Scythe festival: part two

Breakfast and lovely and sunny

Breakfast and it was lovely and sunny

The weather forecast for Sunday was good ( maybe a little rain in the afternoon). Sunday morning was lovely and sunny with blue sky- wow! Were we going to have a good day after Saturday’s rain? The fire was still going so everyone had breakfast in a glorious setting.


He was still making his snath!

Two man saw in use

Two-man saw in use

Mark Allery was still making a snath for his English scythe- would he get it finished before the competitions or was this just a demonstration? Meanwhile the ‘have a go’ sessions were in full swing- many liked the two-man cross-cut saw ( it makes the two people using it work as a team- one pulls then the other pulls, no pushing as then the saw buckles and you get into a mess). Rosie’s twine and string making stand was busy again- this proved to be a real winner.

Harriot and James talking shop

Harriet and James talking shop

Some of us, on the other hand, were taking it easy. James had inspected his retort (plenty of good charcoal inside) and he did another demonstration with a smaller one using pine cones. By the end of the day we opened it up and yes… there were the pine cones all intact but black… charcoalised!

Mick Thwaites demonstrating hurdle making

Mick Thwaites demonstrating hurdle making

Tilley and Harriots shop

Tilly and Harriet’s shop

Joe having a go

Joe having a go

Tilly and Harriet had brought their wares to Wimpole- plenty of boxes which were remarkably cheap. Tilly’s other half, Joe, was practicing on her lathe. (Shame he didn’t have a go with the scythe in the morning as, when he had a go in the late afternoon, he did extremely well… could have been well placed.)

The bodges

The bodgers

The Wimpole bodgers were out in force and David spent the day showing children how to chop kindling (this proved a good ‘have a go’ too). Then there was the steam distillation going on in the Norfolk camp. First they had steamed some ash so that it could be bent into the desired shape, then the copper still was brought out to get some essential oil from the Arizona cypress that John Warwick had been carving- used all the shavings and must have extracted about ten millilitres of fragrant oil.

Janye felting

Jayne felting


Simon carving letters in stone

Another camp were demonstrating felting with some of the Farm’s wool and Simon was carving letters in stone; he had a small stone carving ‘have a go’ which I tried… actually, it’s quite nice to do.

Ded sizing up the operation

Ded sizing up the operation

The team races

The team races

Oh dear Ded broke his snath

Oh dear- Ded broke his snath!

By late morning the rain had turned up… I thought it was meant to be nice, but it looked like it was set in for the day. (Just as well I had sheared two more sheep before it rained, the last one would have to wait until Monday.) It was now time for the team races- four teams in all: the usual East meets West and two ‘others’… it was neck and neck between East and West … that was until Ded snapped his scythe snath in half… oh dear, what was he going to do in the sprint racing? Needless to say the West won again this year.

The strimmer and scythe race

The strimmer and scythe race

The next race was between the two rangers from Wimpole: Dan the man and Paul. Dan has passed his strimmer course so was duly elected to strim, while Paul used the scythe. Both were of equal standing and the race was very close, but the petrol head Dan lost by a whisker, well done Paul 🙂

The 5 X 5 races

The 5 X 5 races

By now the rain had really started to pour down, but these mowers are a hardy lot- nothing was going to stop them from mowing and the public were out in force to watch. Everyone did extremely well but times were slower as the grass was heavy with rain water; also it was a very thick crop this year. In the end Ded lost his title to Phil Batten.

The 10 X 10 races

The 10 X 10 races

We judged the  5 X 5 plots and the marathon plots so that the prizes could be given out before the public left. After this the hardcore mowers went back out to do the 10 X 10 races in what can only be called a downpour… the grass was even heavier. The quality of the mowing was excellent and everyone did exceedingly well.

The end of a very wet day but fun was had by all

The end of a very wet day, but fun was had by all

That done we all lined up for a photo shoot in the downpour- for more photos of the event please have a look at the Wimpole gallery on the menu page.

Only a hand ful stayed for Sunday night

Only a handful stayed for Sunday night

About Sadeik

You may ask why "Sadeik" well it means friend in arabic. Worked in Jordan a lot doing tree surgery you see. I have worked in forestry since I left school with a two years in Telecom. Went back to forestry and tree surgery as it may not have paid as much but was far more interesting and dangerous. Spent a lot of years mountaineering, caving and canoeing too. At 29 I went to Bangor University to study Forestry and soil science then did an MSc in Water engineering all very interesting. By a quirk of fate in 1995 ended up helping sort out the woodland and park at Wimpole, funny thing was then I only intended to stay six months or so, but 18 years later I'm still here learning all the time. That's the best bit, if I wasn't able to learn something new every year I would not have stayed and as you get older you realise that the grass is not so green in the next field after all. In fact my patch is getting greener while much of the rest is getting browner.
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