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Vikings Unleashed

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I am sure we all know by now that the 21st century sucks.  Terrorism, war, poverty, natural disasters, it never seems to end.  So for a break from all this I thought I would set my clock back a millenium.

I had been invited over to meet the Vikings of Middle England who re-create Viking era skirmishes and battles.  And where else would you look for a Viking but a church hall in Leicester on a Wednesday night.  This group was  founded by Guy Raynor in the mid nineties and has been growing steadily ever since.

The first colossus to greet me was straight out of a movie, tall, bearded, chainmail, and armed to the teeth with axes, daggers and broadsword.  All the blades were blunt of course but still capable of doing damage.  He explained to me that there was a very wide demographic to the modern Viking.  Long hair and beards were entirely optional, but they certainly looked the part.  The were Vikings of all ages, average being mid-twenties.  There were women too, fearsome Helgas who could fight as well as the men.

Over the course of the training it soon became apparent that an awful lot of drilling and marching had taken place.  Their drill was pretty basic but it was still fear-inspiring to see them advancing, menacingly towards me.

Once they got into the serious business of fighting with weapons one-on-one I was amazed they have had so few injuries.  Sparks flew from weapons, wood chips of shield littered the floor.

They really went at each other with some agression, I would like to see some little chav with a flick knife take on any one of them.

The Viking master explained that most weapons were home made, or founded in blacksmiths that can be found online or via Skirmish magazine.  Along with the swords and shields, magnificent war-hammers and intricate chainmail had been developed.  The Leicester Vikings also hold workshops on how to make shields and leather armour.

They were a nice bunch, in truth.  The guys mostly knocked seven bells out of each other while the women sat in the kitchen and chatted.  I asked them:

What it was like having a part-time Viking as a husband?

It can be a nightmare.. there is so much kit to keep track of.  Whenever they win a skirmish they can get a bit big-headed so we have to keep them in line.  But it keeps them in shape so it’s all good.

So to catch up with these guys you will find them at St Luke’s Church Hall, Packwood Road, Stocking Farm, Leicester at 19.30 on any given Wednesday night


Written by Nick Gilmartin

February 4, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Posted in History