Nevermind the Olympics, the results you’ve all been waiting for are the winners of the 1st Northern Open Scythe Competition held as part of the Hay Time Scythe Event this week.
Christiane and I went over to the North Pennines where we led a Learn to Scythe course in a beautiful wildflower haymeadow owned by the Scott family. During the first day we taught the 8 students to set-up their scythe, how to mow and sharpen safely. With both of us teaching and 1 ½ days available for tuition there was loads of chance to give individual help on improving everyone’s techniques. By the end of the day it was a struggle to drag them away from the field where the group had created a wonderful pattern of flowing windrows.
We were well-fed and catered for by the Scotts who provided a glorious evening meal before we enjoyed a talk and slideshow from Neville Turner, a retired local vet and photographer. Then it was off to the pub for plenty of scythe chat.
The second day dawned far too early for some folk but by 7am we were all out mowing the competition plots and spectator area before a massive North Pennines breakfast. I spent the morning teaching the group how to peen their scythes and then it was time for the competition.
The local press and a surprising number of local photoraphers turned out to watch the races. Some friends from the NW Scythe Group turned up to take part but the majority of the field was composed of the course students who did brilliantly and it was hard to remember that they’d only learned to mow the day before. This was a sprint event over a short distance so the times were quick and the grass was flying.
Richard Brown of Norfolk, a seasoned mower and racer, travelled up specially for the event and was ultimately victorious ahead of Don Gamble and Neil Clowes. Ladies champ was my friend Susan Jones while the Quality Award was presented to Mary Wilkinson.