Timbersports are brutal, dangerous and growing in appeal. Can our novice cut it?

I lied when they asked if I had ever used a chainsaw before. “A few times, but I think it’s been a while,” I said. This even seemed as if it might be true, until I got within arm’s reach of a purring 7.8 horsepower saw. Then I realised: I would have remembered.

Spike Milton, my trainer, runs me through the machine’s many safety features. “This one is, to my mind, the most important,” he says, pointing to a sticker indicating that goggles and ear defenders must be worn. That may be his favourite safety feature, but I prefer the brake that stops me accidentally sawing my head in half.

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