For 300 years the Vikings plundered their way across Europe, striking fear into all those who encountered them. Their revolutionary longships enabled them to dominate the northwest seaboard of Europe, and explore as far away as North America. But what was it really like for these Scandinavian warriors crossing the cold and hostile North Sea? And are their modern-day equivalents capable of the same courage, stamina and brute strength?
In an experiment that dramatically brings long-lost history to life, Viking Boat Race pits two teams of rowers from Oxford and Cambridge against one another, and against the elements, to find out. They may be happy cruising down the Thames, but can the crews cope with 350 miles of open sea from Denmark to England? And can the ancient rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge drive them on to recreate an entire, Viking journey?
The modern crews each have a 13-metre replica boat made to Viking designs, and there are nine rowers on board, including women on both teams. But while the boats may have been cutting-edge technology in the eighth century, they are a world away from their modern equivalents and the teams need to learn a completely new rowing technique.
The 21st-century Vikings also spend time in a "living village" to understand the society from which these people came, and experts help to dispel some of the myths associated with them. Did they wear horned helmets? And were they only interested in rape and pillage? (Quelle: diverse production)