taking our culture forward

The Voyage of Odin's Raven now online

Thu, 02 Jul 2020

The story of sailing of a Viking longship from Norway to the Isle of Man 41 years ago is one of the most unusual and fascinating Manx tales of modern times.

Now it is now available online thanks to a full reading of a wonderful account written by a member of the crew.

Setting off from Trondheim, the ancient capital of Norway, the crew of 16 Manx and Norwegian men sailed over 1,500 miles to land in Peel on Tynwald Day 1979. The journey of over a month on Odin’s Raven brought them a meeting with a King, a fight for their life after capsizing, jousting with the Scottish navy, many an alcohol-encouraged evening around the Scottish Islands, and a lot more.

All of this was recorded in an entertaining, light-hearted and reflectively intelligent account written in both Manx and English by George Kneale, one of the Manx crew on board the ship which can today be viewed inside the House of Manannan.

Originally published in the Manx newspapers at the time and later as a book for Manx speakers, Kneale’s account has been recorded in full by David Fisher.

Alice Quayle, producer and illustrator of the new edition, says:

“I heard Manx language guru Brian Stowell reading the story out on Manx Radio a few years ago. It was such a fun and epic adventure that I thought it should be immortalised as a spoken story. Also, I liked the thought of making illustrations and maps of the voyage, so I tracked down Brian, and through him George, who kindly agreed to the idea. I asked David Fisher to read it, as he is a cracking storyteller, with a great rich voice, who speaks both Manx and English well.”

The recording was made by Gyp Buggane at Ballagroove Recording Studio as part of a grant to Alice Quayle, who dreamt up the project. Alice asked that the recording be made freely available for anyone to listen to online via Culture Vannin’s channels.

Chair of Culture Vannin, Chris Thomas MHK, says:

“Re-creating the journey the Island’s Viking forebears made a millennium ago was not only a wonderful way to understand our past, but also a way of understanding the Island’s relationship with Norway and the Scottish Isles. David Fisher’s marvellous retelling of the story recaptures that sense perfectly, allowing us to relive that amazing journey of 41 years ago once more.”

The recording is available for free from the Culture Vannin website:

The Voyage of Odin's Raven: The true story of our adventures