Viking longships are gathering in the Alexandra Dock area of the town and Grimsby’s Minster’s nearby square has been taken over by Viking residents, and their living history camp. The 2023 Falfest is underway, with this year promising a spectacular Viking funeral and a full re-enactment with actual horses!
With final preparations for the now annual Viking invasion continue, there is none so excited as this year’s Grim, played by North Coast Seafoods’ maintenance engineer James Nuttall. When Falfest first arrived in the town in 2022, James and his family spent the entire weekend soaking up the history and activities taking place across the weekend. So inspired by the event, he began to immerse himself in Vikings and their culture, starting the Grimsby Vikings group in May of this year.
He said: “It was last year that got me hooked and I started Grimsby Vikings as a social thing to get people with similar interests together. I started chatting with one of the actors at the end of Falfest’s battle performance, and he gave me some contacts to get started.
“We now have more than 300 members, not only from North East Lincolnshire but also across the country. Many have shown an interest in the local tale of Havelok the Dane and Grim the fisherman.”
Legend states that Grim the fisherman was handed Havelok, the heir to the Danish throne, by Godard the regent, to be drowned in the sea. Grim spares the boy’s life, fleeing to Britain where he became a founder of the town that became Grimsby. Havelok ultimately returns to Denmark to reclaim his throne.
Having been noticed for not only immersing himself in all things Viking, James was delighted when he received a message from the organisers of Falfest, asking him if he would like to play the part of Grim.
“I was a bit choked up when I was asked,” he said. “I was born in Grimsby and have lived here most of my adult life, so it really is a huge honour, added to the fact that my late father always joked that he wanted a Viking funeral, something we never knew he was serious about, or not!”
James has put a lot of time and effort into his Viking hobby, visiting other areas to take part in events, and making his shield and spear. He is extremely grateful to the ‘Regia Anglorum’ Viking community members who have kitted him in out with some Grim togs for the weekend, loaning him a few pieces of clothing to see him through Falfest.
During the weekend, Grim will be around for meet and greets in St James’ Square and People’s Park, to take a selfie with the town founder, and to chat about Viking culture.
James commented: “I had a great time at 3rd Cleethorpes Beavers and Squirrel groups, where the kids had drawn shields, and made knives, spears, and axes, and took lots of selfies with Grim. I am doing my usual Grimsby accent though, as my Norse accent is rubbish!
Falfest promises to be bigger and better than 2022, with a Viking funeral and light show on Friday evening, followed by Grim’s Village on Saturday and Sunday in St James’ Square. A Viking battle will make up part of Havelok’s Village in People’s Park across the weekend, with a horse display taking place on Sunday. For a full line-up, visit: https://www.grimfalfest.com/whats-on
If you’re interested in joining Grimsby Vikings, visit their Facebook page.