Sunday, 20 February 2011


There used to be a scythe in every croft. There used to be many many folks who knew how to use one - not just the mowing of the hay and other cereals but also how to keep an edge and look after the whole tool. Alex Fenton in his book 'County Life in Scotland' Berlinn 2008, has a whole chapter on the 'Sickle and the Scythe' and there is a great photo of a couple of Lewis crofters  in 1979 still using a Y shaped snathed scythes. The joy of scything is a good one and highly satisfying too! You can watch, listen to  and be with nature. It is not invasive or polluting - whatsover. It is quick and accurate. It only cuts where you want it to!
Some of us still work in this way, and so these skills are not quite lost. A few folks still have the know how. These folks are now associated and are hoping to work together to promote scything and it's associated skills.
I was taught a long time ago - and am still learning but can go pretty well. I do not do meadows often ( wish I did) and  more likely can be found mowing rides and tree plantations - it is just as satisfying to see a hectare of rush lying on its cut, and am keen on sharing these ancient but still effective skills.

and so to.....

  Simon Fairlie - (if you do not know the name - you should -  if him) - has sintered folks into:

The Scythe

Two thousand years after the arrival of the scythe on the shores of the British Isles, an association has been formed to promote its use. On 15 January a dozen scythesmen and women met in Oxford and founded SABI, the Scythe Association of Britain and Ireland
The Scythe Association has the following objec- tives:
• To promote the use of the scythe throughout Britain;.
• To improve mowing skills through training and the broadcast of information;
• To promote the advantages of the scythe to gov- ernment, local authorities and national organizations;
• To enhance communication amongst mowers and between mowers and landowners and other sectors;
• To promote the study of the history of the scythe and allied technologies;
• To maintain standards of manufacture and sup- ply of scythes and ancillary equipment.
Over the course of this year we will be publishing this newsletter, setting up a website, and organizing a gathering next winter, whose purpose will be to share information and identify projects for the coming year.

The next issue of the newsletter will appear in late April or early May. We welcome contributions, news items, photos and advertisments of any kind related to scythes and haymaking. Please send material to the editor at 01297 561359; Monkton Wyld Court, Charmouth, Brid- port, DT6 6DQ. If you require a paper copy please get in touch.

Simon also runs

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