back to article Planet killer: Ex-army officer's Welsh space-rock mission

As I approach the Wales-England border, the rolling Herefordshire countryside sharpens into steep hills and narrow valleys. Powys is a county covering a quarter of Wales, but it is home to just 133,000 people, making it the least densely populated area of Britain south of the North Yorkshire moors. Limited population means few …

  1. Professor Clifton Shallot


    I don't know if it is still current but there is a Project DRAX donation page here.

    Well done, Reg, I enjoyed this article and don't think anything else I read is likely to have brought this to my attention.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thinly veiled threat ?

    "As I approach the Wales-England border, the rolling Herefordshire countryside sharpens into steep hills and narrow valleys."

    "Nice part of the world this, guv'nor. It would be a shame if it was LEVELLED in the equivalent of a 100kton blast. You get what I'm sayin' ?"

  3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Why would anyone name a surface-to-air missile at all, let alone call it "Jonathan Tate" ?

    1. VinceH

      I'm not the only one who pondered that very narrow speciality, then!

  4. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    That's one to frighten the granddaughter with...

    Thanks for the pointer, El Reg.


    There's civilisation in Wales?

    ... I knew it! They've been keeping that quiet.

  6. AbelSoul

    Re: the least densely populated area of Britain...

    ... south of the North Yorkshire moors.

    But what about north of the South Yorkshire moors?

    Ah, that would be Highland region, with only nine hielanders per skwer kilometer.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: the least densely populated area of Britain...

      Dumfries and Galloway is pretty quiet too. I'm off to a holiday cottage just outside Newton Stewart in a fortnight. It's only a mile or so from the Kirroughtree dark sky park.

      It was quite a shock the first time when I got up in the middle of the night to go to the loo and realised there was no night light for the hall. Then it became a more serious problem because I didn't remember where the light switch for the main light was nor the how many doors there were. Plus it's an L-shaped hall which added to the mystery (and the urgency).

      First time in many, many years that my night adapted eyes left me totally blind.

      Mine's the one with the emergency torch in the pocket :)

      1. Arachnoid

        Re: the least densely populated area of Britain...

        I guess the analogy about being prepared fits your case too

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: the least densely populated area of Britain...

        ""a holiday cottage just outside Newton Stewart"

        We did that last October when it gets dark enough soon enough to really appreciate dark clear skies. Don't forget your binoculars. Just don't forget that it never really gets fully dark in summer. I'm on the NE coast of England on almost the same latitude as Newton Stewart and even at 1am there's still a glow in the sky to the north, even when you head off into the darkest countryside along Hadrians Wall meteor spotting.

  7. TitterYeNot

    For those about to observe rock...

    ...we Salyut you!

    Ahem, sorry about that, think I'd better be going...

  8. Pen-y-gors Silver badge


    That's a definite place to include in the day trips when I go on my hols later this year - got a fortnihjt in a brewery in the Marches (not kidding - cottage in yard of the Three Tuns brewery in Bishops Castle. What more is needed for a perfect holiday: excellent beer, WiFi, nice little eateries and a trip to the Armageddon Avoidance Centre)

  9. Chris G Silver badge


    In 2000, the UK government commissioned a comprehensive report on NEOs and decided to give the National Space Centre in Leicester £300,000 to build an exhibition and website, designating it as the National Near Earth Objects Information Centre.

    Don't you just love the the UK gov, £300K to increase awareness of a potential problem (Doomsday) with an exhibition centre and website but actually fund some active science? Not a bloody chance!

    That was Bliar and our dim little mate Dave is no better on the science front.

    Oh! unless it's observing the population, a couple of whom I suppose could leave a fair sized crater after falling out of a holiday jet.

    1. Your alien overlord - fear me
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Gov.Space.UK

      Just mention to DC that it's well know that NEO's are recruitment centre for IS and you'll find MI5 station someone on every NEO

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Gov.Space.UK

      "but actually fund some active science? Not a bloody chance!"

      Yep, bloody typical. :-(

  10. DubyaG


    I thought the UK had the Doctor and UNIT to protect them from extra-terrestrial bad things.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: What?

      Not for another five years.

      At least that's what Sarah Jane always seemed to imply in the 70s.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Horse & Jockey

    Can raise a glass in favour of the Horse & Jockey at Knighton, stayed there in December when going to the Phil Price Rally School (also nearby) - good food and really nice rooms.

    Didn't realise so much else was nearby otherwise might've stayed for longer.

  12. beast666


    For the healthy chunk of skunk on the tray ;)

  13. andy gibson

    Rendezvous with Rama

    Can't mention Clarke and Spaceguard without this wonderful novel.

  14. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    For those not acqainted with Welsh civilization a quick summary.

    is located here

    Not forgetting Dylan Thomas, Anthony Hopkins and Richard Burton of course.

  15. SonofRojBlake

    Visited this with some mates

    Loved it. Went up in winter, snow on the ground. The isolation, the odd buildings, the grey sky and the general atmosphere meant that if Jon Pertwee and Nicholas Courtney had run into the road pursued by a Silurian I wouldn't have been in the least surprised.

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