The ladies of the Swaledale sheep world – all 4,247 of them - put their best feet forward at the annual show and sale of ewes and gimmer shearlings at Skipton Auction Mart. (Sat, Oct 6)
Pictured with the Skipton Swaledale ewe victors are, from left, Debbie Robinson, co-judges Robert Wearmouth and Matthew Critchlow, and Stuart Robinson.
While good quality sheep met with a similar trade on the year, with some top pens actually dearer than the corresponding 2011 fixture, buyers were more selective and commercial entries, notably shearlings, were quite a bit cheaper on the year.
This was reflected in the overall average selling price of £116.87 per head (-£21.70 on 2011) at what is the mart’s main sale of both registered and unregistered, crossed and uncrossed Swaledale females.
Local breeders Stuart and Debbie Robinson, of Heselden Lodge, Litton, presented the first prize pen of ten ewes – they also had the rosette winners in 2010 and were runners-up last year.
The 2012 class victors, the pick of a 40-strong consignment again chosen from both the Robinsons’ own flock and that of Debbie’s parents, Mike and Ruth Pearson at Foredale Farm, Horton-in Ribblesdale, sold for £195 per head to A&C Ivinson, of Ousby in Cumbria. The two families sold further pens at £175, £165 and £162 each.
The Pen-y-ghent flock of John and Jean Bradley, of Giggleswick, which was responsible for the 2011 red rosette-winning ewes, this year had to settle for the runners-up prize, their pen also achieving £195 per head when joining Ian Lancaster, of Wiswell, Clitheroe, who bought last year’s class victors.
For the second year in succession, Roy Nelson, of C Nelson & Sons, Bordley, achieved top price in show at £235 per head with the third prize ewe pen, his charges finding pastures new in Derbyshire when joining co-judge Matthew Critchlow, of Buxton. Mr Nelson sold further pens at £190, £165 and £150 per head.
The fourth prize pen from TW Cowperthwaite, of Malham Moor, returned to their place of origin when joining Alan Lodge for £192 each, while FC, N&M Walker, of Hartlington, sold pens to a high of £200 per head, these falling to South Yorkshire buyer SS Richardson, of Great Houghton, Barnsley.
Cumbrian vendors Alan and Fiona Alderson, of Barras Farm, Kirkby Stephen, who arrived with over 80 of their best Swaledales, were rewarded when a show pen of ten gimmer shearlings took first prize in class, selling for £190 per head to Messrs Raine & Davidson, also of Kirkby Stephen. The Aldersons chipped in with further pens at £215, £195, £180x3 and £165 each.
Last year’s shearling victor Neil Richardson, of Big Fernyford Farm, Reapes Moor, Longnor, Buxton, was again prominent when presenting both the second and third prize pens. The runners-up headed the class prices at £250 each when joining Alan Barnes, of Cowden, who also paid £220 per head for Mr Richardson’s third prize pen. The same vendor sold further pens at £190 and £170 a head.
Chris Akrigg, of Cray, sold his fourth prize shearling pen for £215 a head to JH Critchlow, of Ashbourne, while D&S Hollings, of Pecket Well, Hebden Bridge, and D Hargreaves, of Airton, both has £200 pens.
Swaledale ewes averaged £110.45 (-£20.26 on 2011) and shearlings £129.75 (-£33.85).
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