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Vikings invade Gloucester docks
Staff at Neilson's Yard prepare to do battle
Last updated: 22 December 2004 1534 GMT
lineThe Vikings are here! Well, almost. The longship Hugin is a 23m replica of the type of vessel which once lay seige to English shores. Now a local boatyard has been asked to restore it to its former glory.
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A Viking longship has arrived at Gloucester docks. But don't panic, this isn't an invasion by bloodthirsty battle-crazed Danes in armoured skirts.

The ship Hugin is in fact a replica, built in 1949 to commemorate to 1500th anniversary of the first Viking landing in Britain. It measures 23m from end to pointed end, and is constructed from pieces of overlapping wood.

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The craftsman of Tommi Neilson's boatyard have been charged with the task of restoring this delapidated vessel to its former glory.

Richard Chapman, who will be working on the boat, said: "This will be something a little bit different to the jobs we usually undertake.

"If you were to stand in the bottom now, in certain places you'd go right through. It's certainly a bit tired."

The Hugin
The Hugin swings into port


Give that a full-scale Viking warship is unlikely to feature on many people's Christmas lists, how much will the restored Hugin actually be worth?

Bristol-based insurance man George Hayes has the tricky task of answering this question. "Things like this are used for film work so they do have some commercial value," he said, "and they're marvellous to look at."

It wasn't just boat enthusiasts who lined the shipyard for the Hugin's arrival. Gloucester MP Parmjit Danda came along to help mark the occasion.

"This is a great example of some very rare skills, right here in the heart of our community," he said."It's a chance to demonstrate to the rest of the world why we're so good at what we do."

The restoration project has brought a guaranteed £250,000 worth of work to the yard.

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