Austrian Scythe Guide • • • Product List • • • Price List • • • How To Order • • • Order Form
Beginners' Courses • • • Picture Gallery • • • Scything Festivals & Competitions • • • Austrian Scythes Changed my Life
Supplier of Austrian Scythes
POSTAL ADDRESS: Simon Fairlie (Scythes), Monkton Wyld Court, Charmouth, Bridport, Dorset DT6 6DQ, UK
E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org PHONE NUMBER: 01297 561359 (daytime or evening; best time to phone is Monday 10am to 1 pm).
PLEASE NOTE: Over the period 6 - 16 June we will be preoccupied with organizing and then catching up after the West Country Scythe Fair. We will be harder to contact, and the mail order service may suffer delays. If you are in the South West, you can buy scythes directly from our stall at the Scythe Fair on Sunday 12 June.
I import Schröckenfux hand-forged scythe blades into the UK, direct from the factory in Austria where they have been made since 1540. Austrian scythe blades are recognized around the world as being of the highest quality -- which is why I import them and not cheap imitations. They are lighter, nimbler, more elegantly formed and easier for the novice to sharpen -- yet no more expensive than traditional English scythes. I also import other equipment you might need to make up a complete scythe kit: snaths (handles), sharpening stones and peening equipment, and books on scythe use and grass management.
There is a revival of scything in the UK. Scything summer growth by hand is usually quicker than using a strimmer, and there is no noise, vibration or pollution. Mowing an acre of grass with a scythe is probably less hassle than maintaining and using a motor scythe. Once you have learnt how to sharpen and use an Austrian scythe properly, mowing a meadow by hand becomes a joy, rather than a struggle.
Scything with a good tool relaxes the mind and attunes the body. As Levin says to his brother after a day's mowing, in Tolstoy's Anna Karenina : "You can't imagine what an effectual remedy it is for every sort of foolishness."
BUYING A SCYTHE
If you are interested in finding out more about these scythes, please go to Austrian Scythe Guide . If you want to find out what I have for sale please go to Product List and the Price List . You can buy a scythe by mail order, or by coming to my store in West Dorset (by appointment only) or from one of a number of regional distributors (see three paragraphs further down this page). If you want to order a scythe please go to How To Order and print out an Order Form . If you want to visit the store, please arrange an appointment by email (preferably) or phone. If you want some tuition when buying a scythe at my store, please let me know. I don't take cards, so you will need to bring a chequebook, or cash.
I can supply bulk orders at a discount to people giving courses and other distributors. Large orders will need to be made well in advance. I insist scythes are distributed with adequate instructions and back up information, which I can provide. Prices by arrangement, please telephone Simon on 01297 561359 or e-mail email@example.com
PROFESSIONAL LAND MANAGERS
If you require scythes and equipment for a team of workers or volunteers we can supply a package of goods together with a day long training programme from one of our teachers. We also provide tuition for team leaders at our scythe masterclass held just before the West Country Scythe Festival in June. Please telephone Simon on 01297 561359 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Customers include land managers at The National Trust, RSPB, BTCV, London Zoo, and many Wildlife Trusts, County Councils and District Councils.
There are now a number of people around the country who sell a basic range of Schröckenfux Austrian Scythes, either on courses or else individually by appointment. The following people may have what you want, and may be able to offer you some tuition.
Cumbria: Steve Tomlin https://stevetomlincrafts.wordpress.com/scythes/buy-a-scythe-kit/
Dyfed, Wales: Phil Batten http://scythecymru.co.uk/
North Wales: Sion Jinkinson sion_jinkinson(at)hotmail.com
Wiltshire: Chris Riley chris(at)pratensis.net
Devon: Alastair Inglis al.inglis(at)yahoo.co.uk
Somerset: Andi Rickard email@example.com
East Sussex: Beth Tilston. bethtilston(at)googlemail.com (currently on maternity leave).
West Sussex: Mark Allery firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Midlands: Jeremy Hastings firstname.lastname@example.org
Cambridge: Jim McVittie dalefield(at)ntlworld.com
East Anglia: Richard Brown http://wildseed.co.uk/products/category/scythes
Maintaining and using a scythe requires some skill. All scythes are supplied with detailed instructions, and if you buy a scythe direct from the store, by appointment, I can often give you some basic tuition. Novices wanting to cut substantial areas of grass are advised to attend a course. I run about four courses for beginners every year; please click on Beginners' Courses to see when the next courses will be held. The regional distributors listed above also provide tuition and scythe equipment. They can also be contacted through http://scytheassociation.org/courses/
I also take on people for "mini-apprenticeships" of one to two weeks during the haymaking season on our dairy smallholding in Dorset. For more information please see Beginners' Courses
There are some excellent videos available on YouTube, placed there by the Vido family (http://www.youtube.com/user/kaivido), Neil Dudman (http://www.youtube.com/user/ndudman8) and Botan Anderson of Mystic Prairie (http://www.youtube.com/user/Scythesman8). Many thanks to them for this service.
The art of scything has been lost in the British Isles and my aim is to revive it. I subscribe to Ivan Illich's aim of retooling society with convivial tools that "allow men to achieve purposes with energy fully under their own control".
I and the other scythe teachers provide a range of goods, a level of expertise, and an advice service which could not be provided in a hardware shop. If you can get to my store in Dorset, I will be able to explain the most important elements of hand-mowing to you (by appointment). I also run courses for beginners (see above).
A proportion of our profits go towards supporting Chapter 7 and The Land magazine. Chapter 7 is a voluntary organization providing free advice to smallholders and low income people in rural areas who have problems getting planning permission — see http://www.tlio.org.uk/chapter7/index.html The Land is an occasional magazine about land rights — see http://www.tlio.org.uk/TheLand/Issue_2.html We have also recently contributed to the Himalayan Permaculture Project's attempt to introduce scythes into Nepal as an alternative to petrol powered machinery, http://www.scytheworks.com/s-sc-wr.html
SCYTHE FESTIVAL AND OTHER EVENTS
The 2016 festival will be held at Thorney Lakes, Muchelney, Somerset on 12 June, with a programme of workshops the day before. http://www.thescytheshop.co.uk/festival.html
Scythes are an ideal tool for making it clear to sowers of experimental GM crops that the majority of UK residents do not want them in this country. I am happy to loan scythes for anti-GM protests.
I wish to acknowledge my debt to Peter Vido, who has provided an incalculable amount of help and advice. Peter, with the help of his family, has done more than anybody to revive scythe use in the English-speaking world, and to unveil the subtleties of this tool. His website goes deeper than mine into mowing and sharpening techniques, and acts as an international information point. www.scytheconnection.com. If you want to see mowing as it should be done, watch Peter and his family on this video.http://www.scytheconnection.com/adp/video/index.html.
Octagenarian Walter Lloyd writes: "I got back from Appleby Fair at the weekend and found the scythe waiting for me. A beautiful tool. Doing half an hour to an hour a day I have already mown a fifth of an acre. Just waiting for the sun to turn it into hay. I find mowing less effort than walking down the field."
I buy good condition old British scythes when I come across them, and sometimes have a few secondhand blades and snaths for sale. I do not sell these by mail order.
SABI: THE SCYTHE ASSOCIATION OF BRITAIN AND IRELAND (SABI)
An association for promoting the use of the scythe was inaugurated early in 2011, and is now fully established with its own website here http://scytheassociation.org/There are regional co-ordinators for most parts of the British Isles listed at http://scytheassociation.org/contact-us/ . SABI produces an email newsletter, The Windrow, which is sent out to everyone on the email list described in the next paragraph.
E-MAIL LIST: THE WINDROW NEWSLETTER
There are an increasing number of scything events occurring throughout the UK and in Europe. SABI sends out an e-mail newsletter, The Windrow, two or three times a year informing people about festivals, courses and other scythe events and developments throughout the UK. If you want to be on this list, please e-mail email@example.com
MY CONTACT DETAILS
PHONE NUMBER: 01297 561359 Daytime or evenings, but as I run a small farm I am often not by the phone. The best time to get me is Monday morning between 10 am and 1 pm. Evenings before 11pm can be a good time. If I am not in, leave an answerphone message, but an email is usually elicits a quicker response.
POSTAL ADDRESS: Simon Fairlie (Scythes), Monkton Wyld Court, Charmouth, Bridport, Dorset DT6 6DQ, UK.
The illustration at the top of the page is by Gill Barron who also helps me run the business. Feast your eyes at http://www.ipaint.org.uk/