hundreds of visitors and guests have enjoyed amazing views of sky wonders such as the Milky Way, the planets of our solar system, galaxies, nebulae and star clusters, as well as the chance to simply see thousands more stars than would normally be visible from a town or city vantage point.
And now many more will be able to soak up the same night-sky sights thanks to the delivery of new telescopes, which allow social distanced observing to take place.
Wil, a former volunteer at Kielder Observatory and ambassador for UK Astronomy, said: “We’re delighted to be able to bring people back to The Twice Brewed for these special events, which have proved so popular.”
As well boasting a Dark Sky Park location, The Twice Brewed, which reopened in July following the Covid-19 lockdown, also enjoys a sprawling position in the heart of Hadrian’s Wall Country.
Wil continued: “We feel very fortunate to be able to make use of the huge space at the back of the pub, which enables everyone to spread out – and now we have the new telescopes, it means every group has their own equipment to use for the whole evening, so social distancing is easy to achieve.
“In addition, we’re currently not using the observatory during the events to keep all the observing outside in the fresh air.”
During a stargazing evening, groups of six or less – currently limited to groups from the same household in line with current Coronavirus restrictions in Northumberland – are taken on an amazing journey via what they can see through the telescope.
Wil explained: “Every group has their own assigned astronomer and then using the main speaker, I stand at the bottom of the hill and guide everyone to the bit of the sky I’m talking about, using a powerful laser pen.
“Depending on their experience or thirst to learn, people can try exploring the universe for themselves or simply enjoy looking at what their designated astronomer has found for them.”
Having held stargazing events for the past couple of weeks, Wil says it’s clear the evenings are offering attendees a much-needed distraction from the strange times we’re all living through.
He said: “People still need to find things to enjoy in their lives and I may be biased, but I think you’d struggle to find anything better than stargazing when it comes to lifting the soul and the spirit.”
There are currently 70 stargazing events scheduled at The Twice Brewed between now and the end of the year, including sessions offering a particular focus on: Moon and Planets; Aurora Hunting: Mars and Uranus at their respective bests; and the Milky Way… as well as all the standard stargazing treats too.