Estonia 2018

Tallin, Estonia

Kevin spent 10 days scything and travelling the National Parks of Estonia back in July.

Estonia is the least populated EU country at only 1.3 million and 450,000 live in the Capital of Tallin. Arrival city for flights is Tallin its a wonderful cultural city with a fantastic medieval history, the country is inhabited by 80% Estonians and 20% Russian.

Estonia is in Northern Europe opposite Finland on the banks of the Baltic and over 50% forested and still has populations of Lynx, moose, bear etc.

The scything took place in ancient woodland meadows, teaching students (to maintain this ancient system). The biting insects were nightmarish mozzies, horseflies and noseeems (you don’t see them but you certainly feel them!

Interestingly blade maintenance involved scraping an edge onto the blade! this was effective short term, but I stilled preferred to peen, which also tempers the edge(was teaching this method).

As with Eastern Europe straight snaths were used being cheaper and easily replacable. Blades were Russian grass blades not ideal for the woodland meadows due to the small trees that needed mowing.

The access and use of national parks was brilliant, including Laheema, sooma and Karula. The National parks hold amazing unique eco systems found in the numerous raised bog landscapes all board walked out and with freely accessible camping.

A trip to Estonia highly recommended.

International Peening Day 2018

Skyegrove Penning Day 2018

Thanks to everyone for attending the Skyegrove International Peening Day. A cold blustery day made it not particularly good conditions, but luckily the barn was useful and the pigs kept us entertained especially when the afternoon cakes came out.

Elle getting master peening instructions from Anthony. The group pictured are from the Pentiddy Natural Burial Ground.

Gloria with piglets!

Skyegroves large black gilt Gloria suckling her 7 piglets, born last night.

We are absolutely delighted that back in November of last year, the pedigree boar, Fouy Bouy obviously did his job!

Gloria with her piglets

Hedge Laying at Skyegrove

hedge-layingHedge laying has started at Skyegrove. Thanks to the enthusiasm of Adrian and Barry.

Barry is comfortable using a hand axe and saw rather than bill hooks and a clean tidy finish indeed. ends up being a double hedge either side of top of bank held in by crooks cut from laid material

Kevin at The European Scything Championships 2017

Brunnen, SwitzerlandThe highlight for August was a trip to participate in the European Scything championships in Brunnen Switzerland. It takes place every 2 years rotating around the European countries taking part and this was the first time British competitors have taken place.

Kevin attended with his friend Nigel Adams and feels they represented well, having to adjust style and technique to the big blades borrowed, and the low stance required for the set up.

Nigel achieved one of the highest ranking quality plots and Kevin won an overall prize for style and technique, although their times were well down compared to the Olympian scythe masters!The Swiss were so wonderfully hospitable and welcoming, so lots of practice for 2 years time in Austria who are the champions.

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Brunnen, Switzerland

Haymaking at Skyegrove

Adrian & Barry with bailerWe had a very busy July after returning from the competitions, having to catch up with our own haymaking! It was lovely to have Adrian & Barry visit for a peening workshop, and Barry also brought along his handbaler which he hopes shortly to put into commercial production.

He is currently ironing out a few minor details.

I thought it demonstrated excellent quality in producing a mini bale of medium weight!

If anyone would like further information on this exciting innovation, please contact me.

Eastern Counties Scything Competition

Kevin at WimpoleEastern Counties Scything Competition, Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire.

A wonderful setting in the National Trust Wimpole Estate, Simon Damant, head forester organises an annual rural craft fair and scything competitions for fun and the more serious.

New champion, Michael Gerrard with his English snath combined with Austrian blade won the 5m x 5m in roughly one 1 minute 30 seconds. Kevin won the 10m x 10m in 4 minutes 38 seconds and also won for the first time, the quarter of an acre in 1 hour 16 minutes.

Group Wimpole Scything Competition
Tim, Richard, and Phil

The unique aspect of this competition is that there is no shortage of grass and we are able to compete on the larger areas. A lot of the talk was about next year’s competition which will be the top scythers competing to finish one acre of grass each! Historically this was considered to be the amount a skilled scyther could do in one day — Watch this space!

Phil at Wimpole Scything Cometition

Black and white photo credits: Simon Damant

The Somerset Scythe Festival

The Somerset Scythe FestivalA well attended show of around 5000 this year with the usual array of wonderful stalls selling organic food, old tools, blacksmithing, woodworking demos, plenty of music and fun was had.

Scything conditions were near perfect with record times being achieved. Kevin came second this year to George who stormed his plot in 40 seconds! Congratulations to him.

Team Cornwall also achieved 2nd place, thanks to Tracy Harris, Tim Radja and John Fenn.


Video curtesy of Steve Tomlin.

Some images from the day . . .

Kevin at Muchelney











assembled scythes











Scythe talk-1











Scythe talk-2











scything stall

Kevin’s Scything Tips at Keveral

scything demo at KeveralA throng of interested people soon gathered around Kevin at Keveral Farm’s Open Day recently. They were all eager to glean some tips on scything, and Kevin was happy to pass on some of his knowledge.

There has been a huge renaissance in scything of late and a lot of people are keen to reconnect with the ancient art. If you would like to know more about scything, why not take a look at our Scything Courses and Meetings page?