Boat-burning spectacle caps off thrilling Viking Festival

Sheringham Viking Festival has made a welcome return

Sheringham Viking Festival has made a welcome return - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Crowds flocked to the north Norfolk coast at the weekend as Sheringham Viking Festival made a welcome return. 

The Scira Viking Festival was back with a bang on Saturday, having been cancelled last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The boat-burning finale at Sheringham Viking Festival 

The boat-burning finale at Sheringham Viking Festival - Credit: Brittany Woodman

First held in 2014, the annual event is intended to be a celebration of Sheringham's Viking heritage. 

The day began with entertaining battle reenactments at Beeston Common, and culminated with a stunning boat-burning ceremony on the beach. 

It usually takes place during February half-term, but was moved this year to make the spectacle as special as possible.

Joanne Burrill prepares to fire an arrow at the Beeston common Viking reenactment in Sheringham

Joanne Burrill prepares to fire an arrow at the Beeston common Viking reenactment in Sheringham - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Colin Seal, founder of the festival and one of the volunteer organisers, said the latest edition had proved to be an overwhelming success. 

"The whole day was brilliant," said Mr Seal, a talented local artist

"We took a bit of a gamble doing it in April but, personally, I think it worked better.

Artist Colin Seal, whose team has painted a series of murals on Sheringham's 'eyesore' Shannocks Hot

Colin Seal, founder of Sheringham Viking Festival - Credit: Archant

"Usually, when we do the boat burning on the beach, it is pitch black and no-one can see each other. But this time the light was just perfect, with the sun setting."

Sheringham's name evolved from old Norse and is thought to mean 'the home of Scira's people'. 

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Scira is thought to have been a Viking warlord.

The boat-burning ceremony at Sheringham Viking Festival 2022

The boat-burning ceremony at Sheringham Viking Festival 2022 - Credit: Brittany Woodman

"The whole scene was in keeping with saying goodbye to Scira and sending him in flames to Valhalla," added Mr Seal. 

Over the past eight years the Viking Festival has gone from strength to strength, to the point where it now attracts hundreds of visitors to north Norfolk.

On Saturday, the promenade was lined with onlookers desperate to catch a glimpse of the magnificent finale. 

A scene from the parade at Sheringham Viking Festival 2022

A scene from the parade at Sheringham Viking Festival 2022 - Credit: Brittany Woodman

After a year off, Mr Seal admitted it had been challenging getting things off the ground again - but was delighted with the finished product. 

"Trying to get things going was a little bit like driving your favourite car after leaving it in the garage for two years," he added.

"But from where it started to where it is going, the festival really has become something special. 

The boat-burning ceremony takes place on Sheringham beach

The boat-burning ceremony takes place on Sheringham beach - Credit: Brittany Woodman

"It is about entertainment, of course, but also about theatre and education.

"The organisers will get together and analyse, but I think the consensus is we will probably do it around Easter again next year." 

Two men role playing a Viking battle at Beeston Common 

Two men role playing a Viking battle at Beeston Common - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

The flames rise at Sheringham Viking Festival's concluding boat-burning ceremony

The flames rise at Sheringham Viking Festival's concluding boat-burning ceremony - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Amber Frettingham of Valkenwolf at the Viking reenactment at Beeston Common in Sheringham

Amber Frettingham of Valkenwolf at the Viking reenactment at Beeston Common in Sheringham - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Flaming arrows are fired as part of the boat-burning ceremony at Sheringham Viking Festival

Flaming arrows are fired as part of the boat-burning ceremony at Sheringham Viking Festival - Credit: Brittany Woodman

A group of Vikings at the Beeston Common reenactment in Sheringham

A group of Vikings at the Beeston Common reenactment in Sheringham - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Jim Evans sounds his Viking horn at the Beeston Common reenactment in Sheringham

Jim Evans sounds his Viking horn at the Beeston Common reenactment in Sheringham - Credit: Ella Wilkinson