Robin Ince, g-Astronomy and Night Swim added to Hebridean Dark Skies Festival programme

  • Published on: 4th November 2019
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As tickets for events across February’s Hebridean Dark Skies Festival go on sale, An Lanntair is delighted to announce several new programme highlights.

Robin Ince is a multiple award winning comedian best known for co-hosting the international smash hit, Rose D’Or and Sony Award winning BBC Radio 4 and podcast series, The Infinite Monkey Cage, with Professor Brian Cox, and the acclaimed Book Shambles podcast with Josie Long. Robin will be bringing his Chaos of Delight, ‘a celebration of the human mind, from Bohemians to Black Holes, Dali to DNA’ to the festival on Thursday 13 February. Tickets are available now via An Lanntair.

The Festival is also pleased to announce g-Astronomy, in which astrophysicist Roberto Trotta will join forces with chefs at An Lanntair and Uig Sands restaurant to present a special interactive culinary experience that translates complex astrophysics into an edible and educational experience for everybody, over the course of a delicious and sociable evening meal. g-Astronomy is part of an award-winning public engagement project called The Hands on Universerse. g-Astronomy will be open for bookings very soon – keep and eye on An Lanntair’s website for updates.

Finally, the Festival is joining forces with Immerse Hebrides for a Night Swim on Wednesday 12 February. The ticket price includes head torches, adventure lights, safety tow floats and a guided swim around a loch or easily accessible beach. To take part, contact To find out more about wild swimming on Lewis, visit

The events above are the latest addition to a long list of Hebridean Dark Skies Festival highlights, including a brand new show by Karine Polwart, Sky at Night presenter Chris Lintott teaming up with jazz musician Steve Pretty, arts and astronomy project Creativity and Curiosity and lots more. Tickets for events all across the festival will go on sale from today.

Now in its second year, the Hebridean Dark Skies Festival – led by An Lanntair in partnership with Stornoway Astronomical Society, Calanais Visitor Centre, Gallan Head Community Trust, Lews Castle College and new partners including Uig Sands – will bring two weeks of arts and astronomy events to the Isle of Lewis. The 2020 festival will run from Friday 7 February to Saturday 22 February, with an ambitious and exciting programme spanning theatre, live music, film, visual art, food, astronomy talks, and stargazing.

The Outer Hebrides have some of the darkest skies in the whole of the UK. Many astronomical sights can be seen through the naked eye including the Orion Nebula (over 1,500 light years away), the Milky Way Galaxy, and one of the Milky Way’s companion galaxies the Great Andromeda Galaxy. The Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, can also be seen from the islands, one of the very best spots in the UK for watching this incredible phenomenon.

Festival highlights already announced include:

  • 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’.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A brand new Dark Skies photography exhibition, consisting of shortlisted entries in this year’s photography competition.
  • 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 hugely popular production of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds featuring some of the Outer Hebrides’ most talented musicians.

The Hebridean Dark Skies Festival is part-funded, for a second year, by Outer Hebrides LEADER. It is being promoted as part of #winterinthewild, a new tourism campaign highlighting some compelling reasons why the Outer Hebrides is a perfect getaway outside of the summer season, with extraordinary scenery and a programme of high quality cultural events at An Lanntair. The #winterinthewild campaign is a partnership between An Lanntair and Outer Hebrides Tourism, VisitScotland, Hebridean Hopscotch Holidays, Loganair, CalMac, Glasgow Airport, Cala Hotels, and Lews Castle, with support from Creative Scotland, Event Scotland and Outer Hebrides LEADER.

Festival programmer Andrew Eaton-Lewis said: “We’re delighted to be adding Robin Ince and Roberto Trotta to an already packed programme, providing all the more reason to spend some time on the Isle of Lewis in February.”

For Hebridean Dark Skies Festival updates visit Tickets can be booked via An Lanntair‘s box office on 01851 708480. To request interviews or images, please contact Andrew Eaton-Lewis at An Lanntair on or 01851 708488.

Twitter @anlanntair