The Skidbladner is a full size replica of the Gokstad ship, found in a Viking burial mound in norway in 1880. The original ship is thought to have been built during the reign of Harald Fairhar, who is said to have landed in Unst, and after whom the bay of Haroldswick is named. This type of Viking ship was suitable for a variety of purposes including trade, warfare and general travel.
Like the Gokstad ship, the Skidbladner is largely constructed of oak, built in the clinker fashion which made her light and flexible. Each plank was slightly tapered, overlapping the plank above and held in place with iron rivets.
The Vikings invented both the keel and the steering oar, which gave them more control over where they went, and were key factors in enabling the domination of Vikings at sea. The Skidbladner is 24.3 metres long and 5.25 metres wide.
Shetland Amenity Trust aquired the Skidblader in 2006 when it became a fixture at Brookpoint in Haroldswick. The ship is an impressive sight and has proved a popular visitor attraction.
Visitors can board the ship and feel what it was like to have been aboard a Viking vessel, with living history demonstrations taking place to enhance the experience. The Skidbladner now sits alongside the re-constructed longhouse as a permanent visitor experience. The aim is to provide seasonal events and activities around both fixtures during summer months.