â€˜As darkness descends, follow a magical trail of light through the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, and experience four seasons in just one nightâ€™.
The week the clocks go back, heralding those long dark, cold nights, is probably my least favourite of the year. I like light. I like light that enhances the natural environment; light that is sympathetic and atmospheric. I also have a small child who likes his lights bright, rainbow-coloured and preferably flashing.
So we donned out warm coats and he pulled on his purple wellies with the red and green flashing heel lights â€“ just to get into the spirit of things and (his words) â€˜in case the lights in the garden werenâ€™t very goodâ€™ â€“ and off we set for the East Gate.
Botanic Lights 2015 â€“ Seasons in Colour is the inspiration of leading Scottish lighting designer, Grant Anderson and composer, Claire McKenzie. Together they create a very special night-time experience that celebrates both a year in the life of â€˜the Botanicsâ€™ and of the city itself. The event uses projections and lasers to highlight the magnificent structure and form of trees and landscape, as well as the locations of Inverleith House, the Victorian Palm House and The Pond. Through this journey of light are woven, too, the natural elements of water, fire and ice.
You see the Garden â€“ literally â€“ in a new light.
The event is beautiful. Â It is atmospheric and empathetic and sensitive. It is uplifting and fun. Â It is, essentially, a walk in the park, and the route is just about perfect even with a five year old in tow. For him â€“ and letâ€™s be honest, the child in all of us â€“ the winning factor was the interactivity of the light technologys: the visitor-controlled tablets from which he could choose the colours of the landscape, the voice-activated sensors that changed the light installations around him, and the big red button that he could press again, and againâ€¦ and againâ€¦ to strike lightening through a very large tree.Â Botanic Lights is, indeed, something the whole family will enjoy â€“ yes, even the awkward teenagers who canâ€™t be separated from their iPhones; they can interact with the light set using Twitter and a series of hashtags to affect the lighting and audio at the Victorian Palm House!
I loved it. It might be the only time this year I was glad it was dark so early. The five year old loved it too (okay, partly because he thought it was the middle of the night and he was still up), his final words, falling into bed being, â€˜Can we go and see the lights again, mummy?â€™
The award-winning Botanics Lights event, in partnership with Unique Events and Black Light, is back for its second year with 22 magical nights at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE).Â Running evenings from 29 October until 22 November.
For more information, including dates and times, tickets (booking is essential) and prices, go to: www.rbge.org.uk/botaniclights
Tel: 0844 573 8455
(Official Botanic Lights Photographs courtesy of Grant Ritchie 27/10/15)