We Tried Our Hand At Scything At The Scottish Scything Festival!

We Tried Our Hand At Scything At The Scottish Scything Festival!

We Tried Our Hand At Scything At The Scottish Scything Festival!
We don't know why scything caught our eye as a new skill to try, but it did and so, we tried it. We took a trip along to The Scottish Scything Festival 2023 at Blackhaugh Community Farm on the weekend of 24th June and frankly, we had a brilliant day!

Scything Is A better Option For The Environment

In today's world of automation and convenience, we have become increasingly reliant on machines to simplify our lives. One area where this is particularly evident is in lawn & meadow maintenance. Lawn mowers have become ubiquitous, with many people using them to keep their lawns looking neat and tidy. However, while lawn mowers are certainly convenient, they are not necessarily the best option for us or for the environment.

Scything, a traditional method of grass cutting, has many benefits over using a lawn mower. As a beekeeper I can tell you the bees don't like lawnmowers near their hives, so we decided to delve deeper into the potential of scything and the claims it better for us, and the bees, by learning more at the Scottish Scything Festival, which, this year, was held at BlackHaugh Farm in Perthshire.

 

We tried our hand at scything
 

What Are The Benefits of Scything?

Firstly, scything is a great workout. As we have become more reliant on machines, we have also become more sedentary. This has led to a host of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Scything, on the other hand, is a great form of exercise that engages multiple muscle groups. It works your upper body, lower body, and core muscles, helping you to build strength and endurance. The rhythmic motion of swinging the scythe can also have a meditative effect, helping you to relax and clear your mind. In a world where stress and anxiety are on the rise, scything can be a great way to unwind and improve your mental health.

Scything Has Less Environmental Impact

Secondly, scything is better for the environment. Lawn mowers use fossil fuels to run, which contributes to air pollution and climate change. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), lawn mowers emit as much pollution per hour as 11 cars. This pollution can have a significant impact on our health and the environment. Scything, on the other hand, is completely sustainable and environmentally friendly. It does not require any fuel or electricity to operate, making it a zero-emission alternative to lawn mowers. By using a scythe instead of a lawn mower, you can help to reduce your carbon footprint and protect the environment.

Scything Helps to Promote Biodiversity

Thirdly, scything promotes biodiversity. Many people believe that a manicured lawn is a healthy lawn. However, this is not necessarily the case. Using a lawn mower can be detrimental to the ecosystem of your lawn. It can disrupt the natural habitat of insects and small animals, and even kill them. The constant trimming and mowing of the grass can also prevent the growth of wildflowers and other plants, which are an essential part of a healthy ecosystem. Scything, on the other hand, allows for a more gradual and natural process of grass cutting, which encourages biodiversity and the growth of wildflowers. By scything your lawn instead of mowing it, you can help to create a healthy and diverse ecosystem that is beneficial for both humans and wildlife.

Scything Is Almost Silent

Fourthly, scything is quieter. Lawn mowers are notorious for being loud and disruptive, especially in residential areas. The noise pollution they create can be a significant source of annoyance and stress for people who live nearby. Scything, on the other hand, is much quieter, allowing for a more peaceful and enjoyable experience of grass cutting. It is also less likely to disturb your neighbors, which can help to promote good relationships within your community.

Economic Benefits of Scything

And of course, scything is cheaper. While lawn mowers can be expensive to purchase and maintain, scything equipment is relatively inexpensive and requires very little maintenance. A scythe typically costs less than £100 and lasts forever if well maintained, whereas a lawn mower costs considerably more and generally wears out fast. Additionally, lawn mowers require regular maintenance, such as oil changes and blade sharpening, which can add up over time. Scything, on the other hand, requires only minimal maintenance, such as occasional blade sharpening and oiling. This makes it a much more cost-effective option for those who are on a budget.

How Did We Get On With Scything?

We were surprised how fast it was to cut quite a chunk of long grass! It also wasn't as physically exhausting as we'd expected, although I'm guessing a full day cutting a huge meadow might result in some aches and pains!

It seems to be important to learn how to sharpen your blade well and sharpening needs to be done every 3-4 minutes. But watching the experts at work, it was clear the rhythm of cutting - sharpening - cutting becomes second nature.

The scything community proved to be remarkably helpful and encouraging of new beginners, our enthusiasm to get involved and have a go was met with outright encouragement from all those skilful ladies and gents who clearly knew what they were doing.

Scything is a great alternative to using a lawn mower, especially if you're a beekeeper with colonies that don't like the sound of the strimmer or lawnmower. It provides a great workout, is better for the environment, promotes biodiversity, is quieter, and is cheaper. So, the next time you are thinking about mowing your lawn, consider scything instead. You might be surprised by how much you enjoy it!

If you'd like to find out more about scything take a look at The Scythe Association.

 

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