This weekend’s Learn to Scythe course was organised by the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust as part of their ongoing hay meadow project. Based at Keasden Head farm with terrific views of the Yorkshire Three Peaks 10 students took part over the two-day workshop.
On the first day we covered setting up the snaths and adjusting the blade to fit each person and then the tai-chi mowing method. This left the whole afternoon for people to get to grips with practising mowing and learning the crucial skill of keeping the blades sharp.
Day two started with peening and became a very in-depth discussion of how to shape the edge of the scythe, the various methods including peening jig and freehand peening using an anvil as well as digressions into scythe manufacture, blade designs and snath making. I really enjoyed having such and interested group to talk through the principles and ideas. Following the theory we had time for a practical peening workshop, each person either peening their own scythe or one of my practise blades. To finish off, we spent a couple of hours mowing a tricky patch of ground includng slopes, ditches, docks and obstacles to test the groups new skills to the full.