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The Beacon 9-11th February 2012

Shield line of Viking warriors

Its nearly 5 years since the Vikings last invaded Whitehaven so it was good to see them back and this time they were on a war footing.

Viking longboat outside The Beacon

On Thursday, 3 Vikings called in at the Beacon on their way to York and brought with them this replica Longboat with a carved head at the prow. They spent the day teaching local children about the Viking costume and culture before attending the preview of the new gallery in the evening.

The gallery, called New Horizons - Conflict and Change features the period from when the Romans left west-cumbria to the 16th century when Egremont was still the major town in Copeland

It features an interactive model of the Gosforth cross which still stands from Viking times, a stained glass window featuring the story of the Horn of Egremont and a splendid suit of armour as worn by Anglian warriors.

Viking Battle

On Saturday the local re-enactment group Herlid Viking spent the whole day at the Beacon. Herlid meant Warforce and the group, who try to keep it as real as possible, had several skirmishes in the Beacon car-park.

Spear versus sword

The conflicts were not choreographed and featured some ferocious wielding of heavy weapons but fortunately no-one was dismembered or permanently killed.

Viking sword battle

The battles were not just for fun as the group demonstrated different tactics used by the Vikings in battle.

Shield wall

Pointed attack

They also showed how different weapons available to the vikings could be utilised, including hand axes, spears, swords and the mighty two-handed battle axe.

wielding a battle axe

parry with sword

a twin sword viking

Each member of the the Herlid re-enanctment group was also dressed in a unique but realistic costume with heavy metal helmets and many with long chain-mail tunics for protection.

helmet with faceguard

chain mail tunic Viking costume

viking helmet

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©WAWL 2012