Dark night-time skies are considered a normal way of life on Coll, and their quality and value are recognised by the vast majority of residents.
There are no street lights on Coll and, although their introduction has been discussed in the island’s community council, the overall consensus has been to resist their installation. The island community of Coll is therefore immersed in the dark skies overhead in a way that most communities these days are not, witnessing them whenever they venture outside after twilight.
There is also a very strong conservation ethos on Coll and a recognition that we need to preserve and protect our rare and unique environment of peace and tranquillity. Indeed, these unique characteristics can attract tourists to the island, thus supporting local businesses and the community as a whole.
Following media coverage of Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park’s successful bid in November 2009 to become the UK’s first International Dark Sky Park, through the IDA’s Dark Sky Places programme, a few like minded residents discussed a similar scheme for Coll. Being a very small community, the word soon got around and it became evident that not one person was showing any sign of disagreement.
The whole community is behind the project. It was later announced that the Isle of Sark, at the other end of the UK, had just been awarded Dark Sky Status, as the first island community. It was decided to use Sark’s approach in our own application and thanks must be given to the generous assistance of these Sark pioneers and Steve Owens of Glasgow.
For more information please visit Dark Skies on Coll – the website is now live!