Yesterday I mentioned that I'd been to the Viking Festival at Largs. We last went there in 2010 and as Mr Click reminded me on Monday, the weather wasn't the best for it. The ground was rather muddy and while we were there they had to bring in extra straw for the ground so people weren't walking around in a sort of muddy soup.
This year could not have been further from that!
The sun was shining, it was warm (though not quite as warm as our trip to Ayr a couple of weeks ago) and as it was a Monday the event wasn't too crowded.
The set up is very much the same as the last time we went. The entry for two adults into the 'village' was £10. I've got a funny feeling it was cheaper in previous years though that may have been due to my being a student then. Either way, it wasn't a killing affair and once you're in there you get a wristband (festival style) which allows you to come and go as much as you want over the course of the day. We went there at the end of our trip to Largs (and my wisdom tooth was trying to kill me) otherwise I think we probably would've popped in again before we left.
It's situated along the seafront, in a fenced off area. The ground is covered in straw and it's populated by both walled huts and tents.
In each hut or tented area there is someone who represents a member of the Viking community, whether they're a craftsperson, an ordinary man or woman, or someone with a bigger role in the village. And they're all really keen to tell you about whoever it is that they 'are'.
One of the first that we visited was the village monk who told us all about how he would stay with a widow in the village. Apparently a widow wouldn't have had a voice in her community as her husband would've been the one who spoke for her. By staying with her, she would provide him with food and a place to sleep, in return he would speak up for her within the village.
I think this was probably my favourite 'Viking' that we spoke to. He had loads of information about how Christians converted the Viking settlers by adapting their myths into Christian stories.
As with the last visit to the village, I couldn't go without buying something. There was a healer with lots of gruesome looking implements which would've been used to help treat illnesses and wounds during the time period. I'm really glad that I didn't live then! I mean, getting my wisdom tooth taken out sounds pretty barbaric but hopefully it'll be nothing compared to some of their treatments.
She also had this adorable little White Faced Scops Owl (who we all thought was a model until she woke up for a stretch)!
She even had her own castle!
I picked myself up a Rose Quartz stone there, seeing as my Rose Quartz bracelet broke last year. Last time I was there I got myself a little rune stone necklace and I was kind of hoping to get one this year but I didn't see any; as soon as I saw the stones I knew I wanted the Rose Quartz one so I was very happy with my purchase.
As before, there were loads of kids there. The kids here are back at school but they all study Vikings at some point or another, so having a village full of them right on your doorstep is too good an opportunity to miss. We ended up skipping some huts, then doubling back on ourselves to fit them in because of the groups of school children who were learning about ancient ways of killing people, ancient ways of cooking, and asking all sorts of insightful questions about the topics ('Could you kill a horse with a bazooka?' 'Probably, but the Vikings didn't have bazookas, did they?')
It was a lovely day out and in a way it kind of felt a little bit like we'd gone back in time to when we were just under a year married, except this time was better.
Would I go back next year?
To be honest, probably not. It was a really enjoyable experience and educational too, but I'm not sure it's the sort of place you need to visit each year. I'd like to go back a little bit sooner than six years time though. There were a whole host of different faces from when we went before so I imagine that in a couple of years time there might be a new rotation of Vikings with new ways of telling their stories about life in the past.
Then again, if I had small people to take with me, I'd not hesitate at taking them along every year because I'm sure it would win them right over. Also it has that educational bonus going for it as well.
It was definitely worth the day trip.