Essex

La Route de Thor: 'Viking' boat rescued on beer trip

The Vikings assemble in France Image copyright La Route de Thor
Image caption The arrival in Norwich will coincide with the launch of the City of Ale festival

A team of French brewers trying to recreate a centuries-old "Viking" sea voyage had to be rescued and towed to Thor.

The group, armed with a shipment of beer, was tracing a route from Rouen, Normandy, to Norwich when their boat's engine failed off the Essex coast.

It took eight hours for the Harwich RNLI to bring the crew safely to shore.

Once back on dry land, they abandoned ship and completed their journey by car and train.

The four-day journey, named La Route de Thor, was organised by The Norfolk Brewhouse, in Hindringham, and the Northmaen Brewery in Normandy.

'We are Vikings'

It followed the same route as the 11th Century Normandy stone used to build Norwich Castle and cathedral.

David Holliday, from Norfolk Brewhouse, said the group had taken their sails down when the wind dropped.

"They were going to continue under engine but they pressed the power button and nothing happened," he said.

"It was an eight-hour rescue. They said 'we are Vikings, we want to complete the journey' so the beer will get here.

Three of the "Vikings" had arrived by car with the rest coming by train, he added.

Image copyright La Route de Thor
Image caption The rescue of the French boat lasted eight hours

One member of the group, Antoine Restermourt, said: "Sadly, the boat is in Harwich but the adventure has to go on.

"It is part of the game and the show will go on."

The voyage also marked the 60th year of the twinning or Rouen and Norwich.

Organisers said celebrations would go ahead on Thursday as planned.

Image copyright La Route de Thor
Image caption The boat has been moored at Harwich

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