My second museum on the trip through Scotland was the Highland Folk Museum at Newtonmore. I’d spoken to Bob Powell, head of the museum, on the phone to book a visit and been impressed when he’d mentioned that he keeps his scythe by his desk as a break from the paperwork.
Bob introduced me to John and Sandy, two of the museums volunteers who were doing a bit of mowing that day and then took me to one of the farm buildings to see a few scythes there. Along with the American patterns here were more examples of the new snath which I’d seen at the Scottish Museum of Rural Life. Bob even had a card from the local ironmonger’s with which you could specify and order your snath (‘sned’) made to measure in one of 8 styles. After photographing the scythes on site and sharpening a scythe for John and Sandy, we drove over to the museum’s store where we unearthed more examples. I was especially taken with how light they were and the use of paint on the snaths, something I’ve not seen elsewhere. During our discussions Bob mentioned that in previous years they’ve mown and made hay by scythe at the museum and hopefully will again.It all made me think that this would be a perfect venue for a Scottish Scythe Festival..