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538 The Whitehouse
Astro Trails is the latest version of a project which started in 1973 when Transolar Travel, a small UK travel agency, chartered a cruise ship to take members of the British Astronomical Association and their friends to observe a total solar eclipse off the coast of West Africa. David McGee, the owner of Transolar went on to run projects to follow the Apollo spaceflight launches from Florida, and from 1980 his brother Brian McGee took over responsibility for continuing the organisation of solar eclipse tours and he is still involved in the operation to this day.
Julie Whitehead joined Explorers Tours in the 1990's and operated most of the expeditions for that decade. She recently project managed the TSE 2017 project to the US and is the main point of contact for any queries about future expeditions. The projects have operated under a number of different company names, but the ethos remains the same - to provide the opportunity for interested people to experience the extraordinary sight of a total eclipse of the Sun.
The journey to see an eclipse can take you anywhere on the Earth: an arbitrary line on the map, sometimes no more than a few kilometres wide, marks the place to be. We collect climate data for the area (far easier now than in the 1980s), and pick a place where we think the Sun might shine at the appointed hour on the appointed day. With expeditions to almost every total eclipse over the past three decades the track record of being clouded out on only two occasions has required more than just luck! The itineraries for the projects reflect the active curiosity of people who join this kind of expedition and such people are always good travelling companions.
We take great care to protect your data - see our policy here
Travel projects and expeditions arranged by Astro Trails Ltd. comply with the UK Package Travel Regulations and safeguards are in place to ensure any payments you make to the Company are not at risk.
Payments to Service Providers
The services we provide will normally commence at a hotel at the point of departure and end at a hotel on the final day of the project. Payment for all parts of your travel package is made in advance of your arrival to the service providers. Astro Trails Ltd maintains insurance cover against the possibility of service provider insolvency.
All payments you make to Astro Trails Ltd in advance of travelling are deposited in a Clients Trust (Escrow) Account
controlled by the Independent Trustees until it is paid to the service provider for your travel arrangements.
Details of the trust account can be found on Protected Trust Services
We do not offer or operate flights however we do work closely with flight specialist Gazelle Travel who can provide information on suitable flights to connect with our projects. There is frequently a wide choice of airline services and a range of price options. You are free to make your own flight arrangements if you prefer.
The ATOL consumer protection system in the UK provides a guarantee against travel organiser insolvency for flight inclusive package holidays. As flights are not included in our projects this is not appropriate or adequate cover, however if you make your flight reservations with Gazelle Travel (or some other flight consolidators), they will be able to issue an ATOL certificate if you wish.
We strongly recommend you should take out a good quality comprehensive travel insurance policy. With most policies you can also add Schedule Airline Failure Insurance as a separate item if it is not included.