Standing out in the open on a clear night and turning your eyes upwards will convince most people that there is no better place than Scotland for stargazing.
There may be deserts or Arctic wastelands that can compare, but the best places in Scotland for looking at a night sky are much more accessible and as beautiful in daylight as starlight.
There is even a house on the market with its own observatory.
Dumfries and Galloway is home to Scotland’s own Dark Sky Park, an area defined as “a location of exceptional night time beauty, dark skies education, and preservation of the night time environment”. It is one of only seven gold standard Dark Sky Parks in the world, and is the first in the UK with a sky quality metre score, measuring ambient light pollution, as near to total darkness as you can get. The lack of ambient light means observers on a clear night in Galloway Forest Park will see the Milky Way as a silvery band with the naked eye. Through a telescope it becomes individual stars.
Moffat in Dumfries and Galloway takes the title of Europe’s first Dark Sky Town, having adopted special street lighting to keep light pollution to a minimum.
But the south-west isn’t the only place in Scotland attracting those who like to look to the heavens.
Skye is also one of the darkest places in Europe with nine locations on the island designated Dark Sky Discovery Sites and the further north you go, the more likely you are not just to see the stars but also the northern lights.
For those with a yearning for their own big sky home, or who want to make a living from the increasing number of tourists such places attract, there are plenty of homes on the market to suit.
Roeberry House on South Ronaldsay in Orkney, built in 1861, is an upgraded property that would make a fine family home or country house bed and breakfast. Its spectacular coastal location with views to the north and west over Scapa Flow towards the island of Hoy and mainland Orkney would give views of the stars and aurora borealis in a beautiful setting.
White Rose Tower is a unique modern Scottish tower house near Invergordon,Ross-shire that is not only set in its own forest location, but also has an observatory in one of its turrets.
On the edge of the Galloway forest is Auchenleck. The secluded hunting lodge, which resembles a small castle, has its own two-bedroomed cottage which could be used for letting.