Northern Ireland’s Hugh McKee led the field on price at Skipton Auction Mart’s annual Spring sale of working sheep dogs.
Mr McKee, a noted sheep dog trainer, who hails from the fishing village of Kilkeel in County Down, reeled in top price honours when selling his two-year-old fully home bred tri-coloured bitch Nell for 3,200gns.
He was making his first visit to the UK’s
leading sheep dog sales venue with Nell, by his proven work dog Moss, out of
Mist, and only used for work to date, though showing plenty of trials
potential. She sold to Ayrshire’s Tom Bagan, who farms Mule sheep at Stewarton,
near Kilmarnock, buying at Skipton for the first time on behalf of his wife
Mrs Bagan explained: “I had a real good
collie, Emma, who died ten years ago. She was so special and I still grieve for
her. Nell is already beginning to make me feel a lot better. She is beautiful
and I am delighted with her nature. She has been so well looked after and will continue
to be well looked after.”
Mr Bagan qualified for the Scottish Nationals last year
with another dog Joe, though did but run him in the end due to work
commitments. Does Mrs Bagan have nursery trial ambitions with her new
acquisition? “You never know – we will just have to wait and see how we get
on,” she said, adding:
“We have also
been searching for a bride for Joe for over a year to preserve the
intelligence, though so far romance has not blossomed. Maybe it will with
For the past decade, the couple have also run a family
business, Wood Burning Stoves Limited, from their base at Waterlands,
designing, manufacturing and distributing their Country Kiln wood burning and
multi-fuel stoves. Mrs Bagan is a qualified design engineer.
Mr McKee also
sold Lass, another tri-coloured bitch and full sister to his top price
performer, for 1,800gns.
Shaun Richards, a frequent high price
achiever at Skipton, was again prominent when selling his 14-month-old black
and white bitch, Jill, for the day’s second top price of 3,075gns (£3,228). She
was bred locally by Silsden’s Andrew Throup and is by Boss, a son of J
Richardson’s Yorkshire nursery champion Staff, out of Marchup Nan.
Mr Richards, who is now running Pen-y-Borough
Sheep Dogs from his new base at Eldroth, in a picture postcard setting in the
shadow of both Pen-y-ghent and Ingleborough, has also done well in the
past with well-bred dogs from Mr Throup.
Jill is out of a full sister to his Marchup
Midge, who made a then world record price of 8,000gns when sold by Mr Richards
at Skipton in 2012. His latest classy canine found a new home in south-east
Wales with beef and sheep hill farmer Robert Davies, of Bedlwyn Farm, Gwent.
She will be used principally as a work dog by Mr Davies, who is also hoping to
start trialling with the promising Jill, his first Skipton purchase.
Mr Richards also sold his November, 2011-born
black and white bitch Mey for 2,000gns to County Durham’s Keith Ettey, from
Bowes, buying on behalf of his 18-year-old son Andrew. Mey is the teenager’s
first dog and he will now hone both his own and his new acquisition’s skills on
the family’s cattle and sheep farm.
John Bell, of Parks Farm, Howden Selby, who
holds the record for the greatest number of top price performances at Skipton,
stepped forward with the highest priced young dog, his 11-month-old
tri-coloured Bob, by Caleb, from well-known Welsh triallist Kevin Evans, of
Modrydd, Brecon, Powys, out of Port Talbot-based John Wheaton’s leading nursery
trial bitch Lednock Roz.
Bob is a grandson of top Scottish triallist Murray
MacTier’s own Bob and also related to Supreme International champion Dewi
Tweed’s daughter Dewi Kate, both previously owned by Mr Bell and also sold at
Skipton for high prices. His latest Bob returned to Wales when knocked down for
3,000gns to a bidder who requested anonymity.
Youth was also to the fore when 16-year-old
Gwenllian Pyrs, of Padog, Betwys-y-Coed, in Conwy, North Wales, also achieved
3,000gns with her Dutch-bred June, 2012-born tri-coloured dog Roy. Already placed in the novice trial arena, Roy
found a new home with a Scottish buyer who will use him solely as a work dog.
Gwenllian is still at school, attending Ysgol Dyffryn Conwy Secondary.
Local breeder Ian Ibbotson, of
Oakworth, also did well with his December, 2010-born tri-coloured dog Cap, who
won the Fylde Nursery championship in 2013, along with two Open wins and
further placings, accumulating 17 qualifying points that year.
He sold for 2,500gns to Northumberland
shepherd Mark Day, of Harbottle, Morpeth, and will be used on a mixed hill
flock of Cheviot, Scottish Blackface and Swaledale sheep. Mr Day has bought
dogs previously at Skipton, which have all done well for him.
A fully home-bred black and white
three-year-old bitch, Kate, from Cheshire breeder and triallist James Gilman,
of Macclesfield, made 2,200gns when bought by well-known dog man Alec Baines,
of Tan Hill fame, for near neighbour Amanda Owen, of Ravenseat in Swaledale.
She and her husband Clive, along with their
five children, run one of the Dales’ most isolated farms and have featured
regularly on the popular ITV television show, The Dales,
presented by Adrian Edmondson.
Kate, also a first-time Skipton
acquisition by the Owens, will be put to work by shepherdess Amanda on the
farm’s sheep flock. “We’re really chuffed with her – she’ll become part of the
family,” said Amanda.
price was equalled by another home-bred two-year-old dog, the tri-coloured
Nap, from West Lancashire’s Michael Woods, of Skelmersdale The buyer was
Pateley Bridge’s Barry Liddle.
Scotland’s AD Whitaker, of Crieff in Perth and Kinross, realised 2,000gns with his
two-year-old black and white dog Tat. It sold to Welshman GL Watkins, of Powys.
Catching the eye in the unbroken pen were two
top-notch eight-month-old youngsters and full sisters from North
Yorkshire Moors vendor and
respected triallist Mrs J Cook, of Egton,
Whitby. The fully home-bred duo each sold well at 1,020gns.
The sale saw 61 of the
81-strong entry successfully sold. Skipton Auction Mart’s general manager
Jeremy Eaton commented: “There was again significant interest at the ringside
for both trialling dogs and good work dogs, with solid trade for all other dogs
fit for work and lots of interest around the pup pen for registered unbroken
and part-broken dogs.”
Broken registered dogs sold
to 3,200gns (average £1,992), part-broken registered dogs to 1,020gns (av
£578), and unbroken and part-broken unregistered dogs to 650gns (av £244)
Jean Howes, of Redgate Lodge, Redgate, County
Durham, who has sold dogs at Skipton for many years, was out and about raising
money for a brain tumour charity - her son Carl is terminaly ill with a tumour.
She netted £502 from generous contributors and said she would like to warmly
thank all who had supported the cause.
Skipton Auction Mart’s next seasonal working
sheep dogs sale is the annual summer sale on Friday, July 25. Catalogue
entries close a fortnight earlier.