‘his arms no longer seemed to swing the scythe, but the scythe itself his whole body, so conscious and full of life; and as if by magic, regularly and definitely without a thought being given to it, the work accomplished itself of its own accord. These were blessed moments.” - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
You too can experience the joy of mowing with a scythe. No more ear defenders, visor, strimmer fumes or noise; just the sound of the birds and the swish of your blade. Mowing is gentle, non-impact exercise.
Courses at Sprint Mill, Burneside near Kendal on the edge of the Lake District . An idyllic venue with meadows and orchard as part of a 22 acre smallholding. A fantastic area to spend a weekend, with accommodation to suit every budget:
- Learn to Mow with an Austrian Scythe 19 May (full), 28 June (full), 7 Sept - £60
- Scythe Improvers in conjunction with Brantwood House, see below
- Learn to Peen 8 Sept - £60
Courses at Brantwood House, Coniston, Cumbria. More info here.
- Scything for Tomorrow 1: Set up & mow 29-30 June – £130
- Scything for Tomorrow 2: Improvers 17 July – £65
- Scything for Tomorrow 3: Secrets of a sharp blade 18 July – £65
- Small-Scale Haymaking for Profit 20-21 July -£130
I teach scythe courses for beginners and improvers in Northern England, Scotland and further afield.
If you have an allotment, community orchard, gardening group or some friends who’d also like to learn to scythe you can book me to teach a course your own land (you also get your mowing done!). As well as being a great team-building exercise, I can tailor the course to your situation.
Feedback from students:
Sally : Thanks for a great day. I was out in the field this morning mowing until the heavens opened – much easier now I know what I’m supposed to be doing and have the scythe set up properly.
Mark: Just wanted to say ‘thanks’ to you Steve and Christiane for a great weekend. Two of us attended the weekend course and really saw an improvement in our technique and awareness of our scything.
LEARN TO MOW WITH AN AUSTRIAN SCYTHE
This day-long course introduces the scythe and is equally suited to those looking to refresh their skills.
My courses are different as the focus course is on practical skills. Once you’ve learned how to set up your scythe, we go straight out to the meadow to begin mowing. In this way you get the maximum amount of practise time and I am able to observe, give advice and adjust both your technique and the scythe for best results. We also cover keeping the blade sharp, peening the edge and care and maintenance of the scythe.
All equipment is provided for the day and the course is also an ideal opportunity to buy a scythe kit containing everything you will need. Buy during the course and you can take home the scythe you have set up for yourself and worked with during the day.
The Improver’s day will help you take your work with the scythe to the next level.
Working with your current experience and developing your mowing for your body, style and situation. During the day we will concentrate on the scythe setup and mowing technique, refining it for comfort and efficiency as well as looking at further techniques.
See the Scythe Improvers video from 2012.
LEARN TO PEEN
A day-long course taking a detailed look at peening and sharpening. This day will cover why and when to peen, use of the jig and anvil, and honing the edge with whetstones. Whether you’re peening for the first time or looking to improve your skills, this is the course for you. Essential skills for all mowers. Click here to read more about the course.
Max 8 students.
To book, please send me an email steve-tomlin[at]hotmail.co.uk and I will send you a booking form and further course details. Please note that for insurance reasons you must be over 18 to attend.
Private Tuition and demonstrations
I can also be booked for private tuition, events and demonstrations or group mowing courses around the UK. I have previously taught the use of the scythe for Natural England, National Trust wardens, the Highgrove estate team and for BBC TV’s Countryfile. Please get in touch with your query or proposal.
Tutor – Steve Tomlin
I first learned to mow while working in the Pyrenees in 2001 and have been involved the UK scythe scene since it began in 2005. As well as teaching and mowing in the UK I work with scythe and haymaking experts in Austria, Czech Republic, Romania and Germany. I write the scytherspace blog, run regular workshops in Cumbria, at the Somerset Scythe Festival and organise activities for the NW Scythe Group.
I am a founding member and Training Coordinator of the Scythe Association of Britain and Ireland . In 2010 I completed the Scythe Association’s scythe teachers’ course and now consult on the content of this course as well as teaching in the mowing and peening sections.
In addition to my role as a scythe tutor I am a professional green wood worker, making wooden spoons and bowls along with scythe handles (snaths), hayrakes and other tools for mowers. In 2011 I was commissioned to make Russian style scythes for the new filming of Anna Karenina directed by Joe Wright.