It was a real pleasure to back once again at the Fox and Hounds at Ainthorpe, more so because for once skies were clear and conditions calm - although a little chilly. Colin and Vicky must have wondered whether they would ever experience suitable observing conditions for their Dark skies/Warm Fires event after gales or lashing rain had scuppered previous attempts.

Mark, having already transported several telescopes, poster boards and demo items up to the venue the previous evening - when it was clear but blustery, was joined on Friday 25th by Keith, John McCue, June and Paul Wood. The assistance was most welcome and given the conditions, necessary with the event fully booked. 

Keith and Mark arrived at 18:00hrs joining Paul in the bar, John and June arrived shortly after. As in previous years the games room served as ‘lecture theatre’ for the indoor presentation.  Colin gave an introductory speech to the assembled guests (24 I believe) who were staying for the weekend’s events, before Mark gave a fairly short (for him) presentation utilising Starry Night 8, highlighting what we would be observing outside on the upper stable yard. Paul had actually set up his scope there beforehand. 

2022-February 25th-Fox and Hounds - Colin welcomes guests (click for full image)

It was then agreed to concentrate on observing, so whilst the guests donned warm clothing, Keith, Mark, John and June set about erecting their scopes. Keith had brought the eV Scope, Mark had two dobsonians; the 10" and 8" and John had brought along a homemade 10" dobsonian. Skies were very clear (just a few wisps of cloud) and the winter constellations looked magnificent. The Orion nebula looked superb, as did all the objects targeted. Mark gave a laser point tour, but actually Keith, Paul and John all gave talks to the guests waiting to look through the scopes, pointing out objects with laser pointers as well. We must have been outside for almost an hour before chill, but more importantly -Dinner enticed everyone back inside to the warmth.

Because the dining room was full with their guests, we had the games room to ourselves for a very nice meal - chatting amongst ourselves mostly about various astronomical related issues. Colin had hinted that following our meal some guests may have wanted to do some more observing - but as it transpired the 'warm fires', food and drink changed their minds.  

Colin introduces Mark to the guests before presentation. (click for full image)

It had been a most enjoyable evening, one that will hopefully be repeated on many occasions in years to come. Only the IT equipment was re-loaded into Mark's car, the rest was safely stored for the following evening’s event down the road at Danby. Farewells made we departed home. Mark and Keith ventured back up the following day meeting Colin with Vicky and new arrival - baby girl Lyra, before transferring all the scopes etc down to the Danby Moors Centre. 

Many thanks to hosts; Colin and Vicky, as well Keith, Paul, John and June for their time and assistance. Hope they enjoyed the evening as much as i did. 

All images by Keith Deason