It wasn’t quite the dark skyline that Huddersfield Lights Out was looking for but the countdown is on to a big switch OFF event next year.
Huddersfield people were urged to turn off their lights at 10.30pm on Sunday night as part of a campaign to highlight the impact of light pollution on the night sky.
A cloudy, wet, windy – and chilly – night meant it wasn’t the best time for stargazing but some lights did go out and organiser Mark Harrison hailed the event a success and a great practice run for a full-on event at Castle Hill in summer 2023.
Mark was one of a hardy band of 20 or so people who went up Castle Hill and the weather was decidedly wintry.
Afterwards Mark said: “We chose this night because we wanted it to be properly dark, we wanted there to be a new moon and we hoped for decent-ish weather. Unfortunately, you couldn’t see the moon and the British weather did what the British weather does!
“We only started this eight months ago with a random post on social media and even a month ago not many people knew about it. Our posts over the last few days reached as many as 30,000 people so the awareness we’ve created is amazing.
“Some people were expecting it look spectacular and were expecting more but others have said they could see a difference and it’s a great start.”
Mark, pictured above, had enlisted the support of Kirklees Council for this year’s event but the logistics and permissions needed meant the organisers just ran out of time.
Planning has already started on an event for Castle Hill – probably in May or June next year – and Mark said: “We are 70% of the way there. We learned a lot on Sunday night and what we have created is a massive talking point. Huddersfield Lights Out has become a thing, and that’s crazy from where we started.”
With the backing of Kirklees Council it is hoped dozens of street lights could be turned off next year but even that isn’t as simple as it sounds.
“Someone has to go to every single street light and pull a fuse,” said Mark “You would have thought you could flick a switch at a sub-station but that’s not the case in Kirklees.”
Despite the rain and gusting wind on top of Castle Hill, Mark said: “It definitely made a difference and the sky looked darker to me – but then I would say that, wouldn’t I?
“It was a good start, we’ve learned a lot and we’ve got an organising committee working on next year. It would be great to have an all-day family event at Castle Hill and we can’t wait to make it happen.”
Don’t be in the dark – follow Huddersfield Lights Out on Facebook.
Main image: SEAN DOYLE