Last week I saw a star 37 light years away. The light from Arcturus left that star at some time 37 years ago. It took that long to get to wark last week. The concept is mind boggling, but thanks to the team at the Battlesteads this experience is available to everyone. The hotel has always been cutting edge but it has invested in an architect designed, beautiful and warm observatory, from which they use a state of the art special telescope to see the planets and the stars, in comfort and style. Aided by Roy Alexander, originally a physics teacher but now with a serious sideline in astronomy, they are providing Astro Ventures - a bespoke experience for up to 30 people in their observatory. All this with a delicious dinner, pint, bed and breakfast on your doorstep. It is a great way to spend a winters evening and I warmly recommend it. The important bit for the local MP is that this enterprise also provides further vitality to a beautiful village, sustainability to a crucial gastropub and employer, and more jobs in a rural economy. And it does this by providing what is fundamentally a winter attraction, when pubs traditionally struggle and some shed summer workers. Our dark skies in the Upper North Tyne of Northumberland are truly special and there is no doubt you can see a very long way. Mind you it does help to have a telescope capable of seeing many millions of miles! A great experience. Check it out soon!