Stornoway photographer Scott Davidson is the winner of the second Hebridean Dark Skies Festival photography competition, it was announced today (Monday December 2nd).

Scott’s winning photograph, Callanish and the Cosmos, will feature on the cover of the festival’s printed programme, available from this week. The photograph will also feature alongside five other shortlisted entries in an exhibition opening at An Lanntair on Friday 7 February, the festival’s opening day.

Festival programmer Andrew Eaton-Lewis said: “Callanish is surely the most photographed location on Lewis so it is a big challenge to create an image that feels original and surprising, but what Scott manages to do with light and perspective in this image is really striking and memorable. We’re delighted that this captivating photo will be helping to showcase the Hebridean Dark Skies Festival to the world.”

In addition to Callanish and the Cosmos, the Hebridean Dark Skies Festival photography exhibition will feature work by five other shortlisted photographers, Douglas Rattray, Andy Yearley, Jethro Thomas, Christian Cooksey and Steve Ferguson, all from Lewis and Harris.

The second Hebridean Dark Skies Festival will run from Friday 7 February to Saturday 22 February, with an ambitious and exciting programme theatre, live music, film, visual art, food, astronomy talks, and stargazing. Highlights will include:

  • The Only Light Was Stars by Karine Polwart, an exclusive early glimpse at the the singer-songwriter’s supernova-themed follow up to her hit show Wind Resistance.
  • Universe (of Music) with Chris Lintott and Steve Pretty, in which a leading astronomer and a jazz musician team up for an evening of ‘conversation, contemplation, science and music’.
  • Creativity and Curiosity, an exhibition in An Lanntair’s main gallery inspired by collaborations between artists and astronomers, to be launched with A Day of Creativity and Curiosity, a packed day of events on the festival’s opening weekend.
  • g-Astronomy, an interactive dining experience in which astrophysicist Roberto Trotta will create menus with chefts at An Lanntair and Uig Sands.
  • Cosmos Planetarium – returning for a second year, the popular portable planetarium will present a new programme at An Lanntair and across Lewis.
  • Dark Skies film programme bringing together four science fiction films - Solaris, Contact, Interstellar and Ad Astra - that explore human connections across the cosmos.
  • Stargazing events across the island presented by Highland Astronomy Tours and Steven Gray from Cosmos Planetarium.
  • To close the festival, a revival of Neosa’s sellout production of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds featuring some of Lewis’s most talented musicians.

The Hebridean Dark Skies Festival was launched in February this year, with audiences travelled from across the UK to see festival guests including Chris Lintott, singer-songwriter Emma Pollock, BAFTA award-winning actress Shauna Macdonald, Scotland’s Astronomer Royal John Brown, and Scotland’s top children’s theatre-maker Andy Cannon.

The 2020 festival will be dedicated to the memory of John Brown, who sadly died at the end of November, just days after the festival programme was printed. A guest of honour at the first Hebridean Dark Skies Festival’s opening weekend, Professor Brown was also a significant source of support and advice as the festival programme came together, and was to have made a second appearance at the second festival in February.

The Hebridean Dark Skies Festival is programmed by An Lanntair (part-financed by Outer Hebrides LEADER funding), in partnership with Stornoway Astronomical Society, Calanais Visitor Centre, Gallan Head Community Trust, and Lews Castle College, and with support from Outer Hebrides Tourism and Visit Scotland.

The second festival is part of a new winter tourism campaign, Winter in the Wild, led by An Lanntair in partnership with Outer Hebrides Tourism, Visit Scotland, Hebridean Hopscotch, Loganair, Cal Mac, Glasgow Airport, and other local organisations. #winterinthewild.