Cairngorms National Park to be transformed into huge work of art for UK-wide culture celebration

The Cairngorms National Park is to be turned into a huge work of art as part of the biggest ever UK-wide celebration of culture this year.

Hundreds of ‘Lumenators’ will be recruited to help transform the iconic landscape with dramatic moving chains of light.

The event at the UK’s biggest natural park, described as a "once-in-a-lifetime experience", will be filmed at dusk and broadcast later online after it is staged in the Highlands in August.

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Three other locations in Scotland are expected to be among up to 20 sites of natural beauty, including mountains, lakes and moorland, which will be playing host to the ‘Green Space Dark Skies Project’ across the UK between April and September.

Green Space Dark Skies will be staged at the Cairngorms National Park in August.

Green Space Dark Skies will be free to take part in and is being targeted at people from all walks of life. Each short film is expected to feature interviews with the Lumenators discussing their connections with each location.

Although organisers expect the footage from Green Space Dark Skies to be broadcast to millions, the exact locations involved will only be revealed to the 20,000 participants who sign up in advance to help protect the environment.

Low-impact hand-held lighting sensitive to the night-time environment will be used.

Other locations include Dartmoor, Exmoor, Dorset, the Causeway Coast, Brecon Beacons and Anglesey.

Around 20,000 people are expected to take place in the UK-wide Green Space Dark Skies project.

Green Space Dark Skies is one of six projects being staged in Scotland as part of the £120 million Unboxed festival.

The official website for Green Space Dark Skies states: “These are places that anyone can visit, any time, for free.

"But we know not everybody feels welcome there. Walk the Plank is inviting people who don’t usually experience the countryside to take part and to share their stories – before, during and after.

"Together we will celebrate nature, show that the countryside belongs to all of us, and that it is our job to protect it.”

The Cairngorms National Park will be playing host to the Green Space Dark Skies in August. Picture: Will Boyd Wallis

The project, which is expected to involve around 1,000 participants in the Scottish locations, is being led by the leading outdoor theatre and arts producers Walk The Plank.

Keren McKean, Walk the Plank’s producer for Scotland, said: “Scotland’s landscapes are rich, unique and diverse.

"The country’s dramatic backdrop is globally recognised and attracts over ten million tourists per year, but often local people and people from particular communities can feel like the great outdoors isn’t for them.

"Green Space Dark Skies is about engaging with communities and encouraging people to feel connected to the land, to enjoy it and to protect it.”

A couple of walkers on a track from the Lairig Ghru mountain pass in the Cairngorms National Park. Picture: Paul Tomkins

The Cairngorms National Park attracts more than two million visitors a year, thanks to its mountain range, which is home to four of the five highest peaks in the UK, nine nature reserves and hugely-popular watersports and snowsports facilities.

Chief executive Grant Moir said: “We’re delighted to welcome Green Space Dark Skies to the UK’s largest national park here. The project promises to create a unique spectacle celebrating nature, our responsibility to protect it and everyone’s right to explore the countryside.

“As a national park open to all, we are particularly pleased that the organisers are reaching out to such a diverse range of participants, and it is great to see an event of this scale aiming to make a net positive contribution to our collective carbon reduction targets.”

The Green Space Dark Skies project will be staged at the Cairngorms National Park in August.
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