Are you strong enough to learn to scythe?

The Poldark circus was brilliant for promoting the idea of scything to a huge audience and I’m glad that ‘Poldark’ is now the refrence I most often hear when people see me with my scythe rather than ‘Death’ but I have had a few emails from potential students asking if they will be fit or strong enough to learn to scythe. After all, Poldark is a big man and was out of breath so surely it must be hard work?

The answer is, of course you are strong enough. Using a scythe is work and can feel difficult at the start since you’re learning new skills but the scythe is very light and the weight of the blade is carried on the ground while you work. If the grass gets heavier, you simply cut less with each slice, keeping the work easy so that you can carry on.
Here’s a few photos from recent courses; I have taught people of all shapes, sizes and ages; with dodgy knees or bad backs and even a blind man – all of them found the scythe to be relaxing, gentle and addictive!

Technique is actually far more important than strength and on my courses I’ll show you how to use your leg muscles and a movement with tai-chi elements to move the scythe for more efficient mowing as well as how to set up the scythe correctly so it’s all comfortable, meaning you can relax while you work. The nicest mowers I know seem to dance through the meadow while the grass falls out of their way and I often tell students that I’m training them to still be scything when they’re in their 80’s, I hope I will be.

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About Steve Tomlin

I am a greenwood worker and scythe tutor. I carve spoons, bowls and other products from locally sourced greenwood. During the summer I teach scything around the UK.
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