Viking Ships & Boats.
You cannot talk about Vikings without mentioning boats as the word 'viking' is a verb meaning to go raiding in a boat or ship. As such we should think of Vikings simply as pirates without ascribing any nationality to them. The iconic image of the Viking boat is the sleek dragon headed "longship" but many other types of sailing vessel were in production; from broad robust "knarrs" carrying tons of cargo all around the known world, smaller "byrdings" moving goods about locally to little fishing boats, faerings and dug out canoes serving ordinary families. Being largely dependant upon the power of the wind for propulsion made waterways the motorways of their day. At a time when all places of note were accessible by water, not having a boat of your own must have been an isolating experience.
From its headquarters near Canterbury Regia Anglorum operates various replica Viking boats which members of the Skip Felagr have occasional chances to get involved with in relation to film/TV work or when Regia bring them to major events like the Military Odyssey show in Kent. In a professional capacity and with the help of the Skip Felagr, one of our members was commissioned to organise the construction of a replica faering based loosely on the Scottish Aardnamurchan find with the commissioning project going on to win a 2013 national social impact award. For a period of three years leading up to its maiden voyage to the Wirral in July 2014 we were also in contact with the Norwegian Draken Harald Harfagre project and were part of events celebrating this huge longship's visit to our part of the world.
We operate under the name Skip Felagr or 'ship fellowship' and have periodic involvement with other people's replica Viking boats, yet our long term goal has always been to build a boat of our own to keep on the Wirral. Something with public/media/marketing appeal we can use regularly at our varied educational events around the local and wider community to attract and grow interest in our important Viking heritage beyond the small percentage of the local population already passionate about local history. There is no shortage of knowledge, skills or enthusiasm within our group, however as may be obvious, such projects are not a cheap undertaking. Consequently we would welcome any form of financial support from a local philanthropist or generous corporate sponsor, and have been holding some positive talks towards this end. We will have to wait and see what the future holds for us but hope that if all goes well we may eventually have some exciting news to announce.