The weather gods were at their fickle worst for the 2nd Kielder Forest Star Camp as observers from across the UK were left to reflect on what a difference a year makes.
Heavy rain led to flooding in parts of the campsite, a complete contrast to the previous year's sub-zero temperatures, rock hard ground and pristine skies. Friday night provided a respite with about four hours of viewing. The sky remained misty given the amount of moisture in the air, but even so showed everyone the enormous potential of the site. The Milky Way glowed through occasional thin cloud and objects like M33 verged on naked eye visibility.
Binoculars were broken out across the campsite by those discouraged from setting up scopes earlier, with many of the Autumn's finest open clusters putting on a brilliant display.
Poor weather returned on Saturday. However, star campers forgot the gloom and headed for nearby Kielder Castle for the main day. Vendors packed the 18th century venue, including sponsor Pulsar (Optical), House of Optics and Rother Valley Optics. Also present were the Widescreen Centre, Green Witch, Cape Instruments, York Meteorites Aurora Books, Campaign for Dark Skies and South Tyneside Planetarium. Talks by Nik Szymanek and Jurgen Schmoll were packed The final night once more provided glimpses of what might have been, with clear but misty spells.