If you visited a certain Rivington beauty spot today you may have come face to face with an unusual sight.

The sound of drums and horns could be heard through the forest as hundreds of Vikings gathered at Liverpool Castle, near Bolton, this morning.

Fortunately these hoards were not as frightening as their historical counterparts.

The invaders were made up of friends and families who had come out to enjoy a series of Viking-themed events at Rivington.

Starting with a 5k march from the castle to Rivington Pike, the costumed raiders then made their way to the Great Lawn at Rivington Gardens for a day of activities.

Iain and Sharon Hubbard who also got dressed-up for the occasion, complete with Viking face paint, alongside their sons Thomas, aged nine, and James Hubbard, aged 11.

Mr Hubbard said: “We thought it would be a fun day for the family.

“Some of the costume we bought but the rest was done this morning. We have gone to the Pike before but that’s usually on horseback. This is a little different!”

While some just donned a horned helmet, many had gone full out with their robes.

Among the crowds were big round Viking shields, costume swords and axes, bloodied faces and ‘war paint’ and even chainmail.

John Howarth was just one of those who braved the long walk in the body armour and metal helmet.

The 29-year-old from St Helens was joined by his friend David Patterson, aged 30, who had travelled from Liverpool for the day.

The pair have both taken part in re-enactments in the past and thought they would try out the walk after seeing it advertised on Facebook.

Organiser Andrew Suter, heritage projects manager at Rivington Gardens, said: 

“We wanted to come up with an event which would engage people and get their imaginations going.

“Given this is the first time we have done anything like this I am really happy. We are expecting around 130 people to attend the day.

“Hoping that this all goes well, we are hoping to launch a Rivington Festival next year.”

The march set off at 11.15am from the castle with Vikings and even a few trusty hounds joining the mix making their way through the trees complete with flying flags and accompanied by the sound of horns.