Loch Fyne Viking Festival 2015

A Community project Loch Fyne

Re-enacting Magnus Barfot longship portage over Tarbert's isthmus and celebrating Viking heritage along the shores of Loch Fyne, Scotland

Project aim

Re-enacting Magnus Barfot longship portage across Tarbert's isthmus and celebrating Viking heritage along the shores of Loch Fyne, Scotland

About the project

We are 6 friends from different professional backgrounds who enjoy being involved in and helping out with community events. We think these events strengthen our communities and make our villages more economically resilient. We also organise these events because of the fun we have in creating, preparing and running them. We’re always proud to see how a small rural community can come together to create a big event that attracts thousands of visitors. All of us give our time and expertise for free. We also like doing it, because we enjoy a challenge. Our motto is: “We do solutions, not problems!”

In 2014 we organised the first Loch Fyne Viking Festival (www.facebook.com/LochFyneVikingFestival). With the help of over 70 volunteers we managed to create a 5-day Viking spectacle against the magnificent backdrop of Loch Fyne (Tarbert, Argyll and Bute, Scotland). Funded by Awards for All, we built Freydis, a 40 ft wooden replica of Magnus Barfot’s longship and used Freydis to re-enact Magnus Barfot’s longship portage from West Loch Tarbert to East Loch Tarbert.

To put a halt to their wars, the Lords of the Isles and Magnus Barfot agreed that Magnus Barfot could claim for his Kingdom all land that he could circumnavigate while at the helm of his longship. With Magnus Barfot at the helm his men pulled the longship over the isthmus between West Loch Tarbert and East Loch Tarbert and in this way he was able to claim Kintyre for his Kingdom (1093). We will again be re-enacting the Magnus Barfot longship portage in Tarbert on 27 June. You are more than welcome to help pull Freydis across the isthmus.

Last year, donations from local businesses, organisations and individuals and a grant from Argyll and Bute Council enabled us to cover the travel costs and accommodation/catering costs for the Glasgow Vikings and Causeway Archers as well as festival running costs.  They joined us in the raids along Loch Fyne and amazed people with their Viking skirmishes and Archery demonstrations. We are very lucky that both groups are to join us again this year. Medvind, a Swedish Viking Music Band will also attend this year’s festival and will also join the Viking raids on Lochgilphead (26 June), Ardrishaig (26 June), Tarbert (27 June) and Portavadie (28 June).

Nobody involved in the festival receives a fee, we all contribute as a volunteers. The money we raise is solely to cover costs. This year we managed to obtain a grant from Heritage Lottery Fund to add an educational package to the festival for pupils from primary schools around Loch Fyne. The first morning of the festival (Lochgilphead 26 June) is dedicated to the primary school pupils. All P4-7 pupils will receive a booklet in advance of the festival about Vikings in Argyll (designed by Kilmartin Museum) and their teachers will receive a booklet containing relevant background information. Schools can also invite Freydis’ builder to their school to give a presentation about how the longship was built. At the Lochgilphead event the pupils will be able to visit a Viking settlement, watch Viking skirmishes and archery demonstrations, try out archery, listen to Viking Music and will be presented some Viking history by Swedish Viking expert, Andreas Forsgren. Finally the pupils can have a go at rowing the longship. The raids on Ardishaig, Tarbert and Portavadie will offer the same programme. As part of the programme in Tarbert the longship will be pulled over the isthmus.

The festival is entirely free of charge. All our Viking events are free. We are confident that we will be able to raise the same amount of money through donations as last year. Businesses, organisations and individuals have already been very generous. However, Argyll and Bute Council had to reduce their financial contribution to the festival, which means we are about £2,500 short of our budget of £11,665. We need your help to raise this money, so that you and thousands of other enthusiastic visitors can enjoy the same spectacle as last year.

In return, depending on the amount of your pledge, we will send you a festival t-shirt, arrange an opportunity to sail/row the longship with us for a 2-hours trip on Loch Fyne, or make the longship available for an event (wedding, corporate, promotional, etc.).

The drawing below will be on the festival t-shirt.