Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hurling Season Approaches

There are now only 49 days remaining until the 3rd Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival, on Sunday, October 2nd, 2011.
Warwick Castle, Warwickshire, England

We love our trebuchets and "Pumpkin chuckin" in Vermont, but we have a ways to go to match the English for their love of all things medieval. Probably because there is no medieval history for the United States. No knights and trebuchets fought for control of Vermont castle keeps. Yes, those were the days. We will ignore the part about the black plague, famine, and short wretched lives.

Anyway, Warwick Castle, "Britain's Ultimate Castle," runs a medieval theme park that looks like it can be pretty intense. They have their famous Warwick trebuchet that hurls fireballs and realistic jousting tournaments. They also added a new dungeon attraction a couple of years ago that was reviewed as follows:
In the first month since the dungeon opened, 15 people have fainted and another four have vomited, apparently due to fear.

Visitors to the medieval dungeon are greeted by fake blood and life-size models of victims on the rack. Guides demonstrate how prisoners used to have their tongues ripped out.

Sue Kemp, general manager of Warwick Castle, said: "Our first month has certainly proved that the castle dungeon isn't for the fainthearted or those of a delicate constitution."

An official commented: "If there are many more incidents like these then the dungeon will have to be toned down."

Warwick Castle was built by William the Conqueror in 1068 and used as a fortification. Some of the early prisoners were French soldiers...

Publicity for the dungeon attraction refers to "decaying bodies, chanting monks, torture implements and execution."
So, Vermont Pumpkin' Chuckin' is very tame stuff compared to going full medieval like they do at Warwick Castle. We will guarantee that no tongues will be removed at VTPC. But, please feel free to wag your tongues and tell your friends about VTPC.

Here is a nice tame video that shows off some of what goes on at Warwick Castle, including the trebuchet hurl of the fireball at the end.

Warwick Castle grounds
Wikipedia says this about the Warwick trebuchet:
In June 2005, Warwick Castle became home to one of the world's largest working siege engines. The trebuchet is 18 metres (59 ft) tall, made from over 300 pieces of oak and weighs 22 tonnes (24 short tons). The machine, which was made in Wiltshire, takes eight men half an hour to load and release. It is designed to be capable of hurling projectiles distances of up to 300 metres (980 ft) and as high as 25 metres (82 ft) and can throw up to 150 kilograms (330 lb) of ammunition at a time. On 21 August 2006, the trebuchet claimed the record as the most powerful catapult of its type when it sent a projectile weighing 13 kilograms (29 lb) a distance of 249 metres (817 ft) at a speed of 260 kilometres per hour (160 mph), beating the previous record held by a machine in Denmark. The war machine is situated on the banks of the River Avon which runs below the castle.
See you soon!