Unst Viking Ship Replica

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The Swedish built replica Viking ship in Haroldswick.

Named Skidbladner after the ship of the Norse God Frey, she was built in Stockholm, Sweden in 1998. Her design is loosely based on the form of the Gokstad ship at 1:3 scale, and is 18 tonnes and 26 metres in length. She sailed under the name Gymer for a while before being used in a failed attempt to cross the Atlantic in 2000. The trip, organised by Patric Johansson, with a crew of eight or nine under Captain Henrik Ortenblad, saw her arrive in Lerwick from Bergen on June 21st 2000, having reportedly achieved speeds of up to 15 knots during the North Sea crossing. She intended to continue via Faroe, Iceland and Greenland to reach Newfoundland on July 28th, where she was to meet up with fellow enthusiasts to take part in the International Viking Festival at L'Anse-Au-Meadow. The location where archaeologists believe Leif Eriksson settled 1000 years ago. They also had plans to erect a standing stone carved with Norse runes, in Central Park, New York, U.S.A. to commerate the anniversary. Although attempts to continue on to Faroe were made, these were abandoned for one reason or another, and the vessel spent some weeks in Shetland waters, much of it lying at anchor at the east side of the West Voe of Sumburgh. Where, in the shadows of Jarlshof with its Viking ruins, it could be said she projected a somewhat strange form of deja vu. Due to faults in her construction, and problems with her crew, the ship was eventually taken to Lerwick, where she was placed under embargo and subsequently abandoned. She was aquired by Shetland Amenity Trust and transferred to Unst to become part of its Viking Unst project.

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