By Maude and Emoni
Castell Rhaglann – a beautiful Welsh castle, full of history and drama and home for ten days in August when an encampment springs up around its walls. Ffair Rhaglann is now in its thirteenth year and is the flagship event for the Principality of Insulae Draconis. High medieval mixes with Norse, Persian, Tudor and Saxon without any regard for time periods. This is a living example of the anachronism in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) where you can recreate the time period that interests you the most or switch between favourites like a time traveller.
Upon arriving, we set up our camp. Medieval camping is much more like glamping. We have a small pavilion which you can stand up in as well as comfy beds and lanterns hanging from the roof spokes. Joining together with friends meant we had a sociable area outside as well which gave shade from the sun and protection from passing rain showers (it is Wales after all). We cooked as a group over our trusty firebox, using mostly medieval recipes. Highlights of our feasting included our first baked pie and a salmon nailed to a board and cooked over the wood fire. We were lucky enough to feast with some friends mid-week who can show how good medieval food can be. Their table groaned with a huge assortment of dishes including roast beef, pasta and vegetables followed by spiced pastries and raspberry fool.
The week was filled with activities as well. Armoured combat happened through the castle ruins and the archery range was very popular. Maude had her first experience of archery using equipment that had been brought by others to allow everyone to have a go. There were also classes covering sewing, music, bookbinding, combat technique… and many more. The teachers are other SCA members who share their experience and skills. Some of the teachers in their professional lives are medieval scholars themselves and others have built up their knowledge over years of practical experience within the Society.
Skills and service are key to the Society and it was great to see people that we respected and admired awarded with recognition at the court held by our majesties, the King and Queen of Drachenwald, that were held during the week.
Evenings of candlelit games, music and sampling of the work of the Brewers’ Guild were a joy. There is something magical about sitting round a fire and chatting with friends whilst seeing shooting stars in the sky above.
As the Ffair draws to a close, we are making plans for next year. Our camp is a work in progress and each year we aim to get a bit nearer to making it truly authentic. It will be sad to say farewell to the 200 other Raglan attendees but we know we will see them at the next event. Luckily, Insulae Draconis and Drachenwald have many events throughout the year so we know it will be soon!