AN ode to the Yorkshire’s night sky has been released as the county prepares for a celebration of all things celestial.

The week-long Dark Skies Festival, which runs from Saturday, February 18, to Sunday, February 26, will see over 100 events being held across 21 different locations within the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors national parks.

Renowned poet Ian McMillan was commissioned by both national park authorities to write a tribute to the beauty of Yorkshire’s night skies.

The Bard of Barnsley’s new verse entitled 'The Darker The Sky' is as follows:

The darker the sky, the more you can see;

The blacker the night, the brighter the Moon,

The dimmer the streets, the stronger the glow

The deeper the shade, the lighter the view.

The map of the heavens, the time and the space

The distance they travel, the cities of stars,

The trail of a comet, the satellite’s stroll

The football of Venus, the beach ball of Mars.

The blindness of headlights, the dazzling fire

The hint of a sunrise, the dawn’s subtle kiss,

The straining of tired eyes, the lamp in the face

The struggle to notice, the sights we all miss.

The hope for the future: the sky’s welcome gleam,

The Milky Way’s jewels, the meteor’s trail,

The old constellations, the space-station’s glint.

The inky sea’s waiting; the night boat sets sail!

The programme for the Dark Skies Festival includes Yorkshire Dales activities such as a Space Trail at Malham, a Planet Trail at Grassington National Park Centre and a nocturnal wildlife walk from the Dales Countryside Museum at Hawes.

For booking details and more information about the Dark Skies Festival programme of events, visit