A SECOND site in Scotland looks set to gain a coveted international accreditation for “dark sky status”, allowing people to view the stars unhindered by light pollution and boosting winter tourism.

The Glenlivet Estate, part of the Cairngorms National Park, is in the final stages of an application to gain Dark Sky Park status, awarded to only 104 parks so far worldwide.

READ MORE: What you can see in the sky at night this week

Situated between the Ladder Hills and the Cromdale Hills the 23,000 hectare Glenlivet Estate is part of Crown Estate Scotland and already boasts three registered Dark Sky Discovery Sites. These are sites with little light pollution, easy access and wide views of the night sky, but the coveted Dark Sky Park status would boost marketing possibilities and overnight stays in the area.

Galloway Forest Park has held the status since 2009, and previous studies have shows that tourism there has been boosted by around £500,000 per year. Over 7000 stars and planets are visible with the naked eye from Galloway Forest Park, with the Milky Way usually easy to see arching across the sky.

John Barentine of the International Dark Skies Association praised Scotland for promoting stargazing and dark skies.

He said: “The nomination [for Glenlivet] has been formally reviewed and there should be an announcement before the end of the year, it’s a very strong application.

“Scotland has done great work around dark skies and has created some of the only data about dark sky attractions and the impact on tourism. We are definitely seeing more interest from your country and from other parts of Europe.”

David Newland, a dark skies expert and part of the group who has made the application for Glenlivet Estate, said: “We are very much hoping to get the status, and very much hoping that it will give us a tourism boost for the autumn, winter and spring months when there is a natural downturn in visitor numbers.

“We’ve got some major distilleries in the area and they have all very nicely agreed to change their lights in support of the application.

“If we are awarded the status then we would be the darkest park in the UK which would be an added something extra.”

Dark sky tourism can be lucrative for areas where there is little light pollution as by necessity it usually involves an overnight stay.

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “Having dark sky status is a real draw for visitors, particularly during the winter months.

“Tourism is more than a holiday experience – it is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy and touches every community, generating income, jobs and social change.”

Elizabeth Tindal is a dark sky ranger based near Newton Stewart, and takes groups on adventures around the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park.

“Tourism is definitely on the up here because of the experiences on offer. I’m hosting visitors from Norway and from Canada next week.

“The stars here are just so amazing when it’s a lovely clear night.

“Seeing the stars is an immensely human experience that so many people just can’t get to enjoy because they live in cities and towns.

“The wonder, the amazement, the ‘woah’ reaction that people have when people have that jaw-dropping moment experience of seeing the night sky for the first time is really quite something."

Keith Muir, Forestry Commission Scotland’s recreation and tourism manager told the Sunday National: “There are a lot of opportunities to develop dark sky tourism in the Highlands and our island communities.

“Stargazing is the icing on the cake in terms of creating dark sky spaces, it’s the wow factor in terms of managing the night time environment. I think as time goes on more local authorities are looking to the evidence about reducing energy costs and reducing CO2 emissions when they change lighting to LED – creating darker skies is a very welcome output of that.”

Other areas of Scotland are also promoting their dark skies as tourism attractions. Coll has gained special status as a Dark Sky Community – with no streetlights the island is perfect for stargazing and uses the darkness to boost winter tourism numbers.

Details of Elizabeth Tindal's adventures around the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park can be found here.