Testing ancient survival skills - the viking way

Australia’s recent political history came face to face with Vikings from the 9th and 10th century in Faulconbridge on Saturday.

Members of Sydney Viking re-enactment group, the New Varangian Guard, tested battle moves in the Prime Ministers’ Corridor of Oaks before starting an overnight bushwalk to Blaxland.

With the group usually practising combat manoeuvres on weekends, the trek was a great way to test their commitment to historical accuracy in a real world setting, according to member Tim Reeves.

“It’s all well and good dressing up for a couple of hours on a weekend and hitting each other, but walking for hours on end and camping overnight is a different challenge,” he said.

The group completed a similar bushwalk in Bundeena National Park last year so were prepared for any surprised reactions from more traditionally-attired bushwalkers.

“The initial reaction [from people last year] was a bit of a shock — or more like terror — but then it moved to interest. People stopped and chatted to us and asked us why we do it,” said George Korovydsky.

It turns out there’s a range of answers to this question. Among the group’s roughly 25 members — ranging in age from school children to a 71-year-old — everything from a love of history to a fascination with combat has drawn them to the Viking cause.

But for the blokes at least, it’s usually the combat.

“We’re all here because of the fighting initially,” said Mr Korovydsky. “We just love swinging axes into each other — and who doesn’t?” he laughed.

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