BE A VIK­ING

The Herald Magazine - - FIRST UP - A L A S T E R A N D L E S L E Y Mc C O R MAC K

con­di­tions that forced them to go and look for some­thing bet­ter.

I be­came in­volved in Vik­ing reen­act­ments when I was vis­it­ing my wife at work. We re-en­act bat­tles and also do liv­ing his­tory – some­times we just get on with ev­ery­day things, such as mak­ing things. The re-en­act­ments are a hobby. In my day job I’m a land­scape gar­dener.

A change comes over me when I put on my Vik­ing cos­tume. You feel and act in­stantly like a Vik­ing. I also feel a lot more con­fi­dent. It’s an es­cape from work and daily life as well. My wife and I also re­newed our vows in a Vik­ing cer­e­mony out­doors.

I’m cur­rently build­ing a Vik­ing boat which we will burn tonight for the Largs Vik­ing Fes­ti­val. The fes­ti­val is part of ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple about Vik­ings. Everybody thinks they were bad peo­ple, but they weren’t re­ally. Has any cul­ture in­vaded more coun­tries than Bri­tain?

I started learning more about Vik­ings when I got a job at the Vikingar cen­tre, What in­trigued me more than any­thing was the mytho­log­i­cal side of it – the sagas and the gods, Odin and Thor.

I also do rune read­ing – ev­ery cul­ture has its own in­ter­pre­ta­tion, but Vik­ings used an­cient Ger­manic sym­bols. The stones act as a guide – they guide you on the right path in life. They can also be car­ried as tal­is­man and lucky charms – war­riors would take cer­tain runes into bat­tle with them for good luck.

When I started work­ing at Vikingar we got to know the reen­ac­ters and we are now mem­bers of the group Swords of Dal­ri­ada. I did have a go at bat­tles, but fell flat on my back­side. Some women do take part – Vik­ing fe­male war­riors were tra­di­tion­ally un­mar­ried daugh­ters.

The role I play is the seer­ess, the wise woman. She would be the one peo­ple from the village would

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