Beaumaris- the show that (almost) didn’t happen

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So, the last weekend I was invited over to attend a minor show, organised by a University reenactment group in a beautiful castle called Beaumaris on the Welsh coast. I have managed to hitchhike a lift with one of my friends and we went off to the show nice and early.

The place was beautiful, the castle was amazing and the show itself- despite having barely any public and being only a minor event- was a mountain-sized heap of tremendous fun. And to think that it was almost cancelled… Before we begin- most of the photos included in this post were taken by Mr Gary Phillips, to whom I extend my deepest gratitude for making these available. You can easily reckognize which ones they were, as they are the quality ones!

So, on with the show! Here we are, after three hour drive, arriving at the castle gates, only to be told, that the show was cancelled, because there was no Risk Assessment send over… The panic, the anger, the frustration! Eventually the problem got sorted and as it turned out the Assessment was send over indeed, only it got lost somewhere… Phew! (and bravo castle, bravo…)

So, we could finally unload, gear up and enter the castle.

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All the equipment got put away, and we were ready to begin. There was an added bonus, as we had a medieval reenactment group attending the show, which would put up their display alongside our own. We were planning to get an inter-period battle going, but these plans were foiled by… RAIN!

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The rainfall was so heavy, that it made inter-period fight impossible, as it would have been simply too dangerous to do. At one point, we even considered calling the whole thing off, as we were wading in water up to our ankles. Fortunately, we got a bit of luck in, and the rain stopped. The Vikings were, of course, first out to do the fighting, and in the absence of public, we have fought just for the sheere fun of it. Duels between individual warriors, small warband competition and a few Combat Circles followed:

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Once we were tired, and the ground dried up some more, the medieval group went on to the arena, and this time, since there was actually come public around, gave a proper display, showing their weapons, armour and giving a bit of a talk, as well as a drill and combat display.

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And, once they were finished, it was time for us, the Vikings to make a display of our own. In a truly Viking style, we have stolen the show completely, and gave the public enough excitement to last them a fortnight (raise your horns and drink to the Vikings- hurray!).

Starting off with talk of weapons and armour, we then moved on to Viking military drill:

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After which, we had showed them how the weapons work in practice (by the way of display duels) and gave them a taste of shieldwall battle as well. We fought, we hacked, we screamed and charged, and the public (however small it was) cheered and enjoyed themselves to the point that only free beer would have made it better (ok, maybe it was not THAT amazing, but it was really good, I promise). Also- if you have spotted a guy wearing Norman/Crusader outfit, award yourself ten points- he will crop up more in the coming pictures, and yes, it is our show and we can include any kit we like! Obviously, we did point out to the public, that he was wearing Norman outfit and that Vikings DID NOT look like this.

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When our show was finally done, we have stayed on for a few more rounds of Combat Circles, both individual and as teams of two. I honestly cannot remeber how long it took us but it must have been an hour of clashing. About which none of us had any complaints at all, if anything, we wished we could stay on for longer!

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The great thing about visiting places like this and being with people you have never met before, is that you get to learn a lot. In just one day, I have faced opponents, with vastly different fighting styles, some of which I have never faced before. As a warrior, it is incredibly important to fight against as many styles as possible. Only through this, one can gather the experince necessary to truly excel in combat. I for one, have learned quite a few new tricks and counter-measures, and seen some very interesting developments in fighting technique, especially in the stance and the way the shield is held in relation to one’s body. It was a very valuable experience, as is any show with this amount of fighting going on.

All in all, it was an amazing day, during which I got to meet some really great people, learned a lot of new thigns and had immense fun, not to mention the exercise! I thoroughly recommend for you visit the beautiful castle of Beaumaris if you can, and I will look forward to my next show!

Big thank you, to all the people who attended the show and made it happen- you gus deserve a medal. Until next time!

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