Beorgwic under Munt, October 2011

In keeping with the tradition of Beorgwic’s past, Beorgwic 2011 failed to find favour with any of the major weather deities. It rained…then it rained some more. It even hailed briefly, bringing the temperature down to a balmy 6C in less than 5 minutes. Then, just for a change, it rained!

The 120 acre ‘Danelaw’, with its towering pines, its deep carpet of pine needles, scatterings of beach and tree ferns, lichens, lush green mosses and ground covers, is an idyllic setting for this annual three day event, set in Europe’s high-middle-ages (1000AD to 1400AD).  And it must be said, it looked all the more beautiful and authentic for the bucketing it took on the October long weekend.

Despite the atrocious weather conditions, a good time was had by all.  Seasoned Beorgwic participants were very helpful, friendly and above all, patient with the newbie medieval Duck in their midst.  The facilities, while very basic, were adequate and well managed. The camping areas were broken into two, with period accurate tents pitched near the town square and modern tenants a little further away, just out of site of the square, so enhancing the authenticity of daily comings and goings.

Regardless of what kind of tent you favoured, there was ample room for camping under the pines, on good level sites, padded with pine needles, which helped the sites to drain, preventing them from becoming muddy.

The evening meals on Saturday and Sunday – the only meals provided by Beorgwic – were fabulous! There was more than enough tucker to go around and seconds available for each of the dinner’s 3 courses. The venison pie was outstanding and the honey baked veg the perfect accompaniment.

There were workshops and craft activities too, ranging from a crash course in how to make a rough knife blade or arrowhead at the village smithy, to authentic medieval sewing techniques and tapestry design. There was battle training in various disciplines and styles, and archery too with an assortment of authentic ethnic bows, including long bows, recurves and horse bows.

If, on the other-hand, you had retreated to the middle-ages to get away from ‘it all’, the tavern offered shelter from the menacing precipitation without. On sale until late, was a range of beverages both soft and hard, all of which one could enjoy in an atmosphere completely free of ‘it all’.

As if by magic, or more likely the combined willpower of 120 miffed and sodden souls, the weather cleared on Monday morning, providing an opportunity to pack out our gear. We did this by way of several narrow trails to modernity, now turned to ankle deep mud, serving to remind us why some historians refer to the period as ‘the muddy-ages’.

Looking back on the weekend two things stand out; the friendly support and patient tutelage of people very well versed in their fields, and the sheer primitive beauty of the Danelaw in the early morning mist…like a little bit of medieval Europe, frozen in time.

To find out more about this annual October long-weekend event, visit the Beorg-wic page on the Ancient Arts Fellowship website.

The snaps below were taken between deluges. The quality isn’t great, but they convey something of the atmosphere of Beorgwic 2011