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This May, my family is traveling to Scotland (it'll actually be my first time in Europe - everybody else has been at least once!). While there, I'd like the opportunity to participate in some sort of sword fight. Since my brother is coming too, thick armor and a chance to bash each others' heads in sounds fun. Is there any place in Scotland for tourists to put on armor, take a quick lesson, and have a go at each other?

My brother and I are both adults, if that helps/hurts. We're going to be driving from Glasgow to the Isle of Lewis and back (with some detours), so anything along that route would be best.

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    @MarkMayo - Good to know about (lack of) plate armor, thanks. – Clockwork-Muse Feb 19 '15 at 11:10
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    If you're looking for detours, and you're driving, Tyndrum to Ballachulish (via Rannoch Moor and Glen Coe). Stunning road to drive. Don't miss it. – Ed Daniel Feb 19 '15 at 12:55
  • @MarkMayo: They did wear chain mail armor. The idea of "thick armor" also suggests leather, as 3 centimeters of plate mail would be a rather dumb idea. Plate and chain is supposed to stop sharp-edged weapons, thick leather backed by wool is needed to absorb blunt weapon impact. And for a reenactment as intended here, you'd be using blunted swords anyway. – MSalters Feb 19 '15 at 14:16
  • How did it go? Did you try sword-fighting while you were over? – Euan M Jun 22 at 23:00
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One of the options would be joining fencing schools. Some of these schools do not require a tight schedule to be followed - instead they run on a drop-in basis, which means you can just show up. Checking some of the schools' websites showing that some of them offer free initial classes and cheap fees for classes after that. Please note, there might be other places where they provide you with real swords and real armors, but schools as seen in the photos are more likely to provide you with not so real swords and maybe no armors.

Some random examples of schools from Google:

  • Second one seems to not include armour :/ – Mark Mayo Feb 19 '15 at 9:00
  • @MarkMayo in the uniform section, it says "padded jacket". I guess that will be enough for this kind of swords (little swords). – Nean Der Thal Feb 19 '15 at 9:02
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    Yeah, for training, but the OP does ask for a place to put on armour. – Mark Mayo Feb 19 '15 at 9:02
  • @MarkMayo but he gets a sword :/. – Nean Der Thal Feb 19 '15 at 9:03
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    Looks like this is what we're going to be doing. One of the groups was kind enough to agree to a special lesson. – Clockwork-Muse Mar 12 '15 at 9:38
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There is a lively LARP community in Edinburgh, and while some of the activities are more high fantasy LARPing, the city parks (Bruntsfield Links, Leith Links and the Meadows) tend to see battles ranging from 1-on-1 sword fights up to small armies.

LARPEvents tends to list a lot of these as you get into Summer. While many events will have spare kit, I would recommend getting in touch at the earliest opportunity and asking - they are generally really friendly and helpful, and while these events may be more roleplay than straight up play fighting, they are really good fun.

  • Hmm... something to keep in mind, certainly, but nothing nearby when I'm there yet. – Clockwork-Muse Feb 19 '15 at 11:12
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I rather hope not. Free fighting with real swords is a skill that takes time and training to master. No-one with any sense is going to let a pair of absolute beginners lay into each other after half an hour regardless of what armour they're wearing.

A taster lesson at a club is probably the closest you're going to get, but to be honest you could probably get that at home (as well as having the option to go back if the bug bites!).

  • We value your personal opinion on the matter, but this does not seem to answer the question. I think it should be as a comment. – Nean Der Thal Feb 19 '15 at 13:54
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    TBH I was in 2 minds on where to put it. I went with the view that sometimes the correct answer to a question is basically "you don't want to ask this question and here's why". I'm going to leave it up for now and see what the community makes of it; if the consensus is it should go then so be it. – Nigel Harper Feb 19 '15 at 15:07
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    I disagree with both MeNoTalk and JoErNanO... this does (technically) answer the title question. No. That's the answer. Then he explains why, and perhaps an alternate. Not every answer is a yes. – CGCampbell Feb 19 '15 at 15:54
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    @pnuts I can tell you from experience that re-enactment swords in the UK are most definitely not wooden! They're blunt, but they're steel. – Nigel Harper Feb 19 '15 at 17:11
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Most reenactment societies wouldn't be too happy with what you are asking, lot of training and tests involved....all about the safety etc. But there should be plenty of events on around Scotland, Edinburgh Castle on 3rd May have Waterloo. Check out Historic Scotland events or look up reenactment groups Scotland and most of them will have events diaries. Good Luck and have a great time in a wonderful country :)

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