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Ryan_86

Attention fellow South Wales Astronomers.

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Ryan_86    63

Hi all, I live in Caerphilly & am in search of a new dark site this winter. My usual place of choice (Usk Resevoir) has construction work taking place with a few annoying lights & a bit of light pollution from Ammanford.

I'v been looking at the night sky chart, supplied in the Sky at Night's magazine a few months back. If i go roughly 25 miles north west, it puts me in a small village called Cynwyl Gaeo with even darker skies 👌🏼

Has anybody visited here or recommend a site in the area?

Cheers Ryan

Edited by Ryan_86

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Aidan    75

Just looked at the map... you could always try the Elan Valley.. That’s  not too much further for you.

Im looking to get there when my portable rig is finished..  Supposed to be very good dark skies there

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Ryan_86    63

I have discovered Elan Valley to be a popular dark site.  Will defo be giving it a go & maybe camp/sleep in the car as its a fair distance. 

Ive found a potential site in the middle of nowhere, not a village or farmhouse for miles & miles. Im trying to work out the terrain on google earth, unfortunately its so remote the street view falls short. It seems to be a gradual incline then nice and flat on top of a hill.  I am going to go suss it out over the Christmas holidays. Hope its not to windy🤔

I dont think Santa is going to bring me my Zenithstar61. Birthday in Feb😂👍🏼

Edited by Ryan_86
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Tim    2,773

Have a word with @Beulah, who may be able to help :)

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David Levi    232

Not really an answer to your question but last night I went with a fellow astronomer to the car park at Pont Ar Wysg not far from Usk Reservoir.  Maybe you already know the location. The site offers great panoramic views and the sky darkness you will know from the reservoir site. There are no lights around but you do have to put up with the odd car passing on the Trecastle to Llangadog road. In three and a half hours last night 7 cars went north to south (not much of a problem due to the geography) and 2 cars travelled south to north (you get quite well illuminated for a few seconds but I just closed my eyes until the cars had gone). You can set up about 10 to 20 metres from the road but the site is very open. The ground is compacted hardcore - quite flat and very firm with no pick up on equipment or shoes. We were the only people there but we did get a visit from a local farmer come game keeper who was looking for poachers/people fishing without a license. His car accounts for 2 of the recorded vehicles.

It was my first time at this location and I enjoyed it a lot. I will definitely be going back there. I haven't been to the Usk Reservoir yet due to the reported ongoing works there. It's only a hour and a half from Cardiff compared with 2 and a half hours to the Elan Valley (I don't drive fast). The site is darker than the Brecon Beacons visitor centre at Libanus but not as dark as the Elan Valley. If future visits live up to my observing session there last night then it wins over Elan Valley due to time and panorama. The site that I observed from on my only visit to the Elan Valley had a hill on one side that restricted the view in that direction. I will be going back to the Elan Valley but only on special occasions or for clear skies if it's cloudy further south.

 

Edited by David Levi
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estwing    4,683

elan is great but you cant camp over night...the dob mob go near here as the skies are fantastic!...but the rain and wind can sweep in very quickly!

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Ryan_86    63

Hi David, thanks for your reply. No I'm not familiar with your location but it sounds good. Do you have the postcode? Did you have clear skies last night? I was debating whether to head out but my wife's shift lasted longer than anticipated  (nurse duties)😬 

Estwing have you been to Usk Res? If so how much darker would you both say Elan Valley is? 

I'm hoping to visit Cynwyl Gaeo tomorrow or early next week. Its an extra 30ish miles ontop of what my journey is to Usk Res, but judging by my dark sky map & google maps it may be my permanant dark site. I will post my findings asap.

Cheers Ryan

Edited by Ryan_86
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estwing    4,683

Only place darker than Elan is possibly Llynn peninsula...but that's a heck of a drive 

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L8-Nite    1,633
10 hours ago, estwing said:

elan is great but you cant camp over night...the dob mob go near here as the skies are fantastic!...but the rain and wind can sweep in very quickly!

Have the Mob been to Claerwen Reservoir ? 

Its been on my travel list, but only by Google Earth so far.  Looking on "street view", there is a large parking area below the dam with apparent toilet facilities available in the adjacent small building. There is also an inviting spot for a few to park and set up at the end of the road going across the dam.

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estwing    4,683

Not there Mike as when we go we stay for the whole weekend which ain't permitted?.

we stay over the hill from here up a small cul-de-sac where people are safe from us!

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David Levi    232

Hello @Ryan_86 here is the link to the Usk Reservoir car park at Pont Ar Wysg. Let me know if it doesn't work.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Usk+Res+Parking/@51.9301653,-3.7175796,18.06z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x486e4c9ceee1a11d:0xcbe238cfda82411a!2sPont+ar+Hydfer,+Brecon+LD3+8YE!3b1!8m2!3d51.934789!4d-3.658851!3m4!1s0x0:0x96ddbdf3f880e8d1!8m2!3d51.9301679!4d-3.7176339?hl=en

We had clear skies on Friday until midnight. We packed up just in time as we had a sleet shower just after leaving.

 

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swamp thing    5,167
2 hours ago, estwing said:

Not there Mike as when we go we stay for the whole weekend which ain't permitted?.

 

What is it these dark sky reserves say......

"Come and enjoy our wonderful dark skies...............NO OVERNIGHT PARKING ??? :evil5:

Hows that work? :dontknow::icon_biggrin:

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estwing    4,683

Make a fortune if someone set up a campsite there...no electricity tho that seems to encourage bring a floodlight brigade 

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faulksy    3,324
11 hours ago, L8-Nite said:

Have the Mob been to Claerwen Reservoir ? 

Its been on my travel list, but only by Google Earth so far.  Looking on "street view", there is a large parking area below the dam with apparent toilet facilities available in the adjacent small building. There is also an inviting spot for a few to park and set up at the end of the road going across the dam.

i used to go to claerwen , lovely spot, all you can here at night is the pump house. views to the east are a no go though

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Beulah    2,729

Claerwen's a great spot to set up - my advice is to get up to the car park on the dam to avoid any lights coming from the farmhouse at the bottom.

No matter if you can't wild camp, as is illegal everywhere in England and Wales. Campsite right on the door step with a pub/hotel nearby -  it is a good base to explore and plenty of places to stay and even Elan Estate holiday cottages you can stay in cheaply if a group of you share the accomodation fees. Penglaneinon is the best for astronomy, trust me, I know...  ;)

The only other option is to move house.  ;)

 

 

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L8-Nite    1,633
4 hours ago, faulksy said:

i used to go to claerwen , lovely spot, all you can here at night is the pump house. views to the east are a no go though

I would be happy if it purrs like an old steam engine. :wink:

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faulksy    3,324
5 hours ago, L8-Nite said:

I would be happy if it purrs like an old steam engine. :wink:

can be quite dewe as well mike

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