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Volunteers brave rain to work on Viking longhouse 8 August 2008

Volunteers who are studying for their Duke of Edinburgh's Awards have spent this week working on the replica Viking longhouse that is under construction at Ardwhallan, West Baldwin.

Eight young people aged 15-19, who are working towards gold and silver awards, have been staying at Ardwhallan, the Department of Education's outdoor education centre. Longhouse 2

The longhouse will provide a taste of life in the Island 1,000 years ago to schools, which will use the homestead for living history lessons, with pupils cooking, tending to livestock and making clothes.

The volunteers have been splicing ropes, sawing wood, making oak pegs from pieces of oak, panelling the gable ends of the longhouse and lashing hemp rope onto rafters. They have also tried their hand at other activities including weaving, making Viking belts, archery, mountain biking and sheep herding.

Although hampered by the heavy rain, they have had an enjoyable week.

For Fflinlo Moore, 18, the week has fulfilled the residential project requirement of his gold award. He said:

‘It has been different. I’ve done nothing like this before and it’s been very much worth it, even with the weather and the sometimes tough tasks.’

Adam Clucas, 18, also working towards his gold award, said:Longhouse

‘I have enjoyed it and done lots of things I would never normally do. I just wish the weather had been better so we could have done even more.’

Samantha Crellin, 18, another gold award candidate, said:

‘I loved doing Viking-style weaving and learning other new skills as well as working on the longhouse.’

Nicholas Butler, 17, said the week would feature on his university application and provided something to do during the holidays. He said:

‘I’ve done new things and learned a couple of new skills. Overall it has been an experience and it has been pretty cool meeting new people.’

Outdoor Education Officer Paul Young said:

'The students have done a great job in moving this project on. We hope to get the roof on by the end of September and, without their help, this wouldn't have been possible.'

He added:

'They have made an amazing contribution to the project and hopefully it will provide a legacy for them, so that in years to come they can see the finished building and know they played a part in its construction.'

Scottish Provident International Life Assurance has been involved in the Department of Education project since the early planning stage and its staff have carried out hands-on work and fund-raising.

Mr Young also thanked Adam Nowell, a stone wall builder and specialist in ancient crafts, who has been involved in the project from the outset.

It is hoped the longhouse will be completed by July 2009.

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