A year in the Life of a Viking Reenactor: March

Welcome readers and all-round wonderful people to the amazing and fun hobby that is being a Viking reenactor. Thank you for returning to read the next instalment of A Year in the Life of a Viking Reenactor for our group Vikings of Middle England. In case you have forgotten since February’s Edition, we are a Viking re-enactment, living history and combat group based in Leicester, UK!

The time is March, the spring flowers are starting to bloom, and you join us at an exciting time of year! With our first two shows of the season coming up, preparations for them are well underway.

If you have not yet managed to join us in person to see what we are all about, coming to one of our events is a great introduction. Wander around our living history camp. Strike a coin or two. Head over to the merchants table to examine the riches before you. Watch the intricacies of material fibre being woven before your eyes. Perhaps enjoy the glint from our silversmith stall. Or even just wander around and perhaps discover something new.

Join us on the battlefield for weapons demonstrations and examples of combat techniques. Smell the wood of the shields as they take a hammering and hear the clang of our weapons clashing in hopefully the bright sunshine. (Real fire not guaranteed).

A busy merchants stall at our event in Boston Lincolnshire, 2018.

In the background there is a lot that needs to be done to pull off a successful Viking reenactment event. It starts months back to plan the events calendar, reaching out to contacts within historical circles to find out if a mutual collaboration can be arranged. For some, these organically fall into place, others often need an element of negotiation be it as to expenses, date and the expectation of both parties as to what type of event to put on. Especially if it is a new booking and the organisers want to hire us as their event entertainment. (By the way if you are reading this and you would like us to play a part in your event please send your enquiry to

When these events have been fixed in place a site visit is organised. This looks at suitability of the area allocated to us for both the living history camp and the combat arena if required. If it is an outside venue, water availability for consumption is a consideration as well as the delicate matter of (ahem) latrines.

On confirming the event our committee (group leaders for membership, events, authenticity, combat and treasury) need to communicate to the group all the details through social media postings and our weekly training and meetup sessions, giving members all the info needed to maximise attendance on the day.

Calligraphy practise by Viking re-enactors at Leicester Guildhall, March 2024

Another essential task for this time of year is the annual van check! I would be remiss to speak about life as a Viking reenacter without dedicating some time to an unsung member of our group. That is to say our van, that carries all the clubs equipment to and from the events and, you might say is as well travelled as any recorded Viking.

The stages for this are:

  • Check no birds or animals are currently nesting in the engine – it has happened believe it or not.
  • Take said van for its MOT and service.
  • On successfully passing the latter, start loading up for the events season ahead of us.

The loading usually is quite a social event with many hands making the job easier. We all go through the club’s kit assessing its suitability for the season ahead. Setting aside items that are in need of repairs, checking to see if anything has gotten miss placed. At a show, if the gods were displeased with our performance and rained down on us as we were packing away, that can very easily happen!

In instances like this it is quite literally a race against time to get everything packed down and stored in the dry. 1) so that the van is not overloaded weight-wise and, 2) our tents are likely to survive until the next show without the fabric weakening and going into holes.

Carrying out this annual check means our kit lasts longer and problem areas are identified before becoming major issues: come rain or shine we are well prepared for a successful event season.

After the show itself, a well-earned trip to a on route home takeaway is in order. Followed by arriving at home unpacking and for most of us a long hot shower. You may think that would be the end of it but the actuality is some of our events are paid events. This means that we need to follow up to ensure we will be paid in a timely manner which is where our treasurer comes into his own. Then repeat all over again at the next show.

a day in the life of a viking reenactors - stopping at services on the way home for a well earned burger!

Thank you once again readers for joining us for this March edition see you on Saturday 20th April at the St George’s Day Festival Leicester.

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