Mull of Kintyre, noctilucent desire

The lighthouse at Sanda Island shines all the way over to Garron Point, while the noctilucent clouds put on a wonderful display in the skies above. 

Before the construction of Co. Antrim's world class coast road in the 19th century, the villages and hamlets scattered along the rugged cliffs and bays must have been so isolated. Travel would have been long and arduous. It's no surprise, then, that there were very close links between the folks of the Glens of Antrim and the neighbours in Scotland. Boat travel across the Irish Sea must have been easier than travel by foot far inland in many occasions. 

And last night, that close proximity between my home county and my fellow Celts in Scotland became very apparent to me once more, as I spent a few hours photographing the skies above the Mull of Kintyre.

I was up at Garron Point photographing the sunset. It seemed that the further east you travelled last night in Northern Ireland, the less cloud there was. I just about managed to get enough cloud to make for a decent sunset shot or two, and then it was time to head back down to the car. 

As I made my way down, I checked Facebook to see if there was any sign of activity. Reports were coming in of some NLCs being viewed already in Germany. Good, I thought to myself. With clear skies and promising reports, I might be in luck.

So I settled down at the car park at Garron Point and waited to see if anything would appear. And while I was doing so, guess what? The cloud that I had escaped by travelling east was rapidly catching up with me! I had a letterbox of clear sky along the horizon, maybe only around 6-7 degrees high. Would the NLCs appear before this closed off entirely...??

After midnight, reports came in of faint sightings to the NE. With the small letterbox of visibility for me, I stuck my 300mm zoom lens on so I could get close to the action. And, right enough, there it was! I was able to photograph the display over the Mull of Kintyre, including capturing the resolute lighthouse on Sanda Island. 

I spent the next hour so watching the display get ever brighter in the tiny gap before eventually the cloud closed down even further and tiredness took over.

Farewell to my Scottish friends for another night. Here's until the next time my 300 mm zoom lens helps me cross the water to your find land!

Close up detail of the wonderful patterns of NLCs. 

Towards the end of the display, it began to brighten - and got bright enough to cause reflections on the Irish Sea!

The lighthouse on Mull of Kintyre - along with a light on top of a hill top mast to the right just poking above some orographic cloud that is draped over the summit - have a close look to see if you can spot it!