All-conquering Walkers land another Craven Champions crown
Victor sets new centre record store cattle price of £5,500
The all-conquering Walker family, from Brennand Farm, high in the Hodder Valley above Dunsop Bridge, continued their outright domination of the annual Craven Champions cattle highlight at Skipton Auction Mart with an unprecedented ninth supreme championship success this century, their title winner going on to establish a new centre record store cattle price of £5,500.
The Walkers - father Geoff and sons, John and Rob – claimed top honours with an all-black Limousin-sired heifer, first tapped out as winner of its haltered show class by judge Craig Bentley, of Kepwick, Thirsk, then as female and overall supreme champion.
The May, 2021-born victor is by a home-bred bull, Maverick, himself a son of the renowned Limousin breed sire, Lodge Hamlet, out of a daughter of the Walkers’ equally renowned former British Blue stock bull, Cromwell Fendt, also responsible for past Craven Champions supreme champions for the family. Their latest title winner’s great grand dam was, in fact, responsible for their first-ever Craven Champions supreme champion.
It fell to Geoff Walker to once again receive the Jack Walker Trophy, first presented at the annual highlight in 2014 in memory of his late father, with the day’s leading performer the subject of both ringside and telephone bids before falling locally to husband and wife, John and Clare Mellin, of Mill House Farm, Long Preston, for the £5,500 new mart record price.
The Mellins are themselves familiar faces and multiple show winners at their local mart, predominantly with home-bred prime cattle, and their new top price acquisition appears to have a promising future on the local and national show circuit.
The Walkers were in sparkling form yet again at the 2022 Craven Champions renewal for 2021-born store cattle with show potential, all their five-strong consignment of nine to 12-month-old British Blue and Limousin-cross youngsters finishing among the prizes and all but one a red rosette winner.
This was for another black Limousin-cross-Blue that stood second to the supreme champion in its haltered heifer show class and, same way-bred, made £2,800 when heading north of the border to Aberdeenshire with W Robertson & Son, of Tomintoul, on the northern slopes of the Cairngorm Mountains.
Another Blue-cross heifer by Fendt, a first prize un-haltered winner, claimed £1,800 when going to Calderdale with Luddendenfoot’s DP Moore, with both the male and reserve male championship also falling to Walker red rosette winners.
Male champion was a haltered Blue-cross bullock, again by Fendt, and reserve an un-haltered Limousin-cross bullock, again by Maverick out of a pure Limousin cow, which sold at £1,750 and £1,900 to, respectively, North Craven father and son, Francis and Andrew Smith, of Masongill, familiar faces and regular prize winners in the Skipton prime cattle ring, and JK Beckitt & Son, of Newark.
For good measure, the Walker family also had a major influence on the breeding of the reserve supreme champion, the first prize haltered Blue heifer and reserve female champion from Upper Nidderdale husband and wife, Mark and Fee Ewbank, of Intake Farm, Middlesmoor,
Fondly known as Margaret at home, this lovely six-month-old baby beef heifer is by Brennand Jimmy, acquired some seven years ago from the Walkers, a bull also responsible for the couple’s first-ever Craven Champions supreme champion in 2020, also last year’s male champion. She made £2,700, again going north with the Robertsons.
The Ewbanks, whose Intake pedigree herd comprises half a dozen pure Blues, also stood runners-up with same-way bred entries in both the un-haltered heifer and haltered Blue bullock show classes, which got away at £1,500 and £1,550 respectively on joining John and Jean Bradley in Giggleswick, and the show judge.
Show debutants, Red Rose husband and wife, John and Michelle Pendlebury, of Toddington Farm, Haigh, near Wigan, made an immediate impact when picking up three tickets with a trio of home-bred Lodge Hamlet sons.
They took first prize in both the young handlers show class with a bullock shown by 18-year-old Charlotte Pendlebury and the haltered Limousin-sired bullock class, also finishing runners-up in the un-haltered bullock class. Their charges sold at £1,380, £1,210 and £1,000 respectively.
The haltered any other breed show class fell to a 12-month-old Charollais bullock from M Bartram, of Askham Richard, York, away at £1,510, while also catching the eye at £1,520 was the third prize haltered Blue bullock from Luddendenfoot’s Jon Midgley,
Other prize winners, all successfully sold and all but one at four-figure prices, were: 2nd and 3rd prize haltered Blue heifer – D&F Clarkson, Healaugh, Tadcaster, £1,280 and £1,180; 3rd prize any other breed un-haltered bullock – Aberdeen-Angus from David Pawson, Blackburn, £1,100; 3rd prize any other breed un-haltered heifer – Charolais from W Lund, Briercliffe, £920.
The Craven champions highlight formed part of Skipton’s fortnightly Wednesday store cattle fixture, which attracted a turnout of 550 head, with solid trade seen across all classes. Full details are at www.ccmauctions.com