Spectacular Heritage Open Days weekend at Hunsbury Hill Country Park and Hill Fort
We had special permission for Blood Axe Vikings and their friends to stay in and around the Hill Fort for the weekend of 14th/15th September, as part of the Friends’ contribution to the Heritage Open Days Festival of 2019.
And they did not disappoint. As well as the local Northampton re-enactment groups BloodAxe and Armée du Nord (Normans), we had the Bifrost Guard Vikings from Wellingborough and the Warriors of the Black Bear all the way from Stoke.
They spent Saturday and Sunday in the warm sunshine in their Viking (and Norman) gear (and a lot of the time in chain mail ! Phew !), exhibiting various crafts and wares and demonstrating their weaponry and fighting skills. As well as answering endless queries about the lives and times of the Vikings and Normans, including their weapons, shields, helmets, chain mail and other armour, there were a couple of training sessions and pitched battles each day, to show us just how fearsome the Vikings could be (whilst insisting that really all they wanted was to live peacefully), all topped off with a Viking warrior burial on Sunday afternoon.
You can get a flavour of what the weekend was like from the ITV Anglia local news clip broadcast on Saturday evening, which Luisa Jepson (our Project Manager who helped organise the weekend) has copied to our Facebook page (via Suzy McIntosh of the BloodAxe Vikings).
Thank you to all those who took part, including not only the Vikings and Normans, but also Colin, Marion and all the staff at the Drovers Return café who worked non-stop all weekend and, of course, all the families who turned up to enjoy the spectacle and the weather. And not forgetting the NIRT railway enthusiasts who gave train rides both days. We must also thank Derek Simpson of NBC for giving the permission for the Vikings and their friends to camp in the Park.
We have hundreds of photos of all the action, to be checked and processed, and we will be doing this and adding them to our Gallery as soon as we can.
The Friends get much pleasure from seeing the Park and Hill Fort being put to good use and would particularly like to thank everyone (Vikings, Normans and the public) for tidying up after themselves. We had a litter pick planned for Monday morning but had to cancel it as there was no litter to pick up !
We agree with BloodAxe that this sort of weekend should become an annual event and will liaise with them to organise another spectacular for 2020.