Clan’s bid to bring Viking
A GROUP of passionate re-enactors from Peterborough help to bring history to life around the country. JENNY CORNISH meets Clan Wulfhar and finds there’s more to Vikings than meets the eye.
IF you think the Vikings were just all about pillaging and wearing horned helmets – think again.
Clan Wulfhar, a Peterboroughbased re-enactment group, is on a mission to educate both children and adults about the true Viking way of life.
The group travels all around the country visiting schools, fetes and fairs, aiming to set straight some of the myths.
Christine Yates (40), a shop worker from Bretton, set up Clan Wulfhar in 2003 with her husband Paul (45).
She said: “We go to schools and put on events for the general public to show them the life and times of the Vikings, the foods they ate, what they wore, and – what people seem to enjoy most – what the fights were all about.”
Apparently the Vikings got a bit of a bad press, due to the first records of them in this country being written by monks who had been on the sharp end of a raid.
However, Christine, otherwise known as Hauk Wulfhar, admits the Vikings were no angels. “They were the first protection racketeers,” she said. “They would walk into a village and say ‘you’re not very well protected’ and offer protection.”
She and her husband have been doing re-enactments for around 20 years, since a friend of Paul’s suggested he try it out.
“My husband’s been fighting since 1977, doing various martial arts,” Christine said. “A friend of his had got into the Vikings and he went along. I started going out with him and it went on from there.
“If someone had come up to me 20 years ago and said ‘you’re going to get into the Vikings and run a reenactment group’, I’d have laughed at them.”
Clan Wulfhar now has 31 members of all ages and from all walks of life, and do shows all over the country.
The group is set up as a Trelleborg – a Viking training camp. Events include demonstrations of Viking combat, and a “living history” display, which includes a variety of Dark Age tents, a cooking area, and an armoury.
Christine says the shows go down really well with children. “The Vikings have been in the national curriculum for quite a while now,” she said.
“The children get to see and hear and touch and they understand it a lot better than if they went to a museum.”
The combat is taken seriously – it’s classed as a form of martial arts and members have to train every week to make sure they can fight safely.
They do a lot of research to make sure the group is historically accurate and all the weapons are specially made by an armourer, and talking to people and educating people.”
Clan Wulfhar is at the Chatteris Historic Festival from tomorrow until Sunday and at various other events throughout the summer.
For more information or for bookings call 01733 700214, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.peterborough-vikings.co.uk
based on museum pieces.
The couple’s three children, Connor (12) and seven-year-old twins Lachlan and Rose are enthusiastic members of the group and Christine says the whole family benefits from the hobby. “It keeps you fit, it gets you out, we get to go camping in some really nice places,” she
said. “It gets you out VIKING FAMILY YATES: From left, Rose Yates, Lachlan Yates, Paul Yates, Christine Yate
and Connor Yates