In October 2009 the Galloway park was recognised by the Dark-Sky Association – based in Tucson, Arizona – as Bortle 2 on the international darkness scale, the darkest it gets on dry land.

The ‘Darkest Challenge on Earth’ event will be held at Kirroughtree Visitor Centre, near Newton Stewart, on Saturday 13th March between 4pm to 10pm.

Mandy Burgess from the 7stanes said: “Galloway is now officially one of the best places in the world for stargazing so we thought we’d celebrate this with an astronomically themed night ride event.

“Kirroughtree is well known for having some of the best trails on the planet so expect world class riding with some stellar problem solving!

“The event will give an insight into what the Dark Sky Park status is all about and raise awareness of the issues surrounding light pollution. Although this is a night riding competition, the information and other activities should attract a lot of visitors as well as the mountain biking participants to the event.”

The competition will include teams of 2, 3 or 4 riders, cycling a 5k loop. At the end of each loop, competitors will be given a ‘planet’ containing a puzzle which they take to the visitor centre to solve. The aim is to collect as many planets as possible and solve the clues. Riders must bring their own night riding lights.

There will be two marquees for the event based at the visitor centre. This area will make up the Dark Sky education site, astrological challenge area, planetarium and operate the medical facilities, food and heating.

For more information log on to the 7Stanes website or contact or 07771 678 903.

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