Viking festival planned for Easter break next year

The longboat blazes as the tide comes in on the beach during the Viking Festival at Sheringham. Pict

A longboat blazes as the tide comes in on the beach during a Viking Festival at Sheringham. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY

Vikings once struck terror into the hearts of the inhabitants of our shores, but their return to north Norfolk will be very much welcomed. 

Plans have been drawn up to stage Sheringham's Scira Viking Festival - which culminates in the burning of a model longship - on April 9 in 2022.

Sheringham Scira Viking Festival founder Colin Seal hoists the sail of the 28ft longboat which has b

Sheringham Scira Viking Festival founder Colin Seal, with one of the longboats used for a past festival - Credit: KAREN BETHELL

Colin Seal is founder and one of the volunteer organisers of the event which was cancelled this year due to Covid, and usually takes place earlier in the year.

But the event's committee agreed to postpone it to the Easter break for next year.

Mr Seal said: "When I started it I always insisted we do it in February - it's something to bring a bit of brightness back.

"But with these Covid times we have to do the best we can with the limitations that are there.

Flame torch-wielding warriors on the prom at Sheringham's Scira Viking Festival finale.Photo: KARE

Part of the fun at a past Sheringham Scira Viking Festival finale. - Credit: KAREN BETHELL

Flame torch-wielding warriors on the march at Sheringham's Scira Viking Festival finale.Photo: KAR

Flame torch-wielding warriors on the march at a Sheringham's Scira Viking Festival finale. The event is set to return in April 2022. - Credit: Karen Bethell

"We didn't want to cancel it again, so we decided to move it to April and we're going to have a different format. 

"We're going to have the Viking battles and the village put onto Beeston Common, and the parade will just be the Vikings with their flaming torches."

The boat-burning on the beach at Sheringham Scira Viking Festival.Photo: KAREN BETHELL

A boat being burned on the beach at the Sheringham Scira Viking Festival. - Credit: KAREN BETHELL

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In the past, the Vikings have walked with the longship down to the beach, where it is set ablaze in front of thousands of onlookers.

Mr Seal said: "We're going to get it into position beforehand, and if the tides are coming up we can put it on a special stand so we can still set light to it and it will look amazing." 

Mr Seal said there would be other changes to make the festival "safer and more sustainable", including not burning the shields that usually line the sides of the longboat.

The boat to be used at this festival is 34ft long, and was made by local carpenter Brian Howe, who Mr Seal said "kept wanting to build them bigger each year".

The festival was first held in 2013, intended by Mr Seal to be "a celebration of our Viking heritage".

Sheringham's name evolved from old Norse and is thought to mean 'The home of Scira's people' - Scira is thought to have been a Viking warlord.