THE peace of the weekend was shattered on Saturday as the moors and hillsides shook and quaked under the feet of a horde of mighty Vikings.

The legion of "Norsemen" descended on Bolton for the third annual Viking March, storming through Rivington to the Terraced Gardens where a Viking village had been raised.

During the early Middle Ages the land which Bolton and East Lancashire now occupy fell under the Danelaw — an area of Viking rule which stretched across much of northern and eastern England.  

A thousand years on, fearsome warriors again made battle on the lawns, entertaining crowds with reenactments waged by the Hrafnsdale Vikings.

When the fighting was done the victorious men-at-arms and visitors alike could feast on hearty food and horns of the finest ales, served straight from the barbecue and courtesy of Bolton's own Northern Monkey Brew Co; and be entertained by heavy metal — surely the most "Viking" of music genres.

Visitors to the event were invited to wear their best Viking-themed attire, with prizes awarded to the best dressed and the best beard. 

They could also demonstrate their prowess in contests of strength and skill, including axe throwing, archery, a tug-of-war, a shield hold challenge and Kubb — a lawn game reputed to originate in Viking Sweden.

Despite their vicious reputations Vikings were also great traders and craftsmen and attendees to the march could purchase goods and crafts, including their own drinking horns made by Midgardian Warrior.