top of page

Vikings versus World War II

August Bank Holiday in Whitby is always a surreal time. English Heritage stage a full-on viking weekend at the Abbey, with scary battles and an encampment of re-enactors who live as vikings – cooking, carving, sewing etc. However, just over the wall in a cliff-top field, there's a 'Historical Experience'. I spent a full day at both, talking to Hrafn about his musical instrument, a haerpe, then over the wall to discuss battledress with soldier from the Jacobite Rebellion. A group of Confederate soldiers marched by a group of settlers from a frontier town and grenadiers of the 21st battalion discussed rifles with a German tank division. Meanwhile a Vera Lynn tribute sang 'Well Meet Again' in the beer tent. With all this happening it seemed churlish not to fill up a couple of smart cards.