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Cannock Chase Sky Watch 2012 Review

On Saturday 28th July 2012 BUFOG returned to Cannock Chase for another sky watch, at the same location as the previous one back in September 2011. The evening was a great success, despite the fact we saw no UFOs (at least over the Chase anyway). So you’re no doubt wondering “How can a UFO sky watch be a success without any UFOs?” Well read on to find out...

The initial meeting point for the sky watch was the bar at The Barns, a hotel complex on Cock Sparrow Lane. My brother and I arrived there around 8pm and soon met up with BUFOG members Tom and Paul. Soon we were joined by other members Terry, Adam and his family, and other attendees of the sky watch Dave, Rob, Kevin and Gary. We soon discovered that Paul had very kindly brought with him some disposable BBQs and food for everyone to share. Things were looking up!

After chatting about UFOs for a couple of hours over a drink, and discussing each other’s interesting experiences, we headed off for the sky watch location off Broadhurst Green Road. We left the bar in a convoy and within five minutes drive arrived at the lay by at the base of the hill where the sky watch was due to take place. Everyone was in high spirits, and the weather was also pretty clear. It was a still night with only partial cloud cover, giving a clear view of a large proportion of the sky. The moon was also clearly visible. The mood of a sky watch is entirely dependent on the weather so I was pleased to see it was behaving itself.

Adam’s family had decided to walk from the bar so he remained behind for them while the rest of us headed off along the path leading up the slope. It was pretty dark but most of us had brought torches to light our way. Good thing too ‘cause at one point there was a giant heap of horse manure in the middle of the path! The area was a lot more overgrown than it had been the previous year, with lots of short pine trees alongside the path and tall heaps of timber.

We made our way up to the top of the hill to give us the best view of the surrounding area.The chosen location was alongside some trees so there wasn’t a full 360 degree view of the sky but we still had a good view of a large proportion of it. We set down our bags and stared up at the stars overhead, while Paul busied himself setting up the BBQs.

It wasn’t long before someone spotted a satellite crossing the night sky, the first of many that would be seen. Initially not everyone could see where we were looking at. Fortunately Terry had brought with him what had to be the most powerful laser light I’ve ever seen! This thing made a clearly visible bright green beam which headed up into the sky for what seemed like miles. I’m pretty sure it actually bounced off the satellite he pointed it at. Either way, there was absolutely no question where it was in the sky!

Several shooting stars were also seen throughout the watch, although every time I was looking the wrong direction and missed them. We busied ourselves chatting about many different aspects of the UFO subject. The banter is half the fun of a sky watch, and I was happy with how friendly and talkative everyone was. Soon enough the food was ready – kebab sticks and chicken drummers all round. Top quality food from Paul, the BBQ king of the evening!

We continued to watch the sky for anything out of the ordinary, but the only aerial craft seen were occasional high altitude plane on their flight paths. At one point I caught a glimpse of a pale floaty looking thing down by the trees at the edge of the wooded area we were standing near to. Was this an other-worldly entity making its presence known to us? Or was it merely Kevin’s coat hung on a nearby branch? I’ll leave it you to decide...

Some of the crew decided to head off by about 11.30pm, with others leaving later. But I, my brother, Kevin and Paul remained at the location till about 2am. It was a very pleasant night and we had no real reason to leave. When there was just the four of us things were much quieter, and every little sound from the undergrowth could be heard. At one point several of us caught a glimpse of something white amongst the nearby bushes. We shone a torch over and couldn't make anything out, but I'm sure it was an animal of some kind. However we did find a fascinating sign in the undergrowth, as shown below (and not in any way doctored on Paintshop).

Eventually we decided to call it a night and headed back down to the cars. There was one more discovery to be made before proceedings drew to a close. At the edge of the lay by we discovered a cardboard box filled with some unusual junk. There were number filled ledgers, fishing magazines, letters and even a DVD of the old sit-com “On The Buses”. Very random stuff to have been fly tipped I'm sure you’ll agree!

After reading about the merits of carp fishing for a short while, we got back in the car and headed for home. UFO sky watches are as much about socialising with a group of like minded people as they are actually spotting unusual aerial objects. So despite the fact we didn’t see anything over the Chase everyone left feeling that the night had been a great success.

I hinted towards the start of this report that UFOs were seen at some point in proceedings. Well while we didn’t see any UFOs while at the sky watch location, I was informed my Dave and Rob that as they arrived back home they saw some unusual lights in the sky. So it seems our friends may have made an appearance after all! You can have a read of the official case report on this incident here.

If you wanted to be there but missed out on the evening for whatever reason, don’t worry, I’m sure it won’t be the last time BUFOG visit Cannock Chase for a sky watch.

Copyright Dave Hodrien 2012

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