Rothesay Castle’s Viking day: details announced

Rothesay Castle is set to be invaded by Vikings on Saturday, September 28. (Much more notice than we got in the 13th century...)
Rothesay Castle is set to be invaded by Vikings on Saturday, September 28. (Much more notice than we got in the 13th century...)

Details of a Viking-themed afternoon of activities at Rothesay Castle next weekend have been unveiled by Historic Scotland.

The castle is hosting ‘At Land and Sea’, jointly organised by Historic Scotland and the Friends of Rothesay Castle, on Saturday, September 28, to commemorate the 750th anniversary of the Battle of Largs.

Entry to the castle is free from 2.30pm on the day of the event, when visitors and the local community can enjoy an afternoon of Viking-filled fun.

The festivities will begin with the arrival of a horde of marauding Vikings on the Rothesay seafront, stepping ashore from a longboat at around 2.30pm.

The longboat’s crew will lay siege to the town in slightly more sedate fashion than their 13th-century counterparts, parading from the harbour to the castle, where they’ll attempt to storm the structure at 3pm, with only a determined army of Scots - looking not unlike children from Bute’s primary schools - standing in their way.

Throughout the afternoon there will also be a whole host of activities to keep the family entertained, from have-a-go archery to cooking demonstrations and traditional games.

Visitors can also enjoy the stories of Viking sagas, find out how a knight dressed for battle and witness a Viking duel. Young visitors can even be part of their very own army!

Gillian Urquhart, events manager for Historic Scotland, said: “The castle was built as part of Scotland’s defence against the Norwegians.

“The kings of Norway twice besieged and took it, in 1230 and 1263, the same year as the Battle of Largs.

“The event on the 28th will allow the public to step back in time and experience life in Viking times, with a whole host of activities on offer throughout the afternoon to keep the family entertained.

“We’d also like to extend our thanks to the Friends of Rothesay Castle who are supporting the free afternoon opening and for all their hard work in pulling together the ‘Land and Sea’ event. I am sure it will be a memorable experience for locals and visitors alike.”

The afternoon is part of a wider programme of activities taking place throughout the day and into the evening organised by The Friends of Rothesay Castle who are running the overall event.

The fun and games at the Castle will be followed, once darkness has fallen, by a torchlight parade and fireworks display.

The programme of events at the Castle is as follows:

3pm - Vikings storm the Castle;

3.20pm – The Castle skirmish – Scots and Vikings continue the battle within the Castle;

3.45pm – Viking Sagas storytelling;

4.15pm – Kids Army;

4.45pm – Dress the Knight – demonstration on how to dress a soldier for battle;

5.15pm - Homganga – Viking duel;

5.30pm – The Vikings take the Castle – final skirmish.

For more information on the day as a whole, don’t miss your copy of the next issue of The Buteman - on sale from Thursday, September 26.