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The 12th West of England Scythe Fair

will take place on Sunday 12 June 2016

There will be a two day masterclass for people wishing to perfect their mowing and sharpening technique on Friday 10 and Saturday 11 June

For more information please go to the courses page or email scythes@myphone.coop

Scroll down for results of earlier competitions, plus some photos and posters.

 

RESULTS OF 2015 COMPETITION

5 metres x 5 metres

Overall Champion
First Simon Damant Time 1.20 Quality 8.0
Second Ded Kalaj 1.17, 6.5
Third equal George Montague; 1.18, 4.5
Third equal Andi Ricard, 1.48, 7.5

Ladies Champion
Andi Ricard 1.48, 7.5
Beth Tilston 7.32, 5.1
Olga Damant, 15.03, 9.0

Quality Cup
Olga Damant, 15.03, 9.0
Richard Brown, 2.56, 8.5
Chris Riley, 5.14, 8.5
Beth Tilston, 7.32, 8.5

English Scythe
Mark Allery, 2.13, 5.0
Terry Stamping 3.24, 5.0
John Fenn, 4.55, 6.5


Best Newcomer

(with Norwegian scythe)
Charlie Quinnell 6.34, 7.5

 

Team Mowing 8m x 8m
First: Somerset 3mins 13 sec Quality 6
Second: East of England 4.25 Q7
Monkton Rogues and Vagabonds 9.06 Q8
English scythe 10.02 Q5
Cornwall 12.35 Q7

 

Results of
The Tenth West of England Scythe Competition
14 June 2014

Overall Champion
Tied for first place
George Montague (Somerset) 1.31 minutes; 5 quality
Simon Damant (Cambs) 1.48; 6.5
Third: Mark Allery(Sussex) 2.1; 6.5

Women's Cup
First: Andi Ricard (Somerset) 3.01; 7
Second : Beth Tilston (Sussex) 3.59; 8
Third: Gemma Suggitt (Worcs) 4.02; 7.5

Quality Trophy
First: Olga Damant (Wales) (9 points)
Second: John Letts (Oxon)8.5
Third: Beth Tilston (Sussex): 8.0

Veteran Mower Award
John Fenn 4.18; 7(Somerset),
second: Mark Brittain 7.1;5

English Scythe Award
Mark Allery (Sussex) 2.1; 5.5

Best Newcomer
Damon Green 3.07; 6.5

Rising Star
Dan Brittain (Somerset) 2.32;5.5

Long Work and Service Medal
to Stuart Aylett, site manager for 9 out of the last 10 years

 


Results of
The Ninth West of England Scythe Competition
9 June 2013

Overall Champion George Montague (Somerset) 1.00 minute 5.5 quality
Second : Simon Damant (Cambs)1.35; 7.5
Third: Ded Kalaj (Albania) 1.25; 6.5

Women's Cup
First: Andi Ricard 2.22; 5.5(Somerset)
Second : Jo Green 3.29; 6.5(Brighton)
Third: Gemma Suggitt 4.52; 7.5(Worcs)

Quality Trophy
Simon Bowden (Wales) (8.5 points)

Young Mowers of the Year Award
Mike Hastings (Dorset) age 13
Felicity Ricard (Somerset) age 9_

Veteran Mower Award
Henry Best (Somerset),

English Scythe Award
Mark Allery (Sussex) 2.06; 5.0

Best Newcomer
Tom Edwards 2.53; 5.0

English made scythe blade
John Fenn 6.45; 4.5

Fast but Crap Award
Brendan Boal 1.58; 2.0

Long Work and Service Medal
to Louise Finnis our scorer for the last 7 years

Team Mowing
4 mowers mowing 8 metres by 8 metres
East of England 2'04"
West of England 2'55"
Senior Railcard Team 5'16"
Home Counties 5'34"
Rogues and Foreigners 5'47"

 


The Eighth West of England Scythe Competition
17 June 2012

5 metres x 5 metres

Times and scores awarded for quality of cut are listed below

Overall Champion (for the sixth year running): Simon Damant (Cambs)
Second : George Montague (Somerset)
Third: Ded Kalaj (Albania)

Women's Cup
First: Andi Ricard (Somerset)
Second : Beth Tilston (Brighton)
Third: Gemma Suggitt (Worcs)

Quality Trophy
Chris Riley (EWilts) (9 points)

Women's Quality
Olga Damant (Cambs) (9 points)

Young Mower of the Year Award
Mike Hastings (Dorset),

Veteran Mower Award
John Fenn (Somerset),

English Scythe Award
Mark Allery (Sussex)

Best Newcomer
Gary Moore (Sussex)

10 metres by 10 metres

First: Simon Damant (Cambs)
Second : George Montague (Somerset)
Third: Ded Kalaj (Albania)

Ladies 10x10:

Andi Rickard

Team Mowing
4 mowers mowing 8 metres by 8 metres
The East of England (3 minutes 41 seconds) beat the West of England (. Home Counties and the North of England were third and fourth.

Competitors' Scored for 5m x 5m

Figures indicate time in minutes and seconds followed by points awarded for quality, out of ten.
Asterisk * denotes English Scythe

Simon Damant 1.23 — 7.5
George Montague 1.35 — 8
Andy Coleman 2.13 — 7.5
Ded Kalaj 2.14 — 8.5
Gary Moore 3.06 — 5
Kevin Austin 3.15 — 7
*Mark Allery 3.34 — 7
George Twydale 3.49 — 6.5
Phil Batten 4.29 — 6
John Letts 4.34 — 8
Steve Tomlin 4.35 — 8
*Mike Ingram 4.39 — 7
Andi Rickard 5.12 — 6
Nigel Hughes 5.17 — 2
Richard Brown 5.23 — 7.5
Darren Topps 5.26 — 3
Paul Kingsnorth 5.27 — 8
Gemma Suggitt 5.42— 5.5
Adam Shadlock 5.51 — 4.5
Beth Tilston 6.17 — 7.5
Claire White 6.24 — 2
John Fenn 6.24 — 7
Michael Hastings 7.01 — 9 (aged 12, 2.5m)
Mark Brittain 7.47 — 6
Chris Riley 7.53 — 9
Olga Damant 11.57 — 9

Scroll down for photos and the results of earlier competitions.

 


Phil Batten scoring 10 out of 10 for quality on lodged grass at the 2011 West Country Scythe Fair.
For more results see below.

Results of
The Seventh West of England Scythe Competition 12 June 2011

5 metres x 5 metres

Times and scores awarded for quality of cut are listed below

Overall Champion (for the fifth year running): Simon Damant (Cambs)

Second : Andy Coleman (Somerset)
Third: George Montague (Somerset)

Women's Cup
First: Andi Ricard (Somerset)
Second equal: Mary Durling (Somerset)
and Gemma Suggitt (Worcs)
and Linda Perry: (Somerset)

Quality Trophy
Phil Batten (10 points!)

Women's Quality
Andi Rickard (9.5 points)

Veteran Mower Award
First : Henry Best (Somerset),
Second: Olga Damant
Third: Martin Kibblewhite (English scythe)

English Scythe Award
Mike Ingram (Devon)
Second: John Fenn (Cornwall)
Third: Martin Kibblewhite (Herefordshire)

Best Newcomer
Andy Marczewski (Norfolk)

Fast but Crap Award
George Montague (Somerset)

Team Mowing
4 mowers mowing 8 metres by 8 metres
The East of England beat the West of England by 0.2 seconds. Home Counties and the North of England were third and fourth.

Competitors' Scores

Figures indicate time in minutes and seconds followed by points awarded for quality, out of ten.
Asterisk * denotes English Scythe

Simon Damant 1.37•7
Andy Coleman 1.54 •8
George Montague 1.54•4
Dennis Shannon 2.02•7
Mark Allery 2.39 •6.5
Andy Marczewski 3.19•7.5
John Letts 3.27 •8.5
*John Fenn 3.27 •3.5
Phil Batten 4.09 •10
Kevin Austin 4.39•7
Mary Durling 5.05•4
Richard Brown 5.07 •7
Viv Goodings 5.07 •4
Andi Rickard 5.20 •9.5
Beth Tilston 5.27•3.5
*Mike Ingram 5.30•9
Nigel Adam 6.06•4
Paul Kingsnorth 6.13*6
Simon Bowden 6.39•9
Linda Perry 6.40•7
Jim McVittie 6.54•3
Gemma Suggitt 8.27•8
Henry Best 8.37•5
Steve Lucas 9.34•7
Chris Riley 9.43•6
Catherine Hayburn 9.21•3.5
Mark Brittan 10.10•5
Olga Damant 13.20•8
*Martin Kibblewhite 14.06•5

Congratulations to everyone for performing on difficult grass, in the rain.

Andi Rickard, the Slim Reaper, women's champion 2010 and 2011.

 

 

The Sixth West Country Scythe Festival

13 June 2010

 

Mike Ingram (using an English scythe) and Gemma Suggitt competing in the 6th West Country Championships. For more photos see http://www.flickr.com/photos/steve-tomlin/sets/72157624307529724/


Results of the competition: 5 metres x 5 metres

Times and scores awarded for quality of cut are listed below

Overall Champion (for the fourth year running): Simon Damant (Cambs)
Second place: Andy Coleman (Somerset)
Third: Dennis Shannon (Co Wexford)
Fourth: Will Foss
Fifth: John Letts (Oxon)
Sixth: Phil Batten (Pembs)

Women's Cup
First: Andi Ricard(Somerset)
Second: Mary Durling(Somerset)
Third: Gemma Suggitt (Worcs)

Quality Trophy
John Letts (Oxon)

Veteran Mower Award
First : Henry Best (Somerset), Second: Olga Damant

English Scythe Award
Mike Ingram (Devon), John Fenn

Best Newcomer
Will Foss

Townie's Award
Damon Green from London

Fast but Crap Award
Mark Allery

Team Mowing
4 mowers mowing 10 metres by 8 metres
Results to come

Scythe versus Brushcutter Trials
In which Strimmus Maximus (alias Phil Bartlett) using a Stihl brushcutter competed with a scythe over four different types of vegetation:
Round 1. Against Mary Durling, mowing beneath a live electric fence wire six inches high. The scythe won because of damage caused by the bruch-cutter.
Round 2. Against Chris Riley on a weedy bank. The brushcutter won on time, quality was similar. Chris' snath was made out of an old brushcutter, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1ZDTr-SXZ8
Round 3. Sprint. Against Simon Damant on meadow grass, 2.5 metres x 8 metres. The scythe won on time, quality was similar.
Round 4. Obstacle course. Against Simon Fairlie, on 3 metres x 3 metres of grass strewn with obstacles and hazards. Declared a draw. The brushcutter was quicker but did more damage.

Final result. The scythe beat the brushcutter by 2 rounds to 1, with one round drawn. You can watch the whole event on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nx_PDiEjW_E

Finalists' Scores

Here are the performances of the finalists. Figures indicate time in minutes and seconds followed by points awarded for quality, out of ten.

Simon Damant 1.15•9
Mark Allery 1.23•4
George Montague: Blade broke. Second unofficial attempt 1.36•6
Dennis Shannon 2.02•7
Andy Coleman 2.03•7.5
Will Foss 2.05•7
John Fenn 2.22•3
John Letts 2.28•9.5
Richard Brown 2.28•7.5
Damon Green 2.29•5
Andi Ricard 2.32•6
Phil Batten 2.34•9
Chris Riley 2.35•5
Nigel Hughes 2.41•1
Chris Hayes 2.54•6.5
Paul Shannon 2.58•6.5
Olly Goulden 3.05•4.5
Mary Durling 3.17•4.5
Viv Goodings 3.22•3.5
Bea Duxbury 4.37•2
Gemma Suggitt 4.49•7.5
Henry Best 4.54•4
Linda Perry 5.17•3.5
Catherine Hayburn 5.33•5
Mike Ingram 6.38•8
Gill Hardstone 7.13•6
Olga Damant 7.61•5.5

2010 Eastern Counties Competition

Richard Brown, winner of the Eastern Counties competition in 2009 and 2010. For more photos see

http://www.flickr.com/photos/22312769@N07/sets/72157621301833049/

AUSTRIAN SCYTHE 5 by 5
Richard Brown 1.26 9 — Champion's shield
Andy M 1.09 7 — Fast & crap cup 1.39
Mark Rickets 1.56 9.5 — Quality cup 1.49
John Reid 1.52 7 — Novice/Veteran 2.12
Matthew Bozworth 1.58 7 2.18
Chris Riley 2.02 7 2.22
Jim McViti 2.00 6.5 2.27
Gemma Suggitt 2.32 7.5 — Ladies cup 2.54
Giueppe 1.55 5 2.55
Mick Velasco 2.37 7.5 2.59
David Mason 2.53 8 3.03
Joe Moore 2.04 5 3.04
Ivor Davey 2.20 6 3.05
Karen 2.47 6 3.32
Catherine Hayburn 3.27 6 4.12
Olga Damant 4.29 7 — Ladies Veteran 4.59
Jimmy Atham 4.43 6 5.28

ENGLISH SCYTHE using Richard Brown's two English scythes 5 by 5
Simon Damant 1.54 7
Richard Brown 2.04 7
Jim McViti 2.13 6.5
Mark Rickets 2.24 6
Chris Riley 2.33 6
Joe Moore 2.38 6
David Mason 2.44 6
Matthew Bozworth 3.58 6

PEENING
Richard Brown

TEAM RACE 10 by 8
East of England 1
Trust Us 2
Odd's & Sod's 3
The Ladies team 4

STRIMMER VS SCYTHE 15m by 2.5
Scythe 1.14
Strimmer DNF

RESULTS OF 2009 COMPETITIONS IN THE UK

For photos and videos of the 2009 festival see

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUe8AhYnhYE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvCeOgc2EAs&NR=1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AR2C1gFoYWw

For information about music, stalls, kids events and all other aspects of the Green Fair see http://www.greenfair.org.uk/

The Fifth West Country Scythe Competition

Above: reigning champion Simon Damant

This year , for the first time we held heats, in which people had to see how far they could mow in a minute.
57 people participated of whom 24 made it into the finals, where they mowed a patch 5 metres by 5 metres.
The reigning champion, Simon Damant, surpassed himself by mowing 25 sq metres in 1minute 10 seconds, twice as fast as the next fastest mower.
If he kept up this rate he could do an acre in three hours.
The world record for one day's mowing by one man is (allegedly) five acres in a day.

Here are the results of the finals. Note the clear superiority of Somerset women.

Overall Champion (for the third year running): Simon Damant (Cambs)
Second place: George Montague
Third equal: Phil Batten (Wales) and Joe Leighton (Somerset)

Women's Cup
First: Mary Durling (Somerset)
Second: Linda Perry (Somerset)
Third: Corina Shicht (Somerset)

Quality Trophy
Simon Bowden (Wales)

Veteran Mower
Henry Best (Somerset), Henry Leeds and Martin Kibblewhite (Herefordshire, using an English scythe)

Young Mower
Joe Leighton (Somerset) aged 16, who came third equal overall.

Commendations
Chris Riley (Wilts), John Fulford (Devon), Mark Allery

Team Mowing: 4 mowers mowing 10 metres by 8 metres
The East of England (6.48 minutes) beat the West of England (7.08)

Scythe v Strimmer
Strimmus Maximus (alias Phil Bartlett) with a Stihl brushcutter was outclassed by Simon Damant,

Here are the performances of the finalists. Figures are time in seconds and points awarded for quality, out of ten.

Simon Damant: 1.10; 9
Mark Allery: 2.20; 4
Chris Riley: 2.28; 5
Deano Martin; 2.39; 2.5
George Montague: 3.17; 8.5
Paul Kingsnorth: 3.18; 4
Mary Durling: 3.23; 6
Phil Batten: 3.28; 7
John Fulford: 3.38; 6
Joe Leighton: 3.52; 8
Rob Blodie: 4.05
John Letts: 4.10; 4
Alastair Inglis 4.22;
Tim Macmillan: 4.55; 6
Henry Best: 4.58; 4
Linda Perry 4.59; 8
David Cooper 4:59; 4
Corina Schicht 5.05; 4
Simon Bowden: 5.08; 9.5
Peter Wright: 5.53; 4
Henry Leeds: 5.55; 5
Martin Kibblewhite 7.26; 6
Rebecca Laughton: 8.10; 5


Many thanks to everyone who participated;
to those who helped put on the event, to Christiane Lechner, who came over from Austria to provide instruction;
and to Ann and Richard England for hosting the event, and providing the grass.

2009 Eastern Counties Competition

Team mowing at the 2009 Eastern Counties festival and competition, at Wimpole, Cambs, 28 June.

Richard Brown won the competition with a time of 3.00 minutes (quality of 8)
Second: Chris Riley 2.57 ( 7)
Third: Mark Ricketts 4.03 (5)

Veterans award: Jimmy Altham 6.16 minutes (7)

Lady's award: Catherine Hayburn 6.32 (6)

Best Novice: Joe Moore; 5.56 (7)

Longest Horn: Simon Damant

You can find more photos here

http://www.flickr.com/photos/22312769@N07/sets/72157621301833049/

2009 Gairloch Gathering

So far all we know is that Ross Hood was the winner.

 

RESULTS OF 2008 COMPETITIONS IN THE UK

The Fourth West Country Scythe Competition June 14-15

Many people we talked to thought the fourth festival and competition, held at Thorney Lakes on 15 June was the best yet. The grass was good, the weather held, attendance was up, and some people's performances were much improved. Watch out European scythesmen, we're catching up!

Here are the results.

Overall Champion (for the second year running): Simon Damant (Cambs)
Second place (very close): Phil Batten (S Wales)
Third: Ray Lister (Notts)
Fourth: Mike Ingram (Devon)

Women's Cup
First: Mary Durling (Somerset)
Second: Rebecca Laughton (Somerset)
Third: Itziar Amarato (Somerset and Basque Country)

Quality Trophy
Phil Batten

Commendations
Paul Kingsnorth, Deano Martin, Peter Wright,

Veteran Mower
Henry Best

Here are the performances of the 12 who mowed their 5m by 5m patch in less than 5 minutes. Figures are time in seconds and points awarded for quality, out of ten.

Simon Damant: 1.45; 8
Phil Batten: 2.08; 9.5
Ray Lister: 2.42; 8.5
Deano Martin: 3.28; 5
Steve Lucas; 3.6; 4.5
Chris Swinburn: 3.45; 2.5
Sten Grendon: 4.10; 3
Tony Harcourt: 4.18; 3
Mary Durling: 4.21; 7
Itziar Amarato: 4.42; 6.5
Paul Kingsnorth: 4.45; 7.5
Mick Edwards: 4.52; 5.5

And here are the other mowers whose quality was rated 6 or above.
Mike Ingram 5.22; 9
Peter Wright: 5.25; 8
Rebecca Laughton; 8.06; 7.5
Alastair Ingles: 7.38; 7
Marian Reed; 14.5; 6.5


Many thanks to everyone who participated; to those who helped put on the event, to Gerhard Wagner, and his son Wolfgang, who came over from Austria to provide instruction; and to Ann and Richard England for hosting the event, and providing the grass.

Below: Simon Damant mowing with a 110 cm Schroeckenfux Austrian style blade.

 




2008 Eastern Counties Competition

This was held at Wimpole, near Cambridge on 21June
5 metres by 5 metres The results were as follows:

Richard Baker 2.55 minutes / 6 points for quality — Fastest time award
Simon Fairlie 3.05 / 8 — Overall champion
James Fisher 3.07 /7 — Best novice medal
Deano Martin 3.36 / 7
Mark Rickets 4.48 / 6.5
Mick Velasco 4.49/ 6
David Mason 5.02 / 6
Malcolm Lee 7.34 /8.5 — Won the English scythe, best cut and veteran awards as he was 75 years old
Jennifer Deega 7.34 /6.5 — Won the ladies medal.

Note that points for quality are not based on the same scale in this competition as in the West Country competition.

 

2008 Gairloch Gathering

A competition (the first for many years in Scotland) was held at the Gairloch Gathering, in Wester Ross on 28 June. The plots were 2metres by 3,5 metres. The top five competitors were:


Donald MacIntosh (Red Point, Gairloch) 50 seconds; cut quality 6
Trevor Nash (Melvaig) 57 seconds; cut quality 7
Alastair Macrae (Gairloch) 1min 8 sec; cut quality 8
Alastair Renton (Strath, Gairloch) 1min 9 sec; cut quality 5
Amdomi Katalima (Basque, Spain) 1min 15 sec; cut quality 4

Two competitors used traditional Scottish scythes.

 

RESULTS OF PREVIOUS COMPETITIONS IN THE UK

 

The Third West Country
Scythe Festival & Competition

was held at Muchelney on 17 June 2007. Over 1000 people attended, the weather held, and even cynics enjoyed it. Here is a picture of Phil Batten from S Wales with his home-made Eastern European style snath. Behind him Henry Best of Somerset, winner of the over 70s class. Behind him, Samson.

RESULTS OF COMPETITION

( This year the grass was very thick and leaning so times were slower than in previous years)

5 metres by 5 metres

Overall winner: Simon Damant from Cambs (5 minutes 59 seconds).

Runner up: Ray Lister (2006 champion) from Notts (6.18 )

Fastest time: Steve Friend (2005 champion) from Somerset (5.53)

Quality of cut award: Mike Ingram, Devon ( 7.45 )

Runner up for quality: Simon Bowden, Wales (12.31)

Women's cup: Rebecca Laughton, from Dorset (12.27)

Youngsters' award Jonathan Koetsier (Wilts??), age 12, (12.58)

Oldster's award, over 70, Henry Best from Somerset, (7.32)

2 metres x 5 metres

Men's: Sten Grendon from Glos (2.56)

Women's: Gil Hardstone, from Scotland (12.31)

For more about the Green Fair side of the occasion see http://www.greenfair.org.uk/

 

The First Lancashire
Scythe Festival & Competition

was held at the
RE-TURN Community Environmental Reserve
Turn Village, Nr Edenfield, Rossendale

on Saturday 21st July and Sunday 22nd July 2007

Joint winners, Simon Damant and Nick Lowe.

For more information contact:
The LITTORAL Trust, 42 Lodge Mill Lane, Turn Village, Lancashire BL0 0RW
Tel 01706 827961 M. 07796 607 167 E. littoral@btopenworld.com <www.littoral.org.uk>

REPORT OF

The Second West Country
Scythe Festival

Sunday 30 July 2006

About 500 people came to the Trading Post, Lopen Head, Somerset to watch contestants from all over Britain compete for the title of
West Country Scythe Champion
(which effectively means UK champion, as nowhere else is holding competitions).

SCYTHE VERSUS BRUSHCUTTER

In the morning we held a competition between a scythe and a professional petrol-powered brushcutter, with a metal disc.

Four areas were tackled in turn, by different workmen, and the results were as follows:

Area 1: Long grass: the scythe won.
Area 2: Brambles: a draw.
Area 3: Nettles and thistles: the brushcutter won.
Area 4: bracken: a draw.

The competition was declared a draw.
Users of both the scythe and the brushcutter were equally knackered at the end of each bout.

Raymond Lister Hal Wynne Jones
Raymond Lister Hal Wynne Jones

MOWING COMPETITION

There were 22 contestants.
Each contestant mowed a square 5 metres by 5 metres, in heats of three contestants at a time.
Because it was July, in a very dry year, the grass was poor, dry and difficult to cut;
but none of the contestants complained and all performed bravely and effectively.

The result, after these heats, was inconclusive so a final, was held,
again on squares of 5x5m, between the five best performers who were:

Simon Bowden from Wales.
Davin Bull from Dorset.
Mike Ingram from Devon.
Raymond Lister from Notts.
Hal Wynne-Jones from Glos.

In the final, two competitors outshone: Hal mowed his square in an energetic 1 minute 40 seconds, but his cut was tufty.
Raymond took 3 minutes 25 seconds, with a finish like a serge suit.

The judges remained undecided, and asked the spectators whether greater weight should be given to speed, or to quality.
Those who cried "Speed" cried loudest, but the voices in support of "Quality" were more numerous.
The spouses of the two protagonists then began lobbying the judges,
arguing, on the one hand, that had speedmerchant Hal gone back and tidied up his patch he would still have been ahead
— and in support of cleanhead Ray, that no self-respecting scythesman mows a meadow by going over it twice.

Happily, the judges had acted with forethought and come equipped with two awards.

The Championship cup was awarded to Raymond Lister.
Hal Wynne Jones was given a special award of an engraved competition-length scythe blade.
The three other finalists were awarded medals,

The entry level for the women's championship was disappointing this year, with only two entrants
(last year's winner Jenn Carter, couldn't come, and last year's runner up, Mary Durling, was a judge this year).
The women's award this year went to Emma from Glos, with Rosie Bond from Wilts runner up.

The award for the best performance with an English scythe went to Ray Meeks from East Anglia.

A big hand please for all participants.

 

 

A REPORT ON

The First West Country Scythe Festival

and Mowing Competition, 2005

 

Mary Durling, 7 months pregnant and, in the background, Jenn Carter battling it out for the women's title.

 

500 people came to the first West Country Scythe Festival, which took place at Fivepenny Farm, near Charmouth, Dorset on the weekend of 28-30 May.

On the Saturday 28 May Peter Vido, co-author of The Scythe Book, gave a beginners' course in mowing and scythe maintenance attended by 22 people.

The 29th was an open day, with a mowing competition, scythe versus strimmer race (the scythe won), and an exhibition covering the history of English and continental scythe use. Michael York mowed grass with his team of Suffolk Punches, and Dave Wood captivated kids with his hand powered hay baler. The Langport Mummers enacted a play about King Alfred, and there was music from Stomp and Oz, the Nameless Bretons, and Kangaroo Moon.

On the 30 May Peter Vido gave advanced tuition in freehand peening, snath making etc.

 

RESULTS OF THE COMPETITION, 29 May

Scything competitions were common in the UK until after the war, but the last one we have any evidence of was held in 1955.

16 valiant scythesmen and women entered our championship. They had to mow a five metre by five metre square, and were assessed on the time taken and quality of cut.

The supreme UK champion was Steve Friend of Somerset, who completed his plot in 2 minutes and 13 seconds.(Austrian scythe).

The women's champion was Jenn Carter from Wales, who took 11.03 minutes, not the quickest time, but she scored on quality of cut.(Austrian scythe).

Overall award for quality of cut went to Paul Griffith, from Gloucestershire, who completed in 7.15 minutes, with an English scythe.

Also commended were:

Mary Durling, from Somerset, seven months pregnant, who completed her plot in 8.21 minutes (Austrian scythe).

Eric Wride,from Somerset, who despite a recent kidney transplant, scythed steadily for 49.42 minutes, with only short interruptions for cider and philosophical reflections (English scythe).

Martin Kibblewhite, from Herefordshire, at 78 the oldest contestant (11.21 minutes, English scythe).

Davin Bull, from Wiltshire, who completed his plot with a cigarette in his mouth.(4.30 minutes, Austrian scythe).

 

On 28 May, Lukas Janoska, visiting Dorset from Slovakia, completed a plot in 1.27 minutes.The world record for 5 metres by 5 metres is apparently 59 seconds.

Above, Peter Vido demonstrating sharpening at the Scythe Festival.

You can see some more photos and a report of the Scythe Festival on the BBC Dorset website, click here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dorset/content/image_galleries/scythe_festival_gallery.shtml

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dorset/content/articles/2005/04/28/scythe_feature.shtml

 

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