A 54-strong 'Viking Navy' led by a University of Nottingham scientist and Viking expert has just returned from an unusual expedition to Norway, to row the largest replica Viking longship ever built.
Professor Stephen Harding and his crew of Viking enthusiasts from the Wirral and East Midlands were invited by the Norwegians to test the new 70 ton Dragon Harald Fairhair, a 114 foot hand-built oak longship named after the king who unified Norway in the late 9th century.
The Dragon longship has taken two years to build in a warehouse at Haugesund on the western Fjords. The boat's 82 foot mast is hewn from a single German oak and the sail is made from 3,200 square feet of red silk.
The Dragon is based on the late-Viking Age 'Leidang' ships of the Norse Sagas, which continued to be used in Norway into the early Medieval period.
Professor Harding's crew are being recruited to row the Dragon again when it sails to the UK next year.
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