Wirral could have done much more to promote Viking Longboat

Wirral could have done much more to promote Viking Longboat

Wirral could have done much more to promote Viking Longboat

First published in Letters
Last updated

FOR some time, I‘ve been very interested in looking out for news regarding the arrival of the Viking Longboat, and any subsequent events arranged as a result of the time the Longboat was in the vicinity.

I don't know whether it arrived on schedule but, via the local news papers, I did note its arrival in Birkenhead, albeit dis-masted.

But there was little else reported.

Your article on the repair of the mast of Draken Herald was very interesting but I'm very disappointed that Wirral in general was not more informed of the events regarding the Darken Herald, as I feel that tourism in the Wirral could have greatly benefited form any Viking type events coinciding with the arrival and departure of the Longboat.

I think we missed a real opportunity.

As Wirral has so very many connections with a Viking heritage, I think, similar to York, Wirral could have followed the examples of the Isle of Man, and even Amlwch, and arranged a number of events, especially just after the Open, to develop a Viking link, with events that the public and tourists could have enjoyed.

I know it can’t be as big and grand as Up Helly Aah, in Lerwick Shetland, but the event there is the biggest free show on in the country and brings in an incredible number of ex-pats and visitors every year, and is a real boost to the local retailers and hoteliers.

Just after Draken Harald arrived, Liverpool had the giants, and, to promote tourism in Wirral, what did our authorities do?

Other than the Open – nothing!

Our council and tourist authorities must have been still enjoying a drink in Hoylake or on holiday or asleep.

But thank you for the article and pass my comments on to any one who you feel may read them.

Bob Leadbetter by email.

Comments (5)

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11:20am Thu 14 Aug 14

smabo says...

As I understand it, this was an informal visit and the hosts - the Liverpool Victoria Rowing Club - did not want it to be a mass, open visitor attraction while it was here, although there was limited access for any members of the public who got in touch and expressed an interest. I'm sure someone from the club will correct this if its wrong. As far as I could see, the coverage in the media was pretty good.
As I understand it, this was an informal visit and the hosts - the Liverpool Victoria Rowing Club - did not want it to be a mass, open visitor attraction while it was here, although there was limited access for any members of the public who got in touch and expressed an interest. I'm sure someone from the club will correct this if its wrong. As far as I could see, the coverage in the media was pretty good. smabo
  • Score: 0

8:27pm Fri 15 Aug 14

ballacrain says...

This is typical of Wirral. No one is prepared to publicise events that are taking place be it on the Wirral side of the river or the Liverpool side.
People go to a lot of trouble to organise events but both the council and the local press brush them under the carpet.
Come on Wirral Globe,you have a Facebook page, a web page and a weekly publication,why don't you lead the way and start letting people know what events are coming up and let them know right up to the day the event happens.
This is typical of Wirral. No one is prepared to publicise events that are taking place be it on the Wirral side of the river or the Liverpool side. People go to a lot of trouble to organise events but both the council and the local press brush them under the carpet. Come on Wirral Globe,you have a Facebook page, a web page and a weekly publication,why don't you lead the way and start letting people know what events are coming up and let them know right up to the day the event happens. ballacrain
  • Score: 2

9:46am Sat 16 Aug 14

bigfoot says...

I am surprised that Peel Ports didn't capitalise on it.
I am surprised that Peel Ports didn't capitalise on it. bigfoot
  • Score: 0

11:55am Mon 18 Aug 14

rover600 says...

All sounds very 'elitist' if LVRC wanted to keep it all for itself. Their area at the bottom of the Floats is well protected and not really suitable for mass scale visits but surely something could have been done nearer to the bridges?

My wife and I caught a glimpse of it as we drove past but I too thought this was a tremendous own-goal but not sure on whose part. Given there was publicity about it coming and about it then having to come for a mast replacement it would have been an excellent opportunity for it to have been shared with more people not it appears 'just the chosen few'..... Even had its arrival and departure down the Mersey been announced/advertised as with the Tall Ships those wishing to see the Vessel could have utilised the Seacombe to New Brighton Parade.

Sounds like some never gave others a second thought. Sad eh?
All sounds very 'elitist' if LVRC wanted to keep it all for itself. Their area at the bottom of the Floats is well protected and not really suitable for mass scale visits but surely something could have been done nearer to the bridges? My wife and I caught a glimpse of it as we drove past but I too thought this was a tremendous own-goal but not sure on whose part. Given there was publicity about it coming and about it then having to come for a mast replacement it would have been an excellent opportunity for it to have been shared with more people not it appears 'just the chosen few'..... Even had its arrival and departure down the Mersey been announced/advertised as with the Tall Ships those wishing to see the Vessel could have utilised the Seacombe to New Brighton Parade. Sounds like some never gave others a second thought. Sad eh? rover600
  • Score: 0

5:33pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Steve Harding says...

Bob/ all. Many thanks for this feedback. We were informed only in April by the Draken HH team that they wished to come to Wirral this summer after originally telling us they were going to USA instead. We dropped everything and grabbed the chance on the basis this opportunity may never happen again but unfortunately at such short notice it limited where the ship could come into: the Albert Dock - which would have been ideal for the public - was unavailable because of the Giants. And because of the Open Golf, Wirral Council's resources were fully stretched and perhaps understandably they could not provide help in terms of promoting the visit. Unlike the Giants, Tall Ships and the Golf, it was all left to a group of volunteers with tons of enthusiasm .... but no budget.

So undaunted, Jim Bibby and colleagues at Liverpool Victoria Rowing Club - helped by the services of the local Mersey harbour authorities, Peel Ports and retired local pilots Captains Alan Lindfield and David Brocklebank - worked like trojans to host the visit. A full programme of public visitation was all set up..... then of course en route from Norway the mast broke under severe conditions off the Shetlands - the stricken vessel - after superb seamanship by the Captain - made it to harbour and then carefully negotiated the rest of the journey to Wirral where the first week of the visit was spent repairing the ship and erecting a new 70 ft mast - with the highly skilled help of Cammel Laird and other local shipwrights - again totally gratis. Obviously whilst the ship was being repaired for safety reasons public visitation was very limited - the original programme had to be scrapped - but for the final few days a full programme of visitation was possible - a nominal £5 was asked for those wanting to board the Draken to help towards the costs. When the crew members were available - and when asked - they always engaged with the public.

Further voluntary donations from the Norwegian consulate and elsewhere allowed LVRC to host and entertain the crew during their visit - including a trip to Prenton Park to see the highly entertaining Tranmere-Everton game and a shanty night at the Baltic Fleet in Liverpool, courtesy of the Zebu Tall Ship: they returned to Norway with their ship fully repaired and with the crew feeling they had been very well looked after. We are pleased to say that the repaired mast held firm and the ship and crew are now safely back home... Captain Bjorn Ahlander, his crew, and Ship's owner Sigurd Aase were all extremely grateful for all that was done: something we on Wirral can be truly proud of and Wirral has made many new friends as a result.

Craig, Geoff and Emma at the Globe were tremendous in communicating all the updates on the progress of the boat to the Wirral public pointing readers in the direction of LVRC's website for visiting details. Radio Merseyside, BBC NW and Granada were also all fully informed of the arrival and departure of the vessel (the latter which had to be postponed for a day because of the conditions) - and all information was put on LVRC's web site.

And LVRC have been absolutely fantastic throughout. No organisation could have done more than they to get the ship repaired and in time to allow public visitation before the ship's scheduled return. Other organisations have helped too, such as the Wro restaurant at West Kirby who provided a huge vat of Scouse to feed the crew on their final night.

For those that didn't get the chance to see the Draken HH in its full splendour there is some great footage on Youtube, especially by Carl Mumford of LVRC of the longship with full sail coming into Wallasey Docks. It really was a beautiful sight. We are hopeful that next year or whenever the Draken finally sails to the USA the Norwegian team will remember what we have done and they will consider visiting Merseyside en route: next time though it will probably be the Albert Dock's turn! .. and a with a bit more notice and help..
Steady as she goes...
Steve Harding
Bob/ all. Many thanks for this feedback. We were informed only in April by the Draken HH team that they wished to come to Wirral this summer after originally telling us they were going to USA instead. We dropped everything and grabbed the chance on the basis this opportunity may never happen again but unfortunately at such short notice it limited where the ship could come into: the Albert Dock - which would have been ideal for the public - was unavailable because of the Giants. And because of the Open Golf, Wirral Council's resources were fully stretched and perhaps understandably they could not provide help in terms of promoting the visit. Unlike the Giants, Tall Ships and the Golf, it was all left to a group of volunteers with tons of enthusiasm .... but no budget. So undaunted, Jim Bibby and colleagues at Liverpool Victoria Rowing Club - helped by the services of the local Mersey harbour authorities, Peel Ports and retired local pilots Captains Alan Lindfield and David Brocklebank - worked like trojans to host the visit. A full programme of public visitation was all set up..... then of course en route from Norway the mast broke under severe conditions off the Shetlands - the stricken vessel - after superb seamanship by the Captain - made it to harbour and then carefully negotiated the rest of the journey to Wirral where the first week of the visit was spent repairing the ship and erecting a new 70 ft mast - with the highly skilled help of Cammel Laird and other local shipwrights - again totally gratis. Obviously whilst the ship was being repaired for safety reasons public visitation was very limited - the original programme had to be scrapped - but for the final few days a full programme of visitation was possible - a nominal £5 was asked for those wanting to board the Draken to help towards the costs. When the crew members were available - and when asked - they always engaged with the public. Further voluntary donations from the Norwegian consulate and elsewhere allowed LVRC to host and entertain the crew during their visit - including a trip to Prenton Park to see the highly entertaining Tranmere-Everton game and a shanty night at the Baltic Fleet in Liverpool, courtesy of the Zebu Tall Ship: they returned to Norway with their ship fully repaired and with the crew feeling they had been very well looked after. We are pleased to say that the repaired mast held firm and the ship and crew are now safely back home... Captain Bjorn Ahlander, his crew, and Ship's owner Sigurd Aase were all extremely grateful for all that was done: something we on Wirral can be truly proud of and Wirral has made many new friends as a result. Craig, Geoff and Emma at the Globe were tremendous in communicating all the updates on the progress of the boat to the Wirral public pointing readers in the direction of LVRC's website for visiting details. Radio Merseyside, BBC NW and Granada were also all fully informed of the arrival and departure of the vessel (the latter which had to be postponed for a day because of the conditions) - and all information was put on LVRC's web site. And LVRC have been absolutely fantastic throughout. No organisation could have done more than they to get the ship repaired and in time to allow public visitation before the ship's scheduled return. Other organisations have helped too, such as the Wro restaurant at West Kirby who provided a huge vat of Scouse to feed the crew on their final night. For those that didn't get the chance to see the Draken HH in its full splendour there is some great footage on Youtube, especially by Carl Mumford of LVRC of the longship with full sail coming into Wallasey Docks. It really was a beautiful sight. We are hopeful that next year or whenever the Draken finally sails to the USA the Norwegian team will remember what we have done and they will consider visiting Merseyside en route: next time though it will probably be the Albert Dock's turn! .. and a with a bit more notice and help.. Steady as she goes... Steve Harding Steve Harding
  • Score: 0

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