Appeal for information on observatory fire supported by SLE

Press Release

Scottish Land & Estates has echoed the call for information following a fire which has devastated the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory in East Ayrshire. 

The observatory is located on the Craigengillan Estate, an SLE member. Police Scotland has said the fire is being treated as suspicious and appealed for anyone with information to come forward. 

The Dalmellington based estate and its owner Mark Gibson have worked tirelessly over the past two decades to restore the fortunes of the estate and place it at the heart of the community. The estate is heavily involved with local schools to encourage the active involvement of young people in conservation projects, art in nature and creative writing.  In 2019, Mr Gibson was awarded an OBE in recognition of his services to heritage. 

Opened in 2012, the observatory is a brilliant and much loved resource which benefits the local community and a much larger public audience of stargazers, amateur astronomers, schools, colleges and universities. 

Sarah-Jane Laing, Chief Executive of Scottish Land & Estates, said: 

“The fire at the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory is devastating for everyone, particularly the local community, the charity that runs the observatory and Craigengillan Estate.  

“We would urge people who may have information regarding this fire to contact Police Scotland as soon as possible. The police have also asked motorists with dash-cams who were travelling in the area in the early hours of Wednesday morning to check in case they may have footage of relevance. 

“Craigengillan Estate was in poor condition two decades ago prior to Mark Gibson taking control. Since then, there has been a transformation which created an estate that is flourishing and is accessed and loved by the local community. The estate’s willingness to drive forward new ideas for the benefit of others was amply demonstrated when the observatory was opened in 2012. It is dreadful to see what has happened with the fire and we hope more can be understood about the circumstances as soon as possible.”