Norfolk

Norse heritage celebrated at Sheringham Scira Festival

Scira Festival
Image caption Magnus Sheildbreaker, the Viking name used by Richard Mehmed from Lowestoft, said events like Scira Festival are about "linking with our ancestors"

A seaside town in Norfolk has celebrated its Norse heritage at its annual Viking festival.

The Scira Festival in Sheringham included battles, fire-breathers and the creation of a Viking village.

It culminated in burning a 28ft (8.5m) longboat to send a king to Valhalla - the hall of slain warriors.

The word Sheringham is thought to be a combination of the Old Norse word for the Viking lord Scira - pronounced "Shira" - and "Heim", meaning home.

It fits with regional folklore that the area was gifted to Scira in recognition of his bravery in battle.

Scira Festival
Image caption Vikings donned traditional gear and wielded swords
Scira Festival
Image caption Jackie Bush, from Banham, took part in the celebrations in the Viking village

The town's deputy mayor Liz Withington said it was "really important" such events took place to help "change the idea of traditional seaside towns being [active only from] May to September".

"No marauding Vikings are going to permanently take over Sheringham," she joked.

Viking festival
Image caption The boat was given a guard of honour before it was burned
Presentational white space
Scira Festival
Image caption The Leas, the traditional front of the north Norfolk coastal town, was turned into the village

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Scira Festival
Image caption The event culminated in the burning of a longboat
Scira Festival
Image caption Hrafnkell, aka Steve Gilham, from Fritton in Norfolk, said attendees "love a good party"
Scira Festival
Image caption Flaming torches were used to burn the boat
Viking festival
Image caption Crowds were treated to battle re-enactments

Photographs by Martin Barber.

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