This was Beginners Night, and Stuart Atkinson gave a wide-ranging overview of the ways in which a beginner might set out to learn more about the night sky. He emphasized the importance of navigation; learning your way round the night sky, so that you can recognize the major constellations. This will necessarily take at least 12 months, but there are many guides and devices to help you.
As far as equipment is concerned, binoculars are more suited for beginners than telescopes because of their wider field of view, and many exciting things can be seen with binoculars, or even with the naked eye. But you do need a dark place to observe from; light pollution is an issue even in places like Kendal. Closer to large cities, it can be impossible to get a good view of the night sky.
Good targets for beginners to observe are the Moon and planets, bright satellites like the ISS, meteors, and atmospheric phenomena such as noctilucent clouds and the Northern Lights.
After the break, Simon White gave a presentation on astrophotography for beginners.