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Ben Keen, The Adventure Element director and outdoor instructor, April 2017
Vikings began to settle in Borrowdale in the 10th century. You can still find many Scandinavian place names in the valley. These usually end in ‘thwaite’ meaning ‘clearing’, or ‘keld’ meaning ‘spring’. The Vikings are also said to have introduced Herdwick sheep to the valley. This hardy breed of sheep is able to live on the high fells throughout the year.
By exploring the place names and landscape features of Borrowdale, we can find evidence of what life was like during Viking times.
To help bring this history alive, you can be a Viking for a day on Derwent Water. You can sail a Viking-style Longboat, try on Viking clothes and armour, and learn about their settlements and daily lifestyle. We can also explore the different theories about Viking life, presented by different historians.
We will compare Viking life with that of today: for instance, are the Herdwick sheep farms and local markets using similar practices to the Vikings?
From the valley of Borrowdale we can explore our connections to other parts of the world: how have these changed throughout time?
- Spend a day as a Viking with Platty+ (20 minute walk from the hostel)
- Explore the textures of Viking times: use Herdwick wool to create felt pieces.
- Write an advert for Viking ‘radio’, describing the farm produce.
- Take sides! Be a Viking or a local, and present and discuss stories and opinions about the Viking settlement in Cumbria.
- Use map work to investigate the influence of the Vikings on the landscape.
- Investigate the farming methods introduced by the Vikings.
- Have a hands-on session with Classrooms in the Forest, either at the hostel or at Whinlatter Forest Park, to learn about Viking lifestyles and practices (dying wool etc).
- Learn how to write in Viking runes and adopt a Viking name.
Group trips on the Keswick Launch
Birmingham University Wilderness Medicine Students
Working together on Derwent Water
Self catering kitchen
Barrow Cascade: the waterfall in our grounds
Carving of the Green Man in Cartmel Priory
Classrooms in the forest
Raft building (and floating!)
Be a Viking for a day!