Fake Sandwicks of the Known World

17 07 2010

An eminent Professor of Viking and Maw Studies from the Sandwick campus of The University of The Highlands & Islands has submitted this paper to the (Made Up) Stornoway Historical Society.

North Street  AGOFR megastars The Guireans have recently become incensed by Facebook’s insistence on displaying their “Home City” as “Sandwick, Shetland”.

Sandwick (the real one, in Lewis, also known as Sanndabhaig) is well known as the Outer Hebrides’ most desirable and exclusive neighbourhood, so it’s not surprising that Shetland should try and hijack the brand. But a closer look at the atlas reveals that the Shelties’ inferior kid-on copy is but one of many, scattered across a huge area defined roughly by the mediaeval Norse sphere of influence.

So where the fleek did all these Sandwicks, Sandviks, Sanndabhaigs, Sandvikens, etc etc come from?

Scholars of thon stuff are in complete agreement that all the World’s “pretend” Sandwicks were  discovered and named between 864 and 879 AD, during the epic voyage of the Leodhasach Viking Murði The Directiønally Chållenged.

One Friday night in early 864, Murði had been out for a few pints in the Kårltøn in downtown Stjórnarvagr. Unable to find a taxi back to his home in what was then the only Sandvik in the world, he decided to walk. For a Viking, Murði’s navigational skills were exceptionally poor, and so what should have been a half hour’s stroll to North Street via the Steinish road end and Plasterfield turned into a 15 year odyssey taking in Greenland, Iceland, the Faroes, the Western and Northern Isles, all of Scandinavia, much of the Baltic – and even Uist.

Fortunately for posterity, Murði drew a map of his travels as he went, using a chip wrapper and a spare sachet of curry sauce acquired in Pronto Pizza on the way to the taxi rank.

This ancient chart, known as the “Mappa Murði”, shows all the places he went to thinking they’d turn out to be Sandwick. Optimistically, he’d write “Sandvik” beside each one before he got there, but then forget to score it out when it turned out not to be.

Thus, in later centuries, amadans who looked at the Mappa Murði came to believe that practically every settlement in the Old Norse world was called Sandwick.

Wrong! There’s only one and it’s fleekeen well here. All the rest are fakes.




One response

19 07 2010
Richard T

His genes must have been left in Shetland since a couple of years back, a blootered Shetlander got off the boat and got a taxi to Sandwick. About 4 or so miles along the road he became agitated, as blootered Shetlanders tend to do, and accused the driver of taking him the lang way hame. It was only when he heard the driver speak that it slowly dawned on him that he was hearing an orcadian accent and, after a little persuasion, acknowledged he was in Orkney, headed for our Sandwick. By this time, when he got back, the boat had left Hatston and he was marooned in Kirkwall for a couple days.

And it’s no a fleeken fake – oors wass first.

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