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Previous Answers

What inspired you to have such an excellent Q&A system? 🤔

I wonder 🤔
p.s. Have you heard about WomBall?

Where is Bjørn and can they be stolen?

They've been residing with our rally chair, however they'll hopefully be making an apperance at WomBall. Whilst National Event mascots are stealable (at least before they retire, post-event), they can't be stolen at the event they represent, so good luck trying to steal him!

If Bjørn was a Greggs bake/other pastry product, which one would he be?

We don't think he could be anything other than the legendary Greggs Sausage Roll

Can you give me a fun fact about the Tyne and Wear Metro? I'm buzzing to ride it on the all day pub crawl!

Every station on the Metro are coloured with the Metro's colours of Yellow and Black, except 2. St James is coloured black and white, and Stadium of Light is coloured red and white. This is to represent the respective football teams which you'd visit from those stops.

Does Bjørn have any siblings?

He doesn't have any siblings, but according to Tom Webster he has a distant cousin - you'll have to ask him for more details though!

Bjørn, what are your pronouns?

Bjørn uses he/him pronouns, but is also chill if you want to use gender neutral pronouns!

Does Bjørn have a girlfriend?

Nope, who's asking 👀
p.s. he's open to male & enby mascots too

What is the most exciting thing about Viking Rally?

There's lots to choose from! Why not check out what our team are most looking forwards to on our Meet The Team page?

How many does an indoor room sleep?

The centre has a variety of rooms upstairs ranging from 2 to 6 people, in bunk beds. The accessible room downstairs sleeps 4 in two bunk beds. The tented village can accommodate 5 people per tent.

What advice do you have for those who are attending Viking Rally as their first rally?

Our website has a dedicated page with information for those that are attending as their first rally. Our main advice though would be don't be afraid to get stuck in and mix with others - SSAGO really is a friendly bunch of people!

What advice do you have for those getting to Rally via train and getting in very late potentially past midnight? - My uni won't tell me when I'm in till the evening before and that could be till late (Potentially 7pm) and I have 4+ hour train to get to Rally too

We are currently planning to run shuttle buses between Durham station and the campsite until around 11pm, however we will be asking people when booking what time they expect to arrive if going by public transport, so if you are going to arrive after this point we will plan to be able to pick you up. We want to encourage as many people as possible to use public transport to come to Viking Rally, as it is better for the environment (and for our Logistics Officer's stress levels) so we will make sure that anyone who chooses to come on public transport can make it to the campsite!

Is there anywhere to park onsite?

Yes. There is a reasonably sized car park onsite, and we're exploring options for overflow parking too (just in case).

How old is Bjørn? Is he a Baby Bjørn?

Sadly he's not a baby anymore, at least not in human years. He's actually 29, as he was born at the last Viking Rally, back in Autumn 1991!

Geordies or mackems? (There's only one right answer)

Obviously it's got to be Geordies!

When does booking open?

Bookings will be opening in early October, with the exact date & time being widely communicated in advance! This should be after all universities have started back, so it will hopefully mean freshers have had at least a brief chance to get signed up to SSAGO in advance of bookings opening.

Can we be friends?

Of course, Bjørn is friends with all of SSAGO!

Will you come to Minecraft Mayhem when it restarts??

Bjørn may pop along 👀

Are we allowed to bring guests to rally?

Unfortunately, since capacity is limited (even if it is quite high), we need to keep the space available for SSAGO members and staff. Whilst some VIP guests may pop along, if all of our attendees wanted to bring guests with them, we would have to say no to some people, and that would not be fair. Of course, if the guest you wanted to bring along is a student, they can always join SSAGO (https://www.ssago.org/join), either at a local club or as an Indie.

How many people will there be at Viking Rally?

We wish we knew, but we will not know for sure until bookings close about a week before. You will be able to keep an eye on the number increasing on the website once bookings open though. At the moment, we are planning for anything from say 100 to 400 people! The last couple of in person rallies were around the 300 person mark though, so we would anticipate something like that again.

Will there be the option to sleep indoors?

Yes. There are 40 beds in the main centre, and the majority will be available for general bookings (with some being reserved for staff, etc.).

What are the similarities between Newcastle and Barbados?

  • Chloe has been to both places
  • There is at least one A and S in each name (with the As before the Ss too)
  • There is a sea next to both of them
  • They both share the same official language (English, not Geordie that is)
  • Both known for having docks / ports / cruise ships, etc.

Can people who are unfortunate enough to live in Wales attend Rally? Like can we camp now?

We discussed this with the Exec during our joint meeting with them the other week, when we made our go / no go decision. As it stands, the Scouts readiness level for Wales would not allow you to attend, however there was a general consensus that we are very hopeful the rule will be altered in advance.

If we scout in England but live in Wales, who's rules do we have to follow?

People will have to follow the rules of the country they're travelling from (or through) to the event. It is also worth pointing out that the Scouts have said Wales is expected to move to green readiness level on 17th September, so no restrictions should be in place in this case.

Will there be gunge?

That would be telling 👀

Will a trip to Locomotion be offered as an activity if there is sufficient interest?

If there is sufficient interest, we would certainly look into it. It's possible we'd ask you to get the train to it, but hopefully since it'll predominately be train nerds going, that won't be a problem! Just so we can gauge initial interest, please either give the Discord version of this a thumbsup, or contact us, if this is something that'd interest you.

Is Viking Rally going to Durham Digger Land?

Whilst we did originally consider offering Diggerland as an activity, it sadly closes at the end of October for the winter, so won't be open during the rally weekend.

Do we need to bring bedding/sleeping bags for indoor/tented village accommodation?

If you stay inside, you get a pillow, pillow case and bed sheet provided, so we'd still recommend bringing a sleeping bag. If you're staying in the tented village, all that's provided is the tent, so make sure you bring a roll mat, alongside a sleeping bag, too!

When we book on, how long do we have to pay for the booking? Because I'm broke but also want to book so I don't forget 😅

You have either a week from starting your booking or until the end of the booking phase you start in, whichever is first. More info in our Cancellations and Payments Policy.

I say my fellow Vikings, what a marvellous looking Rally! I wish to be informed on the bar situation- one does love a tipple but however many tokens should I purchase? Thanks ever so!

It's hard to say exactly how many bar tokens you should buy, it does depend on how many tipples you fancy and how much your longship can bear to carry on the journey here! Our soft drinks are a single token (45p) but our alcoholic ones are mostly between 3 and 5 tokens (£1.35-£2.25) per serving. If you plan on consuming a bottle of wine then you'd want to bring around 14 tokens with you (£6.30). If you're going for a bottle of spirits (700ml) with mixer you'd be wanting 60 tokens (£27). If you're wanting to sample one of everything, then 40 tokens (£18) for you.

Can we choose who we share indoor accommodation with? Can we pick to have a room of 2 for example

Generally speaking, we're only allowing people to pick one bunk buddy, and then allocating them from there. If there's a specific reason why you can't share with a larger room though, please do get in touch directly and we'll try our best to accommodate you!

I cannot eat mince or mince like textures because my brain does not allow it. Could I get a sandwich instead of bolognese?

If you note this down on your dietary requirements during booking, our chefs will work to accommodate this.

I've just booked on and I'm vegetarian but can't eat meat-style substitutes for things like sausages (e.g. quorn, beyond beef). Are you able to accommodate this? I'm worried that there seems to be something like this for every meal

If you note this down on your dietary requirements during booking, our chefs will work to accommodate this.

Can we wait until closer to the event to commit to whether we'll be able to take the hard to collapse large plastic item home?

Yes, that's fine. For now, I would recommend ticking it, and removing it later on. We'll likely have a few spares anyway, and happy to collect any to reuse centrally too, if you're unable to take it home.

Can I (Lexie) please gunge Samir? I feel it is extremely unfair that I got gunged at Chocolate Rally and did not receive the opportunity to gunge anyone back, so please can I throw a bucket of gunge on Samir or someone else?

Congratulations on your promotion Lexie, you're now Chief Viking Rally Gunger!

How long will the easy and hard treks be roughly?

Whilst the exact routes are still to be confirmed, we anticipate the easy hike covering about 24km, similar to a Gold DofE expedition route (but you'll only have day sacks on). The harder hike will be somewhere in the region of 29km to 34km. More details are available in our Activities Accessibility document.

Are we allowed to bring our own alcohol to rally?

Yes - if you don't want to take advantage of the bar and/or fancy something different, feel free to bring your own drinks along!

If I'm being driven to Rally by someone not attending (aka My Dad), will they be able to drop me off at the site, or would I better better off being dropped off at Durham Station and getting the shuttle?

It's perfectly fine to be dropped off at site. Just make sure when you arrive that the staff in the car park know that they're not staying, so they don't try to properly park you somewhere.

Can we nominate people to be gunged, there's a guy in my SSAGO group who deserves it

We've not decided either way yet. If we do though it'll be consensual gunging, similar to WomBall!

Can I just clarify... Is the led campfire llike led by a person or is it powered by LEDs? 😅

Last time I checked, SSAGO doesn't do fake LED campfires, so it'll be led by a person! Saying that, if anyone from LEDStam attends they'd be welcome to power us through a Dutch campfire song!

Will vegan sausage rolls also be provided for the vegetable-arians amongst us?

Yes! There's a question on the stretch goal section of booking that asks if you want the meat or vegan option. If you've already booked on it might not have been clear what it was for, but if you're yet to book on we've amended the description to make it clear that it's about the sausage rolls!

Will there be alcoholic sausage rolls for those who ticked the alcohol stretch goal item?

Depends if you dip it in your drink or not

I was wondering, which days and times will the Bar be open? Will I still be able to use my bar tokens if I am going to Lumiere?

We still need to get the licensing sorted, but hopefully it'll be open both the Friday and Saturday for the majority of the evening whilst people are on-site. Lumiere will only see you off-site for a couple of hours, so you'll still have plenty of time to spend your tokens!

Excited for my first rally! How likely is access to hot water for tea-making?

Don't worry, we won't be depriving anyone of a cuppa! There will be a drinks station in the corner of the marquee where you can help yourself to squash and hot drinks.

Is there a SSAGO fund for help with travel to rally? I know a lot of people who really want to go but it's very very expensive to get there. :(

Unfortunately we can't provide any support centrally through SSAGO.

For Roman Rally, back in Spring 2020, a Transport Subsidy scheme was trialled, however earlier in 2021 the exec decided not to continue the trial for the upcoming national events to protect SSAGO's financial interests due to the uncertainty with coronavirus, etc. If you want to read more about that decision, it's discussed in the Summer 2021 Reps Minutes and 10/07/2021 Exec Minutes.

We would however strongly suggest approaching other sources of funding. Students' Unions can be good sources of funding, and it might also be worth approaching Scouting and Guiding locally, at various levels, to see if they have any excess reserves they'd be looking to utilise for worthwhile causes.

What COVID safety protocols are you doing at the event?

I'll refer you Bjørn's Policies, where you can find our COVID-19 Policy. This provides a general overview on the protocols we're taking, and what you are agreeing to do by booking onto the event.

Is there an option for a segregated eating area and/or staggered dinner/breakfast times in order to reduce crowding in the marquee?

During our planning process we have debated doing staggered mealtimes, but we don't believe this is particularly feasible for this event. We are however planning there to be some space away from the main marquee for people to eat that would prefer not to be in a space with as many people.

As outlined in our COVID-19 policy, we are asking people to wear masks and to respect other people's wishes for social distancing when queuing at mealtimes. If you have any problems with this not being followed during the event, please feel free to bring it to the attention of a member of rally staff, who will be happy to reinforce the message to attendees and enforce it where appropriate.

Our marquee is also larger than the previous in-person rally, meaning we can hopefully expect there to be more space between tables, etc., to make people feel more comfortable.

Will there be hot water for hot water bottles, cos I assume it will be freezing at night?

Yes, there should be plenty of hot water available for you to keep warm!

Bjorn would you like to date shit ? Our Mascot from Lancaster

Shit's moving a bit fast there.. let's just see how we get on at rally 😉

Who’s yours favourite mascot

Bjørn, obviously!

How many of my many many neckers do I bring to Viking Rally?

Bring them all! Neckers are great for keeping your neck warm too.

Who will Bjon the Mascot be camping with and what kit is required for mascot ?mascot kit list please

Bjørn's not thought as far ahead as to who he's sleeping with at rally yet. In terms of kit list for your mascot, make sure you keep them warm and dry - think jumpers, hats, scarves, and don't forget a necker too!

As someone who doesn't drink and can get quite anxious around people who are 'too drunk' (so they can't really look after themselves) and are out on an activity (one that predominantly doesn't involve alcohol). Will things be put in place if we (as a group) feel that the individual isn't safe to be with us whether that's on the individuals side or the groups side?

We really hope this won't happen, so please don't worry about it too much! If it does happen though, the activity leader should deal with it or, if you don't believe they are / you're on an activity without a dedicated activity leader, you can contact the rally committee on the event hotline and we will deal with it.

Is there a dresscode?

There's no specific dress code, but please be sensible and don't wear anything offensive / obscene and make sure it's appropriate for the weather. If you're taking part in the ceilidh though, there will be optional Viking fancy dress!

Can we have some tips for a new mascot as it’s our first rally I’m never scared of mud

To keep your mascot clean and safe, think about a mascot carrying / attachment device. This varies from mascot to mascot - options may include caribenas and slings, or simply a secure way of attaching them to a necker.

How do you expect individuals to be seated at mealtimes? Distancing, maximum table numbers?

On the most part, you'll be seated at tables in the marquee. We anticipate having chairs instead of benches, so if you wish to distance a bit more that should be possible, but we won't be enforcing anything. If you are particularly concerned, we should have some limited alternative seating available at other locations on-site, for those wishing to eat away from the main marquee, which you can use; please either ask a member of rally staff during the event, or get in contact in advance and we'll ensure you know where this is located.

Will you be providing adequate PPE for SSAGO members?

We'll be providing hand sanitiser centrally, although you may wish to bring your own small bottle for use during the daytime activities, etc. We'll be expecting people to bring their own mask(s), and any other PPE you may wish. SSAGO centrally will ensure there's adequate PPE in place for first aiders too.

What is your protocol on SSAGOers who are mask exempt?

If you are medically exempt from wearing a mask, that is fine. You may wish to note this in your emergency information part of booking, just so we don't accidently ask you to wear one, but if we do just mention that you're exempt.

Is there somewhere in Durham we can store our bags so we can explore if we are leaving Durham quite late? (because the later trains are cheaper)

There isn't anywhere at the station, but there are some places online that partner with shops and hotels, etc., to offer left luggage services. From looking on one of these websites, called Stasher, it looks as though the Premier Inn might be your best place, which would cost about £6 per item and is only a 10 minute walk from the station.

Are there trees to sleep in a hammock?

We had originally hoped to offer a hammock village, but unfortunately the campsite's plans to create that space has been delayed due to the pandemic. There are however plenty of trees about the perimeter of the campsite so, if you wish to bring a hammock, we won't stop you.

What time do shuttles to durham start on the sunday?

We'll primarily be running shuttles after the closing ceremony, but if there is a demand for them earlier we can provide for that.

In the indoor accommodation will there be plug sockets available?

Unfortunately the bedrooms don't have power sockets available in them. There are however sockets elsewhere in the centre, where you would be welcome to leave stuff charging overnight (or any other time of day).

Is one of the secret stretch goals SSAGO Viking Rally Flipflops

That would be telling 👀

Does everyone get a free SSAGO pint glass or do we have to buy them?

Everyone attending rally will get a free one!

I requested an activity - "A viking battle where all of ssago whacks each other with swords (pool noodles)" - in the survey. Any chance of this happening?

I think our latest stretch goal (inflatable axes) should answer this!

What's the situation about boots in the big room? Same question for the indoor sleeping

We'll be asking people to remove dirty outdoor footwear when entering the main centre, be that for the films or indoor accommodation, etc. For the marquee we advise you keep your outdoor footwear on.

Do we need to bring a lunchbox like we did at roman rally?

We will be handing out sandwiches in bags, so you don't need to hand in lunchboxes like at Roman Rally, however you may still wish to bring a lunch box to put all your lunch in during the Saturday daytime.

If we are staying inside will there be a place to store outside boots indoors to avoid them getting rained in overnight?

Yes - we're not expecting people to leave their boots outside. Also, it hopefully won't rain anyway! 🤞

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