A VIKING longship was testing out its new mast last night after the original was destroyed during the ship’s maiden voyage.
The Draken Harald - the largest Norse/Viking longship constructed in modern times - had an eventful journey to Wirral on its way from Norway after losing its 70ft mast in severe conditions off the Shetland Isle.
Despite doubts over its arrival, the crippled ship managed to make its way to its destination at Wallasey Docks on July 17, using a motor as back-up power in the absence of the sail.
The tree from which the new mast has been constructed - a Douglas Fir – was worked on by Norwegian boatbuilders Arild Nilsen and Ola Fjelltun, Cammell Laird and other local shipwrights.
After the repairs on Friday, the 2800 sq ft silk sail was reattached.
Wirral’s “Viking Navy” of trained volunteer oarspeople enjoyed rowing the vessel around the docks on Wednesday evening.
Globe photographer Paul Heaps caught the action to share with readers.
The Draken Harald at East Float dock. Picture by Paul Heaps.
Ahead of the repair, Steve Harding - Wirral Viking expert - said: “We are also re-creating a bit of history. During the Viking Age, the Vikings were in control of the Irish Sea for long periods and longships would have been in need of repair.
"Wallasey Docks are part of what use to be the old Wallasey Pool – a sheltered inlet from the Mersey, so it is a distinct possibility that 1000 years ago Viking ships were also here receiving similar attention."
The Draken Harald. Picture by Paul Heaps.
Jim Bibby, from Liverpool Victoria Rowing Club, said: “The longship leaves on Sunday, August 3 and will move down towards the Tranmere Oil Terminal then turn to cross over to the Liverpool side of the river and stop in front of the International Cruise Terminal.
"The opportunity to take some great photographs from the Wallasey side of the river when the ship is in front of the Three Graces should not be missed."