Just back from another weekend running a Learn to Scythe course. This week Christiane and I went to teach the folk of Sustainable Edale who want to mow their community orchard. It’s great that word of my scythe workshops had spread from down the road at Bradwell, where I ran a scything course earlier in the year and that my good mate Robin Wood was on the course.
After setting up the scythes we went off to see the orchard to be met by 4 acres of tall tough grasses including sedges and reeds. This kind of vegetation is not the place to first learn the tai-chi scythe movement so we spent the afternoon practising on some shorter, cleaner grass in the village. Then Christiane, Robin, Jojo and I went back over to the orchard in the evening to open up a swath through the grass which was shoulder high in places. With the job well done, we rewarded ourselves with an excellent homemade creme brulee and a glass or two of single malt.
The following day the group were all eager to get over to the orchard and test their mettle in the tougher grass. While we’d been opening it up, I’d identified some patches of easier grass which happily married up with one of the areas of tree planting. With the amazing backdrop of Mam Tor everyone got going and we started to widen out from that first single path. In this kind of situation it’s even more important to use the tai-chi mowing style to do the work rather than just the strength of your arms and folk started to experience this for themselves. With the weight of the grass and the hot sun it was still tiring though so we enjoyed a break and broke early for lunch.
They’ve their work cut out for themselves this year but the condition of the grass should improve with regular cutting and the team were happy that the scythes were the ideal tool to manage the orchard
During the course we stayed in the modern comfort of Robin’s brand-new holiday cottage The Old Police Station with such a brilliant a view of the hills that we had to stay on an extra day to go up Mam Tor and enjoyed looking down from there onto the newly cleared orchard.