Skipton Auction Mart’s Annual Spring Sale of Working Sheep Dogs
Northern Ireland’s Hugh McKee led the field on price at Skipton Auction Mart’s annual Spring sale of working sheep dogs. (Fri, May 16).
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 Susan.
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 cared for.”
Bagan qualified for the Scottish Nationals last year with another
dog Joe, though did not 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 Nell!”
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. 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 JR 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.
The same 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 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
“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.