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Dark sites - personal protection


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3 hours ago, jacko61 said:

West Calder?  I'm just over the hill :)  

Where do you go for the dark skies ?

I’m thinking of Harperrig later on when we have dark

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54 minutes ago, The Lazy Astronomer said:

😨

Or perhaps something else that will make a similarly loud bang to scare them off?

I'll bring my wife

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Now you may all shout “You are odd” and I don’t have anything but huge wild boar to deal with but my other pleasure is carp fishing.

This invariably involves multiple nights sleeping by a lake in a very rural/wild environment. Frankly it is the best nights sleep I ever get, sometimes I don’t even bother with a tent just sleep on a camp bed.

Once embedded in nature I feel part of it and relax, but it has to be said I might have a sleepless night if a bear is a possibility.

Marv

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This just comes down to good old fear of the dark. You're in far more danger driving to your site than observing at it. Certainly this is true in Britain and Europe where 'personal protection,' American-style, is illegal. We learn or inherit fear of the dark but it's an irrational fear since the daytime is far, far more dangerous. When I came to my present place, a dark, remote farmhouse in rural France, I would sometimes feel spooked in the night. Now I never do because, I think, I've 'unlearned' this irrational fear.  While I would love to see wolves or boar at night - they are around - I know they are far too wary of humans to show themselves willingly and I remain disappointed. As for burglars, they mostly strike by day when they've checked you are out. And, by night, they are incredibly easy to detect.

Of all the things you do, few will be as safe as observing the night sky. It just doesn't always feel that way.

Olly

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I think the only time I’ve been afraid observing was whilst on my honeymoon on Safari in Tanzania. They were the best skies I’ve ever been under, but I was far too scared of getting eaten to be able to relax and enjoy it properly unfortunately.

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From Belgium here, so I don’t even have to worry about dark sites 😝

But indeed, sitting in half dark, moving around and scaring people that way, I can imagine one needs to prevent getting their head bashed in. 
I always have a 10€ Decathlon red night light on, at my feet. Prevents me from falling over my stuff, but also ‘shows’ people I’m there.

While observing, I did have the odd wildlife passing over and next to me, the most terrifying one was a family of wild boar in France, but I was lucky enough to be in an enclosed garden, at the right side of the fence. 
i don’t even want to know what animals I haven’t seen. 

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There is a method of self defence that is designed around a plain old walking stick. If you search, it is easy to find, including on You Tube. Indeed I think it is an official martial art, to some. I don't think any could argue with you carrying a walking aid?

To me though, one of these would deter most: https://www.oemc.co.uk/

dmc1.jfif

After all, he would need exercise... :rolleyes2:

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1 hour ago, iapa said:

Antonio? Wasn’t he about equality and the people being civil to each other? And there’s no “ownership”

Doubt that’s who you mean tho’

 

1 hour ago, Tiny Clanger said:

I was thinking the same , 'Beware of the wild Marxists on the heath'  ?!

No Spaced fans in?

 

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1 hour ago, iapa said:

@Greymouser except they are big softies at heart :)

Yes I met two in Cornwall once. One weighed in at 21 stone, its smaller sibling a mere 19 stone. Soft as anything, but how would anyone else know? Believe me when I say, there is no way you are making them do something they do not want to! If I had the space, I would get one, not least because lots need re homing it seemed. :smiley:

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4 hours ago, iapa said:

Where do you go for the dark skies ?

I’m thinking of Harperrig later on when we have dark

I have my own roll off roof observatory in the back garden. We're bortle 4 (just) and have no street lights in the vicinity. You're more than welcome to pop over to take a look. 

Graeme

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When outdoors working and playing into the night and early morning, the trees above come alive, their boughs swaying here and there, to and fro.  Thus far, nothing has dropped down in front of or on top of me.  Imagine my surprise if one did; then imagine their surprise upon my reaction.

Not long ago, at night of course, something was rustling, scrabbling about in the brush, just a few yards away.  It sounded larger than a raccoon, but it wasn't a dog either.  

Whatever it was I shooed it away, with a light and vocalisations.  No, I didn't cut loose and yodel at it.

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10 hours ago, Wiu-Wiu said:

From Belgium here, so I don’t even have to worry about dark sites 😝

But indeed, sitting in half dark, moving around and scaring people that way, I can imagine one needs to prevent getting their head bashed in. 
I always have a 10€ Decathlon red night light on, at my feet. Prevents me from falling over my stuff, but also ‘shows’ people I’m there.

While observing, I did have the odd wildlife passing over and next to me, the most terrifying one was a family of wild boar in France, but I was lucky enough to be in an enclosed garden, at the right side of the fence. 
i don’t even want to know what animals I haven’t seen. 

Make a noise and the boars will run away. Only an injured boar presents any kind of danger and they are usually on their own.

Olly

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Posted (edited)

I should just add the the boar hunters are certainly dangerous and shoot both each other and members of the public every year. The risk to the public is only about one in fifty million, though...

:Dlly

Edited by ollypenrice
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As already noted I think the UK is quite renowned for having some of least dangerous wildlife and plants in the world.  There is very little here that can do a reasonable degree of harm - as mentioned above the only poisonous snake is only active by day and even then only poses real risk to the very young, elderly and infirm for other reasons groups of people.  In fact I think the biggest hazards we have in the UK probably come from blundering into patches of stinging nettles - which whilst unlikely to be fatal are quite unpleasant in large numbers, or falling in the wild nests of wasps, hornets or bees.  Something that some here do have anaphylactic reactions to and carry epipens to help deal with.  Oh, yes and esp. in Scotland you can be 'eaten alive' by midges mosquitos from the still water up there, but again in the UK they tend to not carry critical disease.  In some regions 'ticks' in long grass can carry Lyme disease and that is unpleasant/fatal to some, but that's probably the worse you would catch from the wildlife and most of us are vaccinated against tetanus - at least when young and some maintain it when older which you could pick up from puncture wounds obtained in the dark in 'horse' areas.  Apart from that we can roam most places without fear of encountering wild boar, wolves, coyotes, the biggest risks coming as also noted above from larger farm animals, i.e. 'danger - bull in field', but then you've probably scoped those out prior to setting up.

A large Maglite seems the most legitimate form of protection probably deployable in the UK as it can be explained away by other reasons.  Also, I wouldn't underestimate the damage that could be done by the biggest, heaviest, cheapest eyepiece swung in your hand and that you could easily explain away in your box.  Or even a large set of keys which is what many a mother tells their daughters to carry.  A course in self-defence would probably provide much needed confidence and would only take about 12 sessions too.

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Posted (edited)

A counterweight bar would make a nasty weapon. The one for my AZ100 weighs a fair bit and I have thought while holding it I wouldn’t want to get hit by it. Leave a counterweight on and you’ve got yourself a proper war club. 🙀

Edited by johninderby
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I always felt safe when I had my dog with me, she could also see in the dark so warned me of any approaching critters like hogs so i didn't accidentally step on one.

Alan

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I remember  feeling that a 30 second exposure was a very, very long time when out shooting the milk-way  in the woods of Wyoming.   Wide angle, one-shot..... forget mosaics.

Bear bells, pepper spray...... hmmmm ???    Was that the wind rustling the foliage.....??  

Under clear skies.       Continental Divide, Wyoming,                         Craney

Luckily I had my black-belt pink pant wearing ninja assistant at arms length.

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