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Peak Star Party Lives Again! 21 - 24 October


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Hi all,

thanks for the feedback on the "Interest in..." thread.

We have now sorted the site out (Shallow Grange Farm near Buxton) and have the booking form live: www.peakstarparty.co.uk.

Shallow Grange is a fantastic location with great views all round. The skies are very dark, estimated at around 5.5 limiting mag. The only obvious LP is a feint glow from Buxton to the north - to the south it is fantastic.

We are talking with Peak District Dark Skies and hope to be joining forces with them soon. More details on the website.

Seven takers already - we need to be able to commit to 40 by the end of May to secure sole occupancy of the site so please come along and book your pitch!

Any questions, please e-mail info@peakstarparty.co.uk

Edited by jamespels
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Just booked my place. I know it's months away, but I'm already looking forward it. It will be my first camping experience (49 and never slept under canvas !) and my 1st real star party :) - plus a chance to meet up with some of the folk on SGL.

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I know that its months away but I hope that the number of bookings pick up. I was not aware of the original Peak Star Parties as i think these were back in 2007/08, but James seems to be very enthusiastic and put in a considerable effort to get this off the ground.


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I am def interested in this but need to speak to a few people first to see if they want to come and to sort out baby sitters for my girls - who soon will something like this fill up? Would hate to miss the boat.

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if we dont get the 40 for sole use of site will it still go ahead

I asked James the same thing via e-mail and he has mentioned that depending on the numbers the event will still go ahead just that the numbers affect whether we occupy just the back field or whole site. If the event is very poorly supported and he makes the decision to cancel then a full refund less the booking fee is returnable.

I'm hoping it won't come to that, and we can get the target or very close.

I'm sure James will keep us all informed as hopefully the numbers will increase

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Hi all,

OK, to answer the questions so far... (I will copy this to a new FAQs page on the website in a moment).

"How fast are pitches being booked and when do I need to book by?"

Pitches are being booked steadily. We have had the bookings page open for nearly a week and eight pitches have gone so far. We have a little under 50 pitches available in the Touring and Camping Fields and about the same again in the Overflow Field.

However, we need to secure a minimum of 40 bookings by the end of May so we would really appreciate if you would book early rather than hanging on to see who else is going. From talking to the organisers of the last PSP, this is one of the things that killed the event off - people hung on until it was too late to commit to the campsite and were then surprised when it got cancelled!

"Are families and pets welcome?"

Yes, very much so. Obviously the normal star party rule applies, i.e. dogs on leads and children under control at all time (the astronomy kit is fragile and expensive and Shallow Grange is a working farm with all the hazards that involves) but the Peak District is a very family friendly place. There are several walks straight from the farm so there is plenty of good walking and playing area in easy reach. There is also a huge variety of things for all the family to do. The Local Attractions page lists local tourist attractions and we are trying to get discount vouchers for as many as possible.

"What happens if we don't reach the 40 we need?"

We need to book 40 pitches to secure sole occupancy of the site. The target date for committing to this with the site is 31 May. If we cannot commit at this time, Shallow Grange will open up the Touring and Camping Fields to bookings. We will, however, still have sole use of the Overflow Field for any people who want to go ahead with a smaller Star Party. All rates will remain the same but there is a maximum of three 16A EHUs which may be split down to six 8A ones. We obviously would not have sole occupancy but, if you look at the site plan you can see that this field is pretty well separated from everything else. Main drawbacks would be minimal restrictions on site lighting and cars coming and going in the field next to the Overflow Field.

"What if we don't reach the 40 pitches and I don't want to go to the smaller party?"

At the end of May, I will meet with the other organisers and the site owners to discuss where we are up to. If we cannot secure sole occupancy, everybody who has made a booking so far will have the the choice to stay on for the smaller party or a full refund, less the EventElephant booking and refund fees (about £3 or thereabouts in total).

"What time do we have to leave on the 24th?"

Nominal site checkout time is 11am. However, the owners have kindly said that anybody whose pitch is not booked can take their time and leave when they are ready (within reason!). Obviously, people who want to stay on afterwards don't need to vacate their pitch at all! Please book any extensions directly with Shallow Grange.

"How secure is the site?"

The site is reasonably secure. Assuming we secure sole occupancy there will only be other astronomers on site (we may invite one or two groups of local school-children who are studying for GCSE astronomy one afternoon but this will be a fully guided, controlled visit, not going into the camping areas). There will almost always be other astronomers around and it is normal for people to just put covers over their scopes at night or while they are wondering around. We will also have a full list of all people attending and will help out where possible if anything is stolen. That said, something I have to stress is that we are running this on a voluntary basis and no part of the charges goes to the organisers – as such, we do not guarantee any security and provide no additional insurance so you are advised to make sure your own insurance will cover all your possessions.

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Hi James

If we are looking short nearer the time, I could publicise at my astro club to see if there is any interest and I guess others could do likewise

Obviously SGL should get priority so let me know if this is something you want to consider, and when. Possibly at the beginning of May?

Thanks for all your hard work on this, very much looking forward to it


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Hi guys, this sounds great.... I was wondering if it would be possible to pitch up on the Saturday and stay till monday night? We're off to Kielder Star Camp on the Tuesday and I guess we could make the peaks a stop over.. :)

Only problem is we're a little short of the old holiday allowance and have just booked SGL6...so taking Friday off is probably going to be difficult and I don't fancy trying to pitch our large tent under red light rules!

One other thought is if you could negotiate some sort of 'sale or return' on the electricity? I don't fancy the thought of running out of juice mid session, but also don't want to stump up £20 for electrons and end up taking home £15 unused...It's a little hard to predict what we might need so and suggestions welcomed...

Cheers and good luck


Edited by MG1
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Another one for the FAQs...

Juice will be bought in £1 units - anything unused units will be refunded.

Very rough & ready calculation: amount of electricity needed = running power (NOT maximum power) of your kit * hours running. So, if your kit runs at 600W (say - I really have no idea!), and you want to run it from 10pm to 6am (8 hours), electricity needed = 0.6kW * 8 = 4.8kWh. Alternatively, if you want to run a 3kW electric heater at full power overnight (8pm - 8am) you will use 3kW * 12h = 36kWh! The first £1 (about 7kWh) each night is included in the booking fee - this should be sufficient for most things but anybody who wants to run en electric heater or similar should consider this.

A few other reference points:

  • At maximum power supply, a 16A EHU will deliver about 3.6kW (2 hours on one card)
  • An 8A EHU will deliver about 1.8kW (4 hours on one card)
  • An EQ6 Pro mount has a 5A 13.8V power supply, drawing 69W maximum (probably abut 100W, allowing for losses in the transformer).
  • Powerful laptops draw about 300W at full power - typically much less than this in normal use.
  • Laptop at 50% CPU + EQ6 Pro will therefore draw ABOUT 250W, which will take about 30hr to use 7.5kWh.
  • Electric heaters rated at 3kW at about a 50% duty cycle (to heat a caravan over night, say) will exhaust 7.5kWh supply in 5 hours.

Hope this helps!

Edited by jamespels
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I hope this isn't a daft follow-up....

I'm assuming that it's not a case of waiting until one card runs out before inserting another one?

We could buy say £20/30 and just keep it plugged in all weekend then get the balance refunded....?

Again sorry for seeming dumb...I've not used a meter for some years...

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here is another for the faq`s

on another thread i have done a sort of heads up for the tiny caravan my employers are about to make, they might let me bring one to this show, but would that make me a trade stand?

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MG1 - the card meter can be topped up using more cards at any point. E.g. if it was down to 20p, you could feed it another card and it would go to £1.20. Not sure what the max limit is but you will only need 5 cards to last all night even at the max. 16A supply.

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Seems OK for me, got as far as having to enter details...


From the web site

The five pitches closest to the entrance have heavy duty rubber webbing underneath and are suitable for light camper vans; the remaining thirteen pitches are suitable for caravans and tents. The five camper van pitches are available separately, at no extra cost, on a first come, first served basis through the booking form.

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The FAQ suggest contacting the site direct to book days after the event if you want to stay longer, I would presume the same applies if you want to book the week before. I would suggest checking with the site owners first to confirm that a pitch is vacant before the event, if so book those days with the site and then book the star party through the online booking site, adding a comment stating your intentions

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Hi all,

just checked the site and all appears to be well. To be sure, please use this link: http://www.peakstarparty.co.uk.

Shallow Grange are open to bookings from people wanting to visit before and after the Star Party. If you want to stay before, please mention the Star Party as Shallow Grange are putting all other visitors in the Overflow Field for a few days before 21 October to give us space to set up.

Caravans are absolutely fine anywhere in the Touring Field; please leave the five firm pitches for campervans which may need to come and go more often.



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