While there are several Arnold Clark employees donning tartan to take on the challenge of the Kiltwalk, nobody is taking their outfit to such extremes as our Graduate Software Developer Euan Cockburn, who’ll be walking in Viking chainmail and helmet. This isn’t just some flimsy costume, either; it’s authentic heavy metal weighing almost 10 kilograms.
Euan will be walking the whole 26 miles of Edinburgh’s Mighty Stride bedecked in his dark ages apparel. He came to this decision shortly after finding out about the Kiltwalk from one of the posters in Head Office.
He said: ‘I read one of the posters and it said they would match the first £1000 and I thought I could do that. Then I thought, I bet I could raise more money if I did it in chainmail!’
It’s all in aid of a good cause as Euan is walking to raise money for Who Cares? Scotland. He explained his choice of charity saying: ‘The work they do is really important for giving opportunities to people from care backgrounds. There’s an awful lot of stigma attached to it. There’s a level of expectation on them but it’s an expectation to fail; it’s an expectation to go to jail; it’s an expectation to work bad jobs. A lot of them can far exceed these expectations. Who Cares? Scotland is a great charity that facilitates the opportunities to go into higher education and apply for jobs that they might not normally be considered for.’
While you might wonder why Euan even has chainmail to hand, there’s a perfectly good explanation. He’s part of The Glasgow Vikings, a dark ages re-enactment society. They form part of a registered educational charity, which means all of the clothing, weapons and equipment are historically accurate.
‘We put on interactive history displays for members of the public where we teach them about what life was like in the dark ages at different points on time. We often try to re-enact the events that happened in the locations we’re actually in.’
Euan has set himself a fundraising target of £1000, and beyond walking in his Viking attire he’s added a little extra incentive for his most generous sponsors.
‘Whoever donates the most money will get to decide either my hair or the beard and what colour it should be or ask me to shave it.’
While this might make for a slightly unusual Viking, Euan suspects one colour will win out saying: ‘Every time I mention it, people immediately say pink. I feel like just something should be pink just to meet public demand.’
Training is a little different when you’re going to be walking in heavy costume but there’s a solution that’s slightly less terrifying than a Viking roaming the streets of Glasgow. ‘I have a 10 kilogram vest that I wear when I’m doing my training. That’s actually heavier than the chainmail and the helmet – not by a lot, but it sits differently. The chainmail constricts on the chest more, so very quickly you can’t breathe properly – you feel it pull on your shoulders.’
Still, this will be a stroll in the park compared to Euan’s usual regime, which involves four hours of combat training every week wearing the helmet, chainmail vest, carrying a shield and wielding a sword. From the dents on his Viking helmet, you can tell these weapons really leave a mark.
If you’re wondering about the historical accuracy of the walk, turns out Vikings wouldn’t take on such a task. Euan explained: ‘They wouldn’t have walked with their chainmail on. If they were marching and weren’t expecting to fight, they wouldn’t wear it because it’s hot and makes your clothes very oily and tears away at the fabric on them. Going further back, the Romans would be expected to march 26 miles in chainmail.’
In the run up to the event, the chainmail vest and helmet will be at Euan’s desk, so if you’re visiting head office, you can stop by and see just how heavy they are or even try them on.
Everyone at Arnold Clark wishes Euan the best of luck with the Kiltwalk. Don’t forget to cheer him on if you see him on the big day. You won’t miss him.