The prisoners are a bit jittery. The word in the cells is that a hoard of Vikings is rampaging up Loch Fyne intent on raiding Inveraray. Rumour has it that they plan to loot, pillage and party like it’s 1093!
It’s all part of the Loch Fyne Viking Festival which starts today (Wednesday 25th). This five-day event will see a replica 40 ft. Viking longship – built by volunteers in Tarbert – raid the villages of Loch Fyne in a re-enactment of Magnus Barefoot’s successful bid to claim Kintyre as part of his Kingdom. You could run for the hills, but we reckon you’ll have a lot more fun if you stick around and join in the mayhem.
The longship set sail from Tarbert at 8am this morning accompanied by a flotilla of traditional boats carrying over 40 Vikings. They’re heading for the top of Loch Fyne to pillage Loch Fyne Ales. They’ll be greeted with music from The Camans, food from Loch Fyne Oysters and Winston Churchill Venison and a few barrels of Argyll’s finest beer to fuel the Viking festivities. Tickets for the party, which starts at 4pm, cost £4 and everyone is welcome.
The Vikings will camp overnight, before setting off at sunrise to raid Inveraray. They’re due to arrive in town at 10am, coming ashore at Cross Green, Front Street. We’ve heard that they’re plotting much mischief, including a bid to kidnap an ‘Inveraray headman’. Have they set their sights on the Duke of Argyll from Inveraray Castle? Whoever they manage to capture, we’re pretty sure they’ll release them – if the price is right. We may have to raid the prison coffers to pay the ransom. The townsfolk of Inveraray are nothing but hospitable – even to Vikings! They plan to welcome the Vikings with a market and a hog roast.
But those Vikings have insatiable appetites and most likely they’ll be hungry for more. So at 1pm they’ll be off to plunder Ardrishaig, where members of the Watersports Club will paddle out to greet them, Bruce the Beaver will warmly welcome them ashore and the Rumblin Tum’s serving wenches will provide some hearty food. They Vikings had better beware though, as we heard that the local cubs and scouts have a few surprises in store.
After the raid, the Vikings will make the final leg of their journey back to Tarbert accompanied by the many Coastal Rowing Clubs who are taking part in the inaugural Loch Fyne Coastal Rowing challenge from Ardrishaig to Tarbert. The race starts at 5pm, so come along and cheer on the rowers as they set off.
You can follow the Viking flotilla by road along the shores of Loch Fyne, starting at Fyne Ales brewery and ending in Tarbert. You’ll have time enough to visit several points of interests en route, such as Auchindrain Township Museum or Kilmartin Museum, or to walk to one of the viewpoints with spectacular views over Loch Fyne. Don’t forget to visit Inveraray Jail.
You can also join the Heart of Argyll Viking Treasure Trove Trail. This follows the Viking flotilla and encourages you to explore many not-so-well-known spots along Loch Fyne. There are 31 intriguing clues and 22 fantastic prizes to be won – including a family ticket to Inveraray Jail. Find out more and download your entry form at www.heartofargyll.com
Find out more at www.tarberttraditionalboatsfestival.org.uk.