PICTURES: Heysham Viking Festival pulls in 10,000

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The clashing of swords and the rumble of battle-cry could be heard throughout Heysham at the weekend.

Vikings armed with axes and shields marched through the village and took over its main fields in a real throwback to days of yore.

Heysham Viking Festival.

Heysham Viking Festival.

Almost 10,000 people visited the second Heysham Viking Festival on Saturday and Sunday, with Sunday’s event in glorious sunshine proving a particular crowd-puller.

“Heysham is going to be the place to be for Vikings,” said Peter Whaley, one of the organisers and chairman of Heysham Neighbourhood Council.

“It was an excellent weekend, all the Vikings love coming to Heysham because the public interact with them.

“I am very proud, I helped organise it but I couldn’t have done it without a great team.”

Battle reenactments, weapon demonstrations, a Viking parade, expert talks and a guided walk were some of the events on offer.

Around 200 Viking reenactors from Scotland, Wales and Cornwall came to Heysham, setting up camp in the village fields to show the public the authentic Viking way of life.

Houses in the village also got into the Viking spirit with some residents decorating their properties with shields and even a longboat.

Stuart Strong, a reenactor whose Viking name is Sigurd, said: “Heysham is one of my favourite shows that we go to.

The people here are so engaging and so interested in everything. We’ve got more than double the size of tents this year and double the size of warriors involved in combat.”

Peter Whaley said: “Every conceivable place on the green was being used as a Viking camp, the cricket club let us camp on their field, everybody had a great day.

“The biggest attraction was the parade from the field up to the chapel, that just stopped the whole village and the main battle was surrounded.”

Organisers are already thinking about next year’s event and are hoping to introduce more activities including have-a-go archery and lectures.