Caton Blue Faced Leicester tops Skipton multi-breeds trade at 2,400gns Another rock-solid turnout of 1,147 head was on parade at Skipton Auction Mart’s multi-breeds sheep highlight, the annual fixture for pedigree and pure-bred rams and females. (Fri, Sept 30) On what is traditionally one of the busiest days of the entire year at the North Yorkshire venue, the market was packed to capacity, with four sales rings in action and main sales for Blue Faced Leicesters, Suffolks, Blue Texels and Zwartbles, together with secondary sales for Texels, Charollais, Beltex and other breeds.

In the Blue Faced Leicester ring, the 211 head forward achieved a sold 96% clearance rate, with a very good trade for shearling and aged rams, and it was this section that produced the day’s overall leading price of 2,400gns for a shearling from the locally based Otterburn Lodge flock of Ashley and Rachel Caton.

The ram, by a home bred tup, himself out of a good breeding Hundith ewe which came from noted Cumbria breeder Jack Lawson, sold to brothers Josh and Richard Ryder, of Haverah Park, Harrogate, and has already been put to work on their small Blue Faced Leicester pedigree flock, before transferring for crossing purposes to their Swaledale flock, which numbers almost 1,000 breeding ewes.

“We liked both the tup and Caton bloodlines. We are always trying to better our flock and now have a tried and trusted ram with impeccable breeding to hopefully help us do just that,” said Josh.

The three Blue Faced Leicester show classes were all won by John and Claire Mason’s Oddacres flock in Embsay, which went on to secure a championship and reserve championship double for the second year in succession.

Section champion was their first prize shearling ram, a home-bred by H3 Asby Hall, from Cumbria’s Andrew Brown. Used for two breeding seasons, he was also responsible for a brace of Mule gimmer lambs among a pen of ten that sold well for the Masons at last month’s opening NEMSA highlight at Skipton, with their latest victor siring another. He sold locally for 1,000gns to David Plews in Kettlewell and was one of three shearling rams from the same home that made 1,000gns.

Reserve champion was the red rosette-winning ram lamb, by a Micklaw tup himself purchased at Skipton as a ram lamb from local breeder William Wildman in Kirkby Malham. This, too, fell to local buyers, the Beckwith family in Gargrave, for 600gns

The Masons also landed a clean sweep of the prizes in the BFL females show class with home-breds by Asby Hall, Micklow and Smearsett tups. The first prize winner topped at 320gns when joining Philip Metcalfe in Otterburn.

Other notable four-figure selling prices were gained by entries from J&K Harker, of Lofthouse in Nidderdale at 1,100gns, with another two at 1,000gns from Kevin Wilson, of Blubberhouses.

In the MV accredited Texel ring, another healthy turnout of 236 head achieved a clearance rate of 89%. Trade focussed on quality, with the superior sheep and the best runs very good to sell. Away from the top end, regular runs found a ready audience, though the bottom end were harder to place.

Procters Farm in Wray, Lancaster, headed the selling prices with a 1,500gns shearling ram shown by Jeff Aiken. A son of the 15,000gns Glenside Whisky Galore, bred in Ayrshire by John Forsyth, out of Procters Sapphire, reserve champion at the Great Yorkshire Show, the ram found a new home in the Derbyshire Peak District with J Mellor, of High Peaks. Procters Farm also sold another shearling at 1,200gns.

The 2016 multi-breeds Texel champion, David Towell, who runs the Moor Top flock at Upper Leys Farm on Glusburn Moor, had another excellent day when selling four shearling rams at 1,400gns, 1,300gns, 1,200gns and 1,100gns.

Three are by his renowned and locally bred Wigglesworth Spellbound, who has done so well for the vendor in both the show and sale arenas, the other at 1,200gns by Procters Wrestler, acquired two years ago. The top price performer joined the Booth family in Feizor, north of Settle.

Mr Towell was also responsible for the first prize Texel female, also by Spellbound and sold for 400gns to Melissa Pickard in Bolton-by-Bowland.

Section champion was the first prize shearling ram from South Yorkshire’s Peter Longdin, who runs the Wellingley Grange flock in Tickhill, Doncaster, established in 1980 and now comprising 50 breeding ewes. He is also an arable farmer, growing sugar beet, potatoes and wheat. Out of a highly-regarded ewe, the ram sold for 1,000gns to Hitchen Partners, of Grantley, Ripon.

Reserve champion was the first prize ram lamb from  Cumbria’s, Peter Woof, who runs the Stainton flock at Storth End Farm, near Kendal, and was making a speedy return to Skipton after presenting the first prize ram lamb, reserve male champion and reserve supreme champion at last month’s main breed highlight.

Both ram lambs are by the 32,000gns Hexel Wildcard, bought and now shared by a syndicate of six in 2015, out of a home-bred ewe by Sportsmans Tremendous 11. Mr Woof’s latest frontrunner sold locally for 900gns to Embsay’s Harold Peel.

Scottish vendors Roger and John Green, of Lilliesleaf, Selkirk, chipped in with 1,050gns and 850gns shearling ram sales. Texel averages were also solid at £564 for shearling rams, £289 for shearling ewes, £287 for ram lambs and £161 for aged ewes.

Suffolks also sold well when achieving 94% clearance, with a flying trade for both shearlings and ram lambs, while a very strong commercial trade saw the majority of tups selling beyond expectations.

Top price went to Skipton’s Geoff and Alistair Lawn with a tremendous Suffolk shearling selling at 800gns to John Blackwell & Son in Gargrave. From a strong run of 16, the Lawns sold further entries at 780gns, 720gns, 700gns twice and 650gns, and to an overall average of £625.26. Another quality run of 18 from Steeton’s Mark Evans also sold well, peaking at 750gns and averaging £522.

In the show arena, ram lambs secured the principal honours. The first prize winner and section champion came from West Yorkshire’s Ian Briggs, who runs the Springstone flock, currently comprising 60 breeding ewes, at Hawkstone Farm, Guiseley, with his wife Julia and son Alex. By his own Springstone Sylvester – this long-established line goes back for more than 30 years – the victor sold for 600gns to Derek Calvert, of Paythorne.

The second prize ram lamb and reserve champion was presented by current Suffolk Society president Liz Needham, 30 years a breeder, who last December moved from near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire to her new base at Stainton in Cumbria. She runs the Norman flock, which currently comprises 25 breeding ewes. Her overall reserve, a home-bred son of the well-utilised Kings Parade, sold locally for 480gns to Airton’s Roger, John and Claire Wright.

Red Rose Suffolk breeder J Nairey, of Blackburn, presented the first prize shearling ram, which sold for 500gns to Barden’s Howard Fearnley. The Suffolk section produced averages of £523 for shearling rams and £355 for ram lambs.

In the non MV commercial ring, which achieved 85% clearance, a strong trade was seen for any well presented cross-bred and pure rams, with good runs of tups helping the trade along to a strong average for the Lingfield ring of £503.

The best tup in the sale duly achieved the section’s best price of 2,200gns, second top of the day. The home-bred Beltex shearling came from commercial breeders Ellis Bros, of Addingham Moorside, who currently have some 20 breeding ewes.  A grandson of their prolific Bordersesk Leapfrog, bred in Cumbria by Anne Story, the section champion joined George Sunderland, of Crag Vale, Hebden Bridge. Ellis Bros sold six shearling rams at an average of £866.

As in previous years, two of the best runs forward again came from annual consignments from Cumbria’s Thomas and James Whiteford, from Tercrosset Farm, Brampton, and brother and sister Geoff and Ann Robinson of Lucerne Farm, Pannal, Harrogate.

A run of 60 Texel and Beltex shearling ram crosses from the Whitefords averaged £754, selling to an eye-catching joint top of 1,600gns for a big bare skinned shearling, which returned to its homeland with the Priestley family - Michael, his son Steven, wife Ruth, and their children, Richard and Sara –  who farm at nearby Kirkcambeck.

The Whitefords also sold others at 1,400gns three times, 1,100gns 1,050gns and 1’000gns six times, while the Priestleys themselves sold a Texel-cross-Beltex shearling ram for 1,200gns
The Robinson family also matched the 1,600gns joint high with a shearling ram which returned to near its place of origin when claimed by Thomas Walmsley, of Haverah Park, Harrogate. Their 40-strong run of Texel shearling rams averaged £647.

Lambert and Joy Coverdale and their son, also Lambert, from Beckwithsaw, chipped in with a 1,180gns Texel shearling ram, with this section producing averages of £445 for shearlings and £135 for ram lambs.

As in past years, Blue Texels were again well sold. Scotsman David Alexander made his annual pilgrimage from Galston in Ayrshire with his consignment of males and females, which once more were in ready demand, selling to a top of 500gns for a shearling ewe claimed by Welshman D Hughes, of Caernarfon. Mr Alexander sold others at 460gns, 450gns, 420gns twice, 410gns and 400gns.

Blue Texel shearling ewes averaged £332, shearling rams £237, with a top of 310gns from R Hughes & Son, of Angram, ewe lambs £205, with a high of 220gns, and ram lambs £182, with a 300gns top price.

Other non MV commercial averages were: Shearling rams – Beltex £567, Charollais £507, Texel £445. Ram lambs – Charollais £189, Texel £135.

Back in the commercial MV ring, Charollais champion was the first prize ram lamb from Charles Marwood, of the multi award-winning Foulrice flock in Whenby, near York, who last month was also crowned supreme champion for the second year in succession at the British Charollais Sheep Society annual commercial rams highlight at Skipton.

His latest success came with a son of Foulrice Prelude, himself a grandson of former Great Yorkshire Show Interbreed champion, Rhaeadr Nock. One of the breed’s top index lambs on performance, the victor sold for 480gns to D Eggleton, of Meltham, Holmfirth. Mr Marwood made a clean sweep of the prizes in the ram lamb show class, the runner-up by Foulrice Osprey, the third by a Welsh tup, Bronwydd Ready To Ramble. One of these made 340gns.

Reserve section champion was the first prize 2-shear ram from Robert Towers, of Camp House Farm, Farleton, Lancaster. Bought as a ram lamb from Northern Ireland breeder William McAllister, the overall runner-up sold for 400gns to Malham Moor’s Lynne Throup.

SC Hodgson, of Bedale, also sold a brace of Charolais-cross-Beltex shearling rams at 480gns and 370gns. Charollais shearling rams averaged £317, ram lambs £352 and ewe lambs £175.

The Sharphaw flock of William Beckwith at Holme House Farm, Gargrave, sent out the Beltex section champion for the second consecutive year. His home-bred shearling ram is by a Scottish-bred Aviemore ram, out of a ewe which won at Gargrave Show. The winner made 320gns when joining R Farrell, of Midgley, Halifax.

The section leader on price was Andrew Barrett, of Leathley, Otley, with a 750gns shearling ram sold to Bordley’s Kevin Huck. The same vendor also sold further entries at 460gns and 360gns, while Richard and Mark Ireland, from Whalley, sold a Beltex-cross-Texel shearling ram at 420gns. Beltex shearling rams averaged £324 and shearling ewes £238.

The Zwartble show class was won by a home-bred 3-crop ewe from Horton-in-Ribblesdale’s Tracey Sutcliffe, sold for 280gns. The same vendor also sold a ewe lamb at 200gns. She has just two remaining Zwartbles at home and is now concentrating on breeding Blue Faced Leicesters and Mule gimmer lambs.

Former Zwartble champion Matthew Beckwith, who runs his Sharphaw flock in Gargrave, claimed top price with a 250gns shearling ram sold to David Baxter in Gilstead, Bingley. Zwartble shearlings averaged £252 and ewe lambs £147.

Judges were: Suffolk – Tony Shepherd, Texel – Richard Caton, Blue Faced Leicester – Alan Watson, Beltex – Tom Walmsley, Charollais - Stephen Hodgson. Key sponsor was McClarrons Insurance, which has offices in Malton and Richmond. Full show results, selling prices and averages are at