Published: 13 January 2012
Vikings were out in force in Shetland in November! The Viking Feast, organised as part of the Thing Project, was held in Hay’s Dock Café Restaurant which was transformed into a Viking Longhouse for the evening.
Guests were welcomed by their host, Erasmus da Younger fae Sudderhus to celebrate his success at winning his legal case at the lawting. After a welcome glass of mead, the company sat down to a feast of mussels, pickled herring and bannocks before being entertained by songs and stories. Another round of feasting followed - on baked haddock, roast lamb, carrots, neeps, cheese and bannocks. In traditional Viking style, wooden plates were used, and folk got stuck in using their hands and knives. Creamed barley and berries were served to those hardy Vikings still able for more.
Guests wholeheartedly got into the spirit of the evening and came dressed in costume, or took advantage of the costumes provided by their host. The transformation of the venue and the enthusiasm of the guests created an excellent atmosphere which led to a very enjoyable night for all.
Following the meal, storytelling and music, everyone was invited to take part in some Viking games to demonstrate their might and skill. Many feasters were more than happy to get involved and there were exciting moments as spectators watched fellow diners take part in intriguing events such as The Spear Pull, Heaving Up a Bag of Bones and Rescuing the Rag from the Ice Patch.
The assembly was delighted with the atmosphere and the authentic elements of the feasting and entertainment. Deborah Lamb said “The Viking feast was a most splendid feed. There is something especially gratifying about being allowed, nay encouraged, to eat with one’s hands.” Liz Brown simply said “It was amazing!”
The Viking Feast was the first of a series of events planned to highlight Thing sites. A series of lectures will be held between February and May next year, with writing and debating activities planned for schools. The final event, which aims to bring the Thing site to life, will be an open air play in Tingwall next summer, taking inspiration from an original case heard at Lawting Holm in Tingwall in 1577.