The Wimpole scythe festival blog and results

Oh and the rain came

Oh, and the rain came

Friday night and people were turning up… unfortunately for us it started to rain and carried on for a while. I suppose we needed some water, things have been getting a bit dry here in East Anglia and our newly planted trees have been suffering. In fact there has been about a 40% drop in June’s rainfall. One advantage of the rain was that it would help us mow much more easily in the morning.

Early start

Early start

Mark on his quarter acre

Mark on his quarter acre

What a treat- woke up at 5am to mow a meadow and the sky was blue, not a single cloud in sight. Jim was already up mowing his eighth of an acre and now I started on my quarter acre. These are the marathon races – tests of stamina, strength and your ability to keep a scythe sharp and in tip top condition. For me this is the real race, an endurance race that’s best done first thing in the morning when the dew is high and the grass falls with ease.

All hard at work

All hard at work

After an hour or so many others had taken to the field and it was good to see Mark out with his English scythe. The marathon races can be done anytime during the weekend and those turning up later opted to mow on Sunday morning (Simon Fairlie, Terry, Matt, Chris and Kevin did theirs then on the Sunday).

This was Terry’s first time at Wimpole and just as well he came because he was able to give Mark a good run for his money as he was the only other person to do the marathons with an English scythe.

DSC00187

Chris Dobson- thatcher extraordinaire

The eighth of an acre mow was won by Simon Fairlie, Terry came second with the English scythe and Jim came third. In the quarter acre it was a very, very close call between Kevin and me, the favour was with me- just pipped Kevin by three minutes but both of us had the same quality. (Darn, I have lost Matt’s and Chris’s times, help!)

Jayne peg weaving

Jayne peg weaving

Wympole Bodgers at work

Wympole Bodgers at work

As usual the Wympole Green Woodworkers were busying themselves with various projects and Jayne was peg weaving with some fleeces she had just cleaned. Might give this a go and make a blanket for the winter with the fleeces I have just sheared from my sheep.

Sharpening the eave knife

Sharpening the eave knife

Chris Dodson was finishing off the thatch that we had commissioned partly made of wheat straw and partly reed; this is going to be a roof that demonstrates the local thatching methods at the building conservation weekend the last weekend in August. Chris was also very intrigued by our Lister engine and grinding wheel. It caused a stir every time we used it as the English scythes have to be ground and not peened. Now I never knew that olden day thatchers used eave knives to cut the wheat on the gable ends of houses and barns. Blow me – these looked like straight English scythes, in fact they were even made by Nash and co.

Our engine and wheel worked a treat- everything got a sharpen even the axes. There were other activities  on show but mainly this was a mowing weekend.

This year we have added another fossil vs muscle race… took a gamble that I could beat a chainsaw making six oak stakes six foot long from one single oak trunk- blimey! From the beginning it was desperate work, the timber was very dry and would not cleave well.

However, in his haste, Tom grounded the 85cc Husky and made his work hard too… it was all to play for and a damned hot day to boot. ANYBODY GOT ANY OTHER IDEAS FOR FOSSIL VS MUSCLE CONTESTS?

The big mow

The big mow

The big mow! Well, for some time us mowers have wanted to mow in a gang (a very big gang) so on Saturday evening twenty six souls took up the challenge. Took a bit of time to get things going but, when they did, vast swathes of grass fell.

And they are off

…and they’re off!

Wow about an acre mown in twenty minutes

Wow! About an acre mown in twenty minutes

Wasn’t long until the gang had mown nigh on an acre. All in all everyone enjoyed the mowing even though the camera team kept stopping them when the sun went behind the clouds.

View from the folly

View from the Folly

Saturday night and bright moon

Saturday night and a bright moon

Once again we had a (nearly) full moon and, for those who were camping up at the Folly, the night was delightful- clear, crisp and cast with the light of the waxing moon.

The team races

The team races

Morning came and the clear skies had vanished, now we had dull, grey clouds drifting by and the prospect of thunder storms.

The three way race

The three way race

By 11 a.m. the rain did come. The first competition was going to be the 5x5s but, with the promise of better weather within two or three hours, we elected to do the team races first- all four teams went at the same time. (I forgot to write the times down and can’t remember who won, help!)

Next race was the ‘three way race’ Tom with the brushcutter, Jim with the finger bar mower and me with the scythe. This was going to be tight- could I win both fossil vs muscle competitions? Nope, Jim beat me by a whisker (and I mean a whisker) and if you havn’t seen the video, watch Jim doing a jig as he crosses the line first.

Jim with his Scots scythe on the 5x5s

Jim with his Scotch scythe on the 5x5s

After lunch it was time to do the 5x5s. We have changed the timing as more and more people participate and we needed to get the prize giving done before people go home. Of note, Jim used his Scotch scythe and won by default as nobody else had entered one (so, those who want a medal -get a Scotch scythe!) Once again Mark and Terry went head-to-head with the English scythe (poor Terry was pipped at the post). Beth won the Ladies cup with Jenny coming second and Claire White third. John Reid won the veterans cup and first timer Phil Wakefield (who finished his 5×5 in a stunning 1.34 but with a quality of, dare I say it, 4) won the fast but c–p cup – well done Phil, the names on this cup usually go on to win a different cup in due course so you are in good company.

Getting ready for the 10x10's

Getting ready for the 10x10s

By 4 p.m. the sky was clearing and it was time for the 10x10s. Altogether there were nine plots to share out and, in a last minute discussion, the ladies had asked if they could do the plots in pairs. Now that was a novel idea and three ladies teams came forward to compete. We also started all nine plots at the same time which made it far more exciting but a little harder to time. However… it worked brilliantly! Kevin Austin finished first, Simon Fairlie came second and Mark came third with his English scythe. Katy and Jayne finished less than a minute after Kevin so won the ladies pairs.

The Ladies teams in action

The ladies teams in action

Kevin Austin won the 5x5's

Kevin Austin won the 5x5s

Prize giving time!

One happy lady

One happy lady

Joe was not so good at coracle racing!

Joe was not so good at coracle racing!

Well, the day was over… but not quite- we had two coracles and the racing had not finished; those competitors who were still left and up for it took the two small crafts to the lower lake. Mission: to paddle out to the nearest lily flower, pluck it from the water and race back. Not so easy as it turned out- those yellow lilies did not want to be parted from their friends. Joe (who incidentally raced his brother Ben in the 5x5s and did exceptionally well and could be a winner next year) won’t be winning any coracle racing titles for the poor soul was lost at sea! Dunked after only a few metres of paddling. Who won? Not sure, but it was a hoot.

Sunday night chilling out

Sunday night chilling out

Results are below with a few omissions as my paperwork was…well, errr… let’s just say if you have any corrections or more info please email me.

The Quarter acre results

Simon Fairlie

1.07

7

European scythe Ist
Terry

1.07

5

English scythe 2nd
Jim McVittie

1.46

6.5

European scythe 3rd
Richard Brown

2.08

7

European scythe
Andrew Cook

2.10

7

European scythe
Arthur Richards

2.21

7

European scythe
Mark Ricketts European scythe
 The eighth of an acre results
Simon Damant

1.32

8.5

European scythe 1st
Kevin Austin

1.35

8.5

European scythe 2nd
Mark Allery

3.04

7.5

English scythe 3rd, 1st English
Matt

6

European scythe
Chris Riley

7

European scythe
Jim McVittie

7.20

7

European scythe Jim did two 1/8s with breakfast
 Ten by ten results men
Kevin Austin

5.27

7

European scythe 1st
Mark Allery

7.01

5

English scythe 2nd, Ist English
Terry Standon

8.30

5

English scythe 3rd, 2nd English
Richard Brown

9.15

6.5

European scythe
Simon Fairlie

9.02

6

European scythe
Jim McVittie

11.35

6

Alsorts of scythes
Arthur Richards

14.21

5

European scythe
Phil Wakefield

11.09

2

European scythe
Alistair Hobbs

18.57

6

European scythe
 Ten by ten ladies pairs results
Jayne 0’Rielly & Katy Marczewski

6.43

3

European scythe 1st
Kate & Jenny

8.40

3

European scythe 2nd
Olga Damant & Gill

10.44

5

European scythe 3rd
 Five by five results
Kevin Austin

1.07

6

European scythe 1st The East of England shield
Mark Allery

1.30

6.5

English scythe 2nd, 1st English
Phil Wakefield

1.34

4

European scythe Fast but Crap cup
Terry Standon

1.57

6.5

English scythe 2nd English
Matt

2.02

7

European scythe 3rd Best newcomer
Richard Brown

2.06

7

European scythe
Joe

2.11

5.5

European scythe
Andy Marczweski

2.14

5.5

European scythe
Alistair Hobbs

2.16

5

European scythe
Jenny

2.18

4

European scythe 2nd Ladies
Andy Leach

2.26

6

European scythe
Simon Fairlie

2.31

6

European scythe
Paul Martin

2.50

6.5

European scythe  The Wimpole cup
Andrew Cook

3.00

6.5

European scythe
Mick Velasco

3.05

5

European scythe
Shane O’Reilly

3.07

5

European scythe
Beth Tilston

3.16

9

European scythe 1st Ladies The Ladies cup and quality cup
John Flahety

3.18

5

European scythe
Arthur Richards

3.21

5.5

European scythe
Claire White

3.31

6.5

European scythe 3rd Ladies
John Reid

3.40

5

European scythe  Veteran cup again!!!!!!!!!
Katy Marczweski

3.50

5

European scythe
Jim McVitte

4.05

7

Scotch scythe 1st Scotch scythe
Mark Ricketts

4.09

7

European scythe
Ben

4.21

4

European scythe
Chris Lang

4.47

7.5

European scythe
Jayne O’Reilly

5.10

4

European scythe
Olga Damant

15.02

9

European scythe
Ded DNF European scythe
Nigel Brady DNF
East of England
West Country
English scythe

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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