Record Turnover at Skipton Working Sheepdog Sale
Two 11-month-old litter sisters from John Bell stole the show when selling away at 4,250gns and 3,400gns respectively at Skipton Auction Mart’s Spring working sheepdogs sale, on a day when turnover set a new record high. (Fri, May 15)
Even though now aged 84, Mr Bell, of Parks Farm, Howden, Selby, remains one of the UK’s leading sheep dog handlers and he had once again worked his magic on the two youngsters he bought as pups.
Both are tri-coloured bitches bred in Wales by renowned triallist Aled Owen’s Llangwyn Cap, an open trials winner related to past world champions, out of Glynn Evans’ Taddymoor Jem.
Groesfaen Fern, the second of the sisters to take to the field, handled the sheep slightly better than her twin and commanded the top price when returning to Wales with a regular Skipton buyer, Carmarthenshire’s Nigel Watkins.
Mr Watkins is one of Wales' top-performing sheepdog handlers, being a 15-time member of the Welsh National team, a three-time Welsh National Champion and Reserve World Champion. Over the years, he has trained many top dogs and has an uncanny knack of finding the right dogs for both himself and others. Skipton has long been a happy hunting ground for Mr Watkins, who will retain his latest acquisition.
Mr Bell’s other litter sister, Groesfaen Bracken, also caught the eye on the trials field before joining a sheep farmer in North Yorkshire.
North Craven’s Shaun Richards, of Pen-y-Borough Sheep Dogs in Eldroth, who, like John Bell, is a frequent top price achiever at Skipton, stepped up with another talented performer, the black and white dog, Marchup Roger.
He is a July, 2013, son of Marchup Dave, from local breeder Andrew Throup, of Middle Marchup Farm, Silsden, and a full brother to Marchup Midge, who was sold by Mr Richards at Skipton, for 8,000gns, out of Marchup Pip.
The dog, which had earlier been trained by Cononley’s Richard Wallbank, before rejoining Mr Throup, then on to Mr Richards, reached 4,800gns, not quite up to the vendor’s on-field expectations, who said he was prepared to let him go for 5,000gns.
The Cumbrian bidder who so nearly bagged the dog on the sales field was driving home, decided he really wanted him, so called Mr Richards and agreed to pay the full asking price, with the transaction processed through normal CCM channels. The buyer requested anonymity.
Andrew Throup himself sold a fully home-bred two-year-old black, white and mottled dog, Marchup Ben, by Bob, out of Gem, for 2,900gns to a buyer from Scotland.
Former BBC One Man and His Dog presenter, Gus Dermody, from Nantwich in Cheshire, sold his two-year-old black and white bitch, Fran, for 3,250gns. Fran was bred by Thomas Longton, of Quernmore, Lancaster, and is by Tot, one of his 2013 English National Brace Champions, out of Bess.
“I’m sorry to see her go,” said Mr Dermody, who is now concentrating on training young dogs for both work and trial. He says he will be trialling himself and has a couple of nice prospects for this year’s winter nurseries.
Fran’s buyer was Chris Watmore, who, with his wife Janet, owns and runs the 1,500-acre Holystone Estate near Rothbury in Northumberland, a mixed arable, cattle and sheep holding. The same buyer also paid 2,000gns for the August, 2010, black and white dog, Cloverhill Ron, who had 12 National points to his credit and was sold by well-known County Antrim triallist Michael Gallagher.
On his first-ever visit to Skipton, the 2014 One Man and His Dog winner and 2013 Irish National champion, Ireland’s James McClaughlin, of Clonmany in County Donegal, set the early pace when selling his 23-month-old tri-coloured bitch, Gwen, for 3,100gns.
Gwen is by fellow County Donegal breeder, James McGee’s Seth – Mr McGee was the 2011 World Sheepdog Trials champion – out of a dam by Allistair Lyttle’s Spot, the 2010 One Man and His Dog winners.
Gwen found a new home in south-west Scotland with sheep farmer William Sproat, of Borgue, near Kirkcudbright, and will be put to work on his Plunton flock of 400 pedigree Texel and Texel-cross sheep.
In the interim, McClaughlin reports that his top trials dog, Ben, is this year heading for the Isle of Man Open in July, followed by another tilt at the Irish National. He said his first impression of the Skipton trials field was “tough, but fair and requiring a well balanced dog,” adding: “The sale is very well organised – it’s a pleasure to be here.”
Another 3,100gns achiever was Paul Turnbull, of Kildale, near Whitby, with his experienced five-year-old tri-coloured bitch, Lyn, by his own Kep, bought from John Bell as a pup, out of L Jones’ Bess, who has breeding lines connected to well-known Scottish breeder John Templeton.
Mr Turnbull, a triallist with seven Ryedale nursery wins under his belt, was returning to Skipton after a ten-year break and described Lyn as a “really good and genuine farm dog.” The buyer is from North Yorkshire.
Kirkby Stephen’s Frank Satterthwaite made 3,000gns with his well-bred August, 2013, tri-coloured bitch, Blue, by AR Griffiths’ Sam, out of ARP Warmington’s Sue. She is a granddaughter of Bobby Dalziel’s renowned trials dog, Spot, and great granddaughter of Aled Owen’s world champion, Roy.
Blue joined beef and sheep farmers Reuben and Hilary Atkinson, of Forest-in-Teesdale, and will be used solely as a work dog on their flock of predominantly Swaledale sheep. The buyers have high hopes that he will make a top-notch fell dog.
A 20-month-old tri-coloured dog, Glen, from David Wood, of Bamford in Derbyshire, also sold well at 3,000gns.The talented all-rounder, by Kevin Evans’ Caleb, out of J Nagle’s Sanduck Kit, found a new home in Cumbria.
Skipton regular Emrys Jones, of Tal y Bont, Gwynedd, in the Snowdonia National Park, achieved 2,950gns with his 14-month-old black and white smooth-coated bitch, Glan y Gors Lass, by Netherlands breeder and leading triallist, Serge van der Zweep’s Garry, out of IJ Caroll’s Nell.
A 2,800gns performer was James McLaughlin’s brother, Owen, also from Clonmany and again making his Skipton debut with his 12-month-old tri-coloured bitch, Kate, by his sibling’s own top dog, Ben, out of PJ Doherty’s Peg. It joined regular Skipton buyer Joe McRobert, who runs Cheviot Sheepdogs at Fingland, near Biggar, in Lanarkshire.
Carnforth’s Tony Birkett achieved 2,500gns with his 14-month-old tri-coloured bitch, Peg, by Tom Lawrenson’s Clyde, out of his own Floss, herself a daughter of Irish breeder, County Antrim’s Michael Gallagher’s top-performing trials dog Cap. The buyers were C&M Symons, of Yetholm, Kelso, who also paid 2,000gns for another Shaun Richards dog, the August, 2012, black and white bitch Pat.
Chris Taylor, of Keasden in North Craven, made 2,400gns with his November, 2013, tri-coloured bitch, Gayle, by C Steiner’s Cain, out of W Todd’s Peg, who was knocked down to a regular buyer from Wales.
G Fearon, of Keswick, sold his November, 2011, tri-coloured dog, Kemi Dez, for 2,200gns, while Mist, a 15-month-old black and white bitch from Irish breeder CP Kelly, of Dungiven in County Londonderry, made 2,050gns. Nap, a two-year-old black and white dog from Belgium breeder Jo De Meyst, from Zwevezele, between Antwerp and Gent, sold at 2,000gns.
Catching the eye in the pup pen was a four-month-old fully home-bred black and white bitch from Oakworth’s Carol Mellin, which sold for 700gns to Stephen and Helen Robinson in Dunsop Bridge.
With 96 dogs forward, good, solid trade throughout the day was responsible for the new turnover record, with quality broken dogs for both work and trial once again in keen demand. Broken registered dogs averaged £2,217, with part-broken registered dogs selling to 800gns and averaging £440. One broken unregistered dog sold at 820gns.
Skipton’s summer sale of working sheep dogs is now scheduled to take place a week earlier than initially planned on Friday, July 3. Entries close on June 19.