A VIKING-THEMED axe-throwing centre said it is delighted to reopen its doors despite financial losses and the delay of major expansion plans due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Valhalla North Indoor Axe Throwing, in Newton Aycliffe, is celebrating after it was given the green light to reopen on July 4, following a period of forced closure by the Government.

The facility became the first indoor axe-throwing centre in County Durham when it opened its doors in November 2019, only to be hit by the global pandemic a few months later.

Valhalla – named after the Norse mythology enormous hall located in Asgard– is the brainchild of partners Carl Howe and Kathryn Brown.

The Northern Echo: Carl Howe, seen here in Kynren, is one of three partners opening an axe-throwing centre in AyclfifeCarl Howe, seen here in Kynren, is one of three partners opening an axe-throwing centre in Ayclfife

The founders came up with the centre name in honour of Mr Howe’s role as the ‘Viking King’ at Kynren, in Bishop Auckland.

Miss Brown also works as a volunteer at Kynren – an outdoor performance, which takes audiences through 2,000 years of history through the eyes of Arthur, the son of a mining family.

Since Valhalla’s opening in November 2019, the business has gone from strength to strength and is popular with residents and out of town visitors.

It has seen axe-throwing enthusiasts from the Lake District, North Yorkshire, the North-East and Northumberland.

However, the owners say the pandemic has had a huge impact on the business.

Mr Howe said: “We had some big groups due to visit and huge opportunities for the summer which were all cancelled, as well as expansion plans being put on the back burner. Luckily we were eligible for the small business grant but with the ongoing costs it soon runs out. The only turnover we could make was through gift voucher sales to be used once we’re open.”

The team are keeping positive however and said they are looking forward to welcome visitors, Mr Howe added: “I can’t wait to welcome old and new faces back to the centre, we’ve really missed sharing this activity with everyone and seeing smiling faces.

“We have put a number of safety measures in place in order to adhere to social distancing and added extra hygiene provisions, although given the nature of the activity, there is already a good distance required between participants.

“We have over 3000 sq ft of space, which allows us to meet the social distancing requirements without drastically having to reduce numbers.”

Before the pandemic, Mr Howe said the business was thriving with the team looking at launching a mobile axe-throwing lane.

This would be available to hire out for events, such as weddings, parties, country shows and bike rallies.

The owners are also looking to open a second venue further down the line and are searching for a suitable site.

Valhalla North Indoor Axe Throwing is once again taking bookings, to plan a trip visit valhallanorth.co.uk or email contact@valhallanorth.co.uk