New Season, New post


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So, after a winter hibernation it was time to dust off the kit, polish the blades and head to the traditional beginning of the re-enactment season in Britain- the York Viking Festival.


For a lot of re-enactors this is not the first show of the year (taking place on the last week of February), but thanks to its size, atmosphere and Viking feel many of us consider this the kick-off of the season. The Yorvik show, as it affectionately known, is a multi-society event, hosted by Regia Anglorum and attended by several of other societies. Of these the Vikings are the largest one by far, followed other, smaller societies from around Britain and guests from abroad. The big plus of the event is a large trader’s market, where traders from across Europe ply their wares and many a re-enactor goes there to purchase new kit or get replacements, before the new season starts off properly in the second half of Spring.


I myself have made a few purchases there this year, though I had to show some brazen cheek to get myself in… Having considered a meal and a cup of tea a more urgent priority, I have arrived at the market just as it was closing down and no one was allowed in. Myself and my good friend Sven the Short had to do a good bit of blagging, with Sven explaining how I arrived all the way from Poland for this (much more impressive than a town few hours drive away), while I looked doe-eyed at the Steward in charge… Let’s just say that after some shameless begging we were allowed in, followed by stares of righteous condemnation from those that were denied entry. But hey, since when did the Vikings bother with such things as queues or closing times?


I have of course written about the Yorvik festival before. Some of you may remember that it lasts all week, with the final day being the culmination of the event. This was the day that we attended (as is the case with most re-enactors, there aren’t that many of them around for the whole week, but they descend en-masse for the final day, when the battles take place) and as every year the day consisted of a mid-day competitive fight, followed by a grand finale in the evening, where the re-enactors would recreate a story that serves as background for an epic battle. The theme of the grand finale changes every year- two years ago it was a war between the Norse Gods, last year it was the fall of Erik Bloodaxe and this year it was the invasion of the Great Heathen Army and the death of king Aella of Northumbria.


I will only talk about this epic evening battle shortly, as from my personal perspective, it was not much of an attraction, fun as it was. The acting and talking bit at the start went on for too long to my liking, resulting in some 30 minutes of standing in the cold, awaiting a signal to enter the battle arena. Armies formed, and a mighty battle ensued, at which point, the real the fun began. This evening fight is purely for show and all that is expected of us is to stick to the script and give a good show, while trashing each other. We are not expected to take or make kills, unless the script calls for it, we know what will happen before hand and we can just have fun with the fight. It’s just that this year the fight was somewhat too short (the acting bit cut into it too much) and the organisers decided to use a lot of smoke machines, blowing smoke all across the battlefield. Whilst great for mood, it did not help the fighters (especially my group, who were right by the machines and could hardly see through the damn smoke). It was a fun fight and there was a great fireworks display at the end, but I’ve seen better show fights.


The competitive mid-day battle was what the show was all about. As usual, we had 3 rounds, re-setting the battle each time. The armies consisted of Regia Anglorum (the hosts) on one side and the Vikings and other societies on the other, with numbers pretty much equal ( a fact hotly contested each year, usually by the defeated side’s grumpiest few or the winning side’s most boisterous few). As Regia were the hosts, it was their combat rules we were using when it came to the fighting (pretty much every society has different combat rules). Without going into details, Regia system greatly favours spears and results in armies consisting mostly of lightly armed spearmen supported by a few mailed swordsmen. The Vikings and other societies rely more on close-quarters and are not as adept in using spears en-masse or at a distance Regia warriors are most comfortable with (they use a LOT of long, two-handed spears). In previous years, many a battle was lost by the Away team by trying to win with Regia at their own game. The line would advance forward, then stop and engage in spear-range fight, which they would inevitably loose. Usually, one or two groups (usually Y Ddraig, my group) would try to charge past the spear-points and pin the Regia warriors in close-quarters, where it was us who held the advantage. This ended, more often than not, in one band of warriors breaking through the enemy line and then being cut down by their reserve, whilst the rest of the line were content with being poked to death by massed spears.


This year common sense prevailed and an agreement was reached, where all the Away line would charge down the Regia lines and bring the fight to them on our own terms.


This resulted in one of the best, hardest and most enjoyable free-fighting I have taken part in. No one likes an easy battle that’s over in a minute. This time, in each of three clashes that made up the competitive battle, we had a real fight on our hands, with neither side giving a quarter and all of the warriors coming back with a sense of a battle well-fought and a victory hard-earned (or a defeat that was by a narrow margin).


Instead of talking through the whole of the battle, I will simply post a few links to some great videos, showing all the clashes- you will find the at the end of the article. There, better than any of my words can describe, you will see on your own, how the battle unfolded. What I will mention, is that the Vikings and Others did not do enough on their left flank- there were too few men there (especially in the last of the three clashes) and they did not advance or pressed the enemy hard enough. More men should have been moved from the centre, where they were not needed and more effort should have been made to get stuck in and push on. Other than that however, the Viking plan worked great and gave Regia a great deal of trouble. The Hosts did win 2-1 in the end, but  you will see yourself, how close the final clash was and how close Regia came to defeat. Especially after a few years of the Away team getting beaten flat each time, this felt great.


I will tell you in more detail about the exploits of the right flank of the Vikings army, where me and my comrades from Y Ddraig fought. We formed the first line of our flank, with another group behind, ready to charge in after us. The plan was simple- advance, then as one bear down on the enemy, past their deadly spear points and into close range. Move as one, keep pushing and never stop, whilst killing as many opponents as we could. Once through their line, flank their centre and get them from the side and from behind.


The plan was the same for all three clashes. Three times, me and my friends of Y Ddraig were at the vanguard. Each time we advanced towards the enemy, spears waiting. Thanks to discipline and momentum, we pushed on hard. All of the front line dispensed with spears entirely, this would be a closely-fought affair after all. All armed with hand weapons, our first task was to parry the spears and get them down. An axe is the best weapon for this, thanks to it’s shape and balance. Was I glad I brought mine with me… After pushing through the spears, we then had to keep going, until we were in reach of hand weapons. Then, we had to keep going and keep pushing to drive the enemy back, to make them lose their fortitude, their balance, maybe even fall over under the pressure of our advance.


Some of us concentrated on controlling opponent’s weapons and parrying any attacks that came- I was one of those. My job, as an axe man, was also to pull down enemy shields and open them to attack. It is not an easy job to do under pressure and whilst under attack, but when your timing is right and when you keep with your unit and if you remember to keep your defences up- it works a cinch. The press of bodies was considerable, especially when our secondary unit charged in and we kept on going, without stopping.


Three times it was us, Y Ddraig, to form the first line. Each time, we pushed past the spears and into the enemy line. Three times we pushed them back and hewed them down, forcing Regia to send reinforcement and deplete their reserve. Each time we pushed as far as we could, coming out on the enemy rear. We earned a lot of glory that day. It was not quite enough to win all three clashes- our left was not as lucky and whilst on the first clash it fared well, on the other two it fell and so what we had achieved on the right, was undone on the left. It was a hard fight and we fought well as a unit. Each time I pulled down a  shield with my axe a mate of mine would find a way to put an attack in at the exposed enemy. As I was holding down spears or weapons with my axe, others kept pace as a unit, allowing us to push forward. We all pressed hard, always keeping the enemy on the back foot. And once the lines broke, we stayed together, to attach the enemy rear. Regia fought back well and fought hard, putting enough resistance in the centre to keep it at standstill and fighting back our left, routing it in 2 of the 3 clashes.


The battles were exhilarating. Win or lose, this was the most fun I have had at York ever. An OK scripted battle, successful market visit and a fantastic competitive fight. A good start to the season- now, time to finish off some kit…

As promised, here are some videos taken during the competitive battles (both are filmed from behind the Away team lines, mostly from the left wing perspective. Look for Y Ddraig on the extreme right, duded with white shields with red circles):


Videos filmed by Gordon Bailey, published on Ost Centigas channel. Photo credit to Jon Brownridge and Max William, from whom I have shamelesly pillaged the photos.


Safety Measures


This time, I am going to talk a little bit more about how we, the warriors keep ourselves safe on the battlefield. Viking and early medieval combat displays are very exciting events, that gather a lot of attention. The reenactors always ensure that the displays are dramatic, entertaining, competitive and as close to the historical combat techniques as practicable, whilst also remaining safe for all those involved.

It is fairly easy, when it comes to public safety- separate battlefield/fighting arena, double set of ropes, instructions from the organizers, signs etc.

But how do the fighters keep themselves from harm?

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1. The Equipment

Warriors use protective equipment, to keep safe. Some of it mandatory, some optional. Let us start with a couple of mandatory items:


Gloves. Possibly the least authentic bit of gear we use, as the Vikings or their counterparts would not use them. A thick mitten or leather-reinforced gauntlet will not stop a sword blow cutting your fingers off. But it will stop a blunt weapon from breaking your fingers, by taking most of the force away from the blow. Without appropriately armoured gloves, a reenactor’s career would be very short and painful indeed, and finger/hand injuries are the most common ones seen on the field.


Helmets. Although not every reenactment society makes them mandatory, the one I am a member of does, and for a good reason. Head injuries can be very serious, and face injuries are not uncommon. A helmet provides essential protection to a warrior’s head, and gives him extra safety when getting into closely-packed shieldwall combat, where it is very easy for a blow to go astray.

Now, onto the optional pieces of protection, starting with the most basic and obvious one- a shield. No explanation necessary, I trust, and although it is not mandatory, as some warriors are using  two-handed weapons, or maybe a weapon in each hand, each warrior owns one, because hand weapon + shield is the most common and basic weapon combination in reenactment.



Arm-guards. Again, not every warrior is using them- but I can attest to the fact, that they are very useful indeed. Made of thick, hardened leather, and cut into an appropriate shape, they are great at taking the “sting” out of a blow. The protection they offer to forearms and elbows has saved many a warrior from bruises, cuts and fractured bones. Especially, when a warrior uses an aggressive style of combat, or likes getting close to his enemies, thus exposing himself to more blows. In that situation, arm-guard are just amazing.


Padded armour. Otherwise known as gambesons. a gambeson will protect the warrior’s torso, legs and shoulders, as well as his arms. Made of multiple layers of batting and cloth, padded armour is amazing at absorbing kinetic force of the attack, and in doing so, preventing injuries. It is also a very good-looking piece of kit, and warriors wearing it appear more fearsome, and look more like professional warriors, ready for battle. The authenticity of padded armour in the Viking age is still disputed, but  so far no one has come up with evidence, that it was not used, and so, it is allowed, with appropriate materials and patters being used. And did I mention, it looks cool?

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Chain Mail. The best, most costly form of armour in the Viking age, mail offers supreme protection to its user. It is great at stopping cuts and was the dominant form of armour for many hundreds of years. Mail comes in many varieties, and a warrior may have a small “t-shirt”, or a full-length suit of armour, depending of his preference and availability of cash. Historically,  mail was very expensive and only the richest and the elite warriors could afford one. In reenactment, mail is used as an elite kit item, representing warriors wealth and status- but it also offers great protection from incoming attacks, by absorbing their force. Plus, it looks even better than padded armour, and make a warrior seem truly formidable!

Miscellaneous. Many warriors also use additional protective equipment, such as modern knee-braces, or elbow pads, even jaw guards. Whilst not really authentic, these items can, and do prevent many injuries on vulnerable parts of the body, and warriors with long years of experience will tell you, that they area very good investment.

But equipment is not everything! even with blunt and rounded-off weapons, helmets and all protection imaginable, injuries would happen everyday if not for the most important factor- the warriors and their training.


2. The Warriors

Each warrior, who takes part in a combat display, must do so in a safe and controlled manner. It does not suffice to say “ok, I will be careful, not to take someone’s eye”. Each warrior must pass a series of safety and combat tests, to make sure he/she knows what they are doing. It takes skill and practice, to learn to use weapons in an entertaining, accurate and safe manner.


For each weapon they use, a warrior must pass a competency test, to prove he/she is able to use it safely and with skill. Warriors train regularly, and training officers watch over them, to make sure safety rules are adhered to. Whilst in combat, there are rules by which warriors must abide. There are body parts, we may not attack (head for example), blows we cannot perform (like thrusts). Warriors must also “control” their blows and “pull” them, when making contact with another warriors body.

What does it mean? It means, that the blow is made to look like it can kill, but is actually very precisely controlled, and never hits the opponent at a full force, but only hard enough to make it look convincing. Warriors are taught techniques, that make their attacks look vicious and deadly, whilst remaining fully controlled.

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Warriors, and their training are the most important part of our safety system. It is a game after all, a hobby, and we want to make it safe for all those involved. Accidents and injuries do happen, as it is a combat sport. From common bruises, to serious injuries requiring hospital attention- but such occurrences are rare, and very seldom something actually happens, though many times warriors come close to an accident. It is because of our level of competency, safety rules and equipment, that we are able to enjoy our hobby, and share it with the public, for the benefit of all.


Raid on Lindisfarne!


The Vikings first arrived to Lindisfarne, also known as the Holy Island, in 793. Ever since Viking reenactment started up, they have been coming back, although now they are not pillagers, but performers.This year, on the first weekend of August I had the chance to take part in this fantastic show, held in one of Britain’s most beautiful corners.

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The island is very spectacular. The historical and natural beauty are amazing. For me, the especially interesting bit was the tidal causeway, connecting the island with the Northumbrian coast. When the tide is down, the road is exposed, and island can be reached- but when the tide comes in, it floods the road, and the island is cut off. The natural environment of this place is truly unique.


But enough about the environment! Time to talk about the show itself. The Viking village was pitched in the ruins of the priory, where the fighting arena was also set up. It was there, that the spectators would see the Lindisfarne raids reenacted before their eyes, over Saturday and Sunday.


The usual Living History set up was put in place- craft demonstrations, authentic food, and reenactors talking about the life at is was at the turn on the 8th Century. The monks of Lindisfarne were also present, to tell the visitors about life in the priory:

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The main part of the show, was the story of Lindisfarne, and the start of the Viking Age. The peaceful life of the monastery was ruined by the Vikings, who came over to plunder the riches of the priory. UNder the leadership of Ragnar Lothbrok, the Vikings came to Lindisfarne and, after killing the monks took all the treasure they could carry:

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Historically, the Vikings returned home, and then came back for more, only to be faced by an army of Northumbrians. Some of the locals were taken as slaves, and the brave Northumbrians decided to free them as well as punish the Vikings for their raid on the Holy Island. This is where the history ends, and the show takes over. Great battle ensues, between the Vikings and the Northumbrian Saxons, which the Saxons manage to win, after a great struggle. The last surviving Viking is taken prisoner, and forcefully baptised, before being put to death:

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As a “show fight” or a “display battle”, this battle had a pre-determined result- the purpose here was to entertain the public and provide a jolly good bash for the reenactors. Such battles usually follow very similar scenario: first, the taunts and insults are exchanged, both sides make noise and try to intimidate each other. Than, the lines clash fiercely, usually two times, with plenty of big blows, noise, screams and impressive fighting. Lines then separate and prepare for a third clash, in which the loosing side will withdraw and loose men, as if they were loosing a battle. Sometimes, the two sides will separate one last time, and clash yet again, at which point the loosing side will be killed to a man, or routed of the field. THe trick here, is to make this all believable and entertaining. Also, the “loosing” side must remember not to fight too well and make their rout look believable. Conversely, the “winning” side must remember not to make the fight one-sided and that some casualties, or occasional setbacks are necessary.

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It is after the “Show Fight” is over, when both sides have a competitive re-fight, during which warriors fight only to kill and the best side emerges victorious.

Side note- it is essential for warrior to stay hydrated! No one realises how important water is for armies, until they take part in a half-hour battle themselves…


That was the battle of Lindisfarne- there was of course the traditional Kiddie Vike, when the children were allowed to take on (and, quite rightly wipe out) the fearsome Viking Warriors, as well as individual combat competitions and weapon displays.

It was also during the Lindisfarne Festival, that two of my good friends have tied the knot, and were married during a traditional ritual of Handfasting- presided over by Konungr himself, the president of the Vikings Society. All the traditions were observed, the gods were invoked and the mead was shared between all those in attendance. It was a wonderful and touching ceremony, in which I had the privilege to be involved. Dear friends- live a long and happy life together, and may all your dreams come true!

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And that is all from Lindisfarne Festival 2014- I shall be looking forward to coming back next year, and to buying more of the delicious mead they brew on the island!

Photo credit- whenever the photos were not taken by myself, they were taken by Y Ddraig’s keenest photographer, Baggsy. Thanks a ton Bags!

Kelmarsh- History Live!


So, last weekend I have attended my first ever Major reenactment show- Kelmarsh History Live festival. It was an amazing event, there was so much to see and so much to do, it felt like the standard 24 hour day was much to little.

Not having a car, I have managed to catch a lift, with a few good friends from Y Ddraig- Thorstein, Thorkell and Yngvar ( I am using authentic names here). After a merry drive in Thorstein’s fab Ford KA, we have arrived at Kelmarsh on friday evening, just in time to pitch out tents and go for a quick visit to a local supermarket, for supplies.

In the meantime, I have managed to take a quick photo of the campsite, which was really huge and jam-packed full of reenactors (there were two camp sites actually – “plastic” and “authentic”, both huge and both lots of fun):


We have pitched our tents just before dark, and just in time to enjoy beer and snacks, before tomorrow. Also, just to make my point, my tent is not a “Hovel”, regardless of what Yngvar says. It may not be a “Love Palace”, as there are only two tents in Y Ddraig to have earned that name, but I will not have my tent insulted thus!


In the morning, after we woke up and recovered from last night’s merriment, it was time to kit up, and get ready for battle! This year, our group was to take part in two battles, one called the Battle of The Standards, fought between the Scots and the English Normans, and the second The Battle of Stoke Field, fought in 1487 during War of the Roses. No actual Viking Age battle for us, but it was no obstacle whatsoever. In the first battle we appeared as Scottish rabble, and in the second as Irish Kern and Gallowglass mercenaries (after appropriate kit modifications of course).

First came the Battle of the Standards, where we would fight against Normano-English scum, in a suitably undisciplined and mob-like fashion. Unfortunately, the Scots have lost the battle and so we were destined to die or rout off the field. We fought hard none the less, and being a rabble proved hugely entertaining! WE screamed, we taunted, we were shot at with arrows, we charged down hill and run back when met with stout resistance, than charged again, until defeated. The only downside was the lack of fighting spirit from the Normano-English side, who were reluctant to advance or turn on their savage side. If only the fight was competitive, we would own them… One can dream, right?

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And, after a quick change of kit (only 30 minutes before the next battle!) we were ready to play the part of Irish mercenaries:

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This time, unfortunately we were yet again on the loosing side, as the York followers were beaten by the Lancastrians. Regardless of that fact, we still had huge fun, me especially, as it was my first time fighting against Medieval reenactors, who use different weapons, different armour and different rules. The battle was immense fun, with tonnes of shouting, charging, retreating, and facing off against men so heavily armoured, they seemed like actual tanks. Plus, we were peppered with arrows, shot at with cannons and hand guns, and even charged by cavalry! And, in the midst of it all, young members of Y Ddraig shouted defiantly their mysterious warcries (Euthanize!!! Forth Eorlingas!!! For money, money, more money and grapefruit!!!), while fighting savagely until their eventual deaths.

And, once the battles were done, and we have had our rest, it was time to explore the event. There was so much to see, so much to do! Trading stalls, lecture tent, beer tent, every possible kind of reeactment, from Romans and World War II to Victorian prisoners and the Suffragette movement. As soon as we were able, me, Yngvar, Thorstein and Thorkell went on a shopping/tourist spree amongst all the chaos:


What have we seen, what have we heard, what delicacies have we tried? I could talk for days and days, and still not finish. Let us just say, we have seen it all, and still wanted more. Two days of glorious battles and incredible shows, visiting stalls and enjoying the amazing event that is Kelmarsh History Live.

And then, there was of course, the Saturday Beer Tent party, with live band, endless beer and cider, fancy dress and several hundred (or did we reach over a thousand?) reenactors having jolly good time. Cue Star Wars cosplay, 80’s dress up, mandatory man in a mankini, mosh-pit full of mead-crazed Vikings and all sorts of party craziness, carrying well into the night. Only one word describes it- epic.

I can only look forward to the rest of the season, and hope I can have at least half as fun as I had at Kelmarsh. Huge thank you to all involved, high-five to Thorstein for giving me and the rest of our gang a lift, and massive thanks to Baggsy for taking all the great photos of our group when I was too busy swinging an axe. Hail!!





The Rhuddlan festival, part 2


As promised, here is part two of my story from the Rhuddlan festival- and this time, I will be talking about the fighting that took place over the two days of the event.

We have had immense fun, the battles were fierce and closely fought, each side’s warriors displaying great skill and showmanship, as well as wonderful team spirit! The castle would open to public at 10 a.m., then at 11.30 first fight of the day would commence. It was a skirmish between the Welsh and the Saxon troops, under the walls of the castle itself. The Saxon vanguard would first cross the bridge, that spanned the moat around the castle walls:


The Saxons would fight over the bridge, and push the Welsh defenders back, as more and more men would cross.


After the initial push, there was a brief parley, during which Saxons explained, that they are raiding the place in retaliation for the local Welsh king’s breaking the peace and burning of an English town. They demanded the king’s head, but were refused by his commander, and battle followed.




Notice, how tight is the Welsh shieldwall. Our counterparts worked wonderfully as a unit, and it was very difficult to break through, or push them back. The whole fight however was scripted, with a pre-determined outcome, and so, for now we concentrated on fighting for a good show, rather than competition. In the course of the skirmish, the Welsh were pushed further and further back, and it looked is if they might be overcome, until timely reinforcements arrived, and the day was won. First victory of the day for the defenders of Rhuddlan!




And, after the scripted battle, we had a competitive re-fight, where the best side won. This time, our forces stayed on the offensive all the time, and kept pushing the Welsh shieldwall back. It was a short but brutal fight, and our side has emerged victorious, inviting some rightly earned Boo!! and Hiss!! form the onlooking local audience, for beating their Welsh kinsmen:




Then, there was a weapons display, warband competition, and a chance for the children in the audience to face the ferocious Vikings in battle, and show them they way back to their boats. Finally, at 3 p.m., there was time for the main battle of the day- the recreation of the historical battle from the year 1062. It was a scripted battle also, followed by a free-fight. In the scripted battle, it would be the Saxon invaders who would emerge victorious, as per actual events. And in the re-fight, as always, the victory would go to the better side.

The scripted battle started with a brief skirmish, when light Saxon troops would clear the field and chase the Welsh defenders behind their defensive palisade:



This would be followed by another parley, during which treats, insults and urgings to leave the field would be exchanged. From the Saxon side earl Harold Godwinson and his trusted Huscarls, and form the Welsh side, the castle garrison commander and his bodyguard took part. After the parley broke off, it was time to storm the palisade, which the Saxon force did two times, and were repulsed:







After the third storm on the palisade, there was yet another brief parley, and another opportunity to hurl insults at one another, in true Viking fashion. Then, the gates opened, and the Welsh went forth from their position, confident in their abilities. They pushed our men back at the start, but once the initial momentum was lost, they were put on the defensive, and the Saxons pushed back, with all the ferocity they could muster. The Welsh defenders, as per the scenario were defeated and cut down, after a long and brave fight:









And then, of course, there was the re-fight, where the outcome would be determined by skill, discipline and quality of warriors as well as some decent luck!

This time, both sides faced each other off on the field straight away, and marched onwards without parley. Both groups had decided to split into two separate flanks, mostly due to the fact that the trees interfered with our shieldwalls. The Welsh side was strong on the offensive again, and pushed hard, killing some of our men instantly and forcing us on desperate defensive. Our line held however, as they did not push their advantage to the full and hung back, losing some men in the process. Things looked pretty bleak for our side at the time, but we did not give up hope and fought hard to stay alive.







Our opponents pushed us hard, but our line held, and we did not break. After the initial losses we have managed to avoid further deaths, and slowly  brought the result back. It did not seem like it from our perspective, but we were almost even by that time. We were however, very close to loosing, and if only few more warriors would fall, all would be lost. Battle descended slowly into chaos, as men fell and gaps in the line became bigger. It was only when we killed some most senior warriors of the opposing side, we have been able to go on to the offensive, and started gaining an advantage.




Our side has defended itself ferociously and fought fiercely. Thanks to great discipline and some skill, as well as few lucky strokes, we have now gained the upper hand over our opponents. We now pushed on, killing more warriors, until only a couple remained. By then, even though there was only very few of us left, we could secure a victory.




And so, we have managed a win in the free-fight, but it was very close to a loss, and we have only averted disaster by the skin of out teeth. The Welsh reenactors fought well, they were skilled and disciplined. They did not manage to break our line, and lost a few too many men by holding back, instead of rolling over us while they had the clear advantage, which enabled us to turn the battle around. It was an amazing fight, and great show for the public too. Well done to everyone involved, and congratulations to my fellow members of Y Ddraig, for being on the winning side each time over two days.

This festival was a great and fun event, I have learned lots, discovered how much more there is left to learn, and I have seen some truly inspiring battles. All in all it was a show to remember, and I am so very looking forward to the rest of the season!