2015-09-11   facebooktwitterrss

Lockerbie NC Cheviot Sale one of the Largest in the Country

Going from strength to strength, the North Country Cheviot sale at Harrison and Hetherington’s Lockerbie Mart on Wednesday 23rd September, is the highlight and major sale of the year for Lockerbie.

This sale of North Country Cheviot Hill and Park Rams, and North Country and Hill Cheviot ewes, gimmers and ewe lambs attracts buyers and sellers from across the UK, and is now one of their leading auctions of the year.

North Country Cheviots

This is the one sale in the country where you will see all three types of North Country Cheviots sold, the Hill Cheviot, the Border Type Cheviot and the Caithness Cheviot. This year there are 200 North Country Cheviot Park tups and 270 North Country Cheviot Hill tups, plus nearly 4,000 females.

William Thomson from Hownam Grange, near Morebattle, Vice President of the North Country Cheviot Sheep Society, commenting in advance of the sale said: “Historically people had to head off to the north of Scotland to purchase stock of this calibre. With it now being held in Lockerbie this sale provides much easier access for our core buyers across England and Wales.

“The quality of the sheep is improving year on year, and 2015 is one of the largest ram entries we have ever seen.”

The breed, first recorded in Caithness amidst the Scottish Highlands was given the name of Cheviot by Sir John Sinclair an agricultural improver and pioneer of the British Wool Society.

North Country Cheviot Ewes can thrive in a wide range of different grazing situations and are bred pure in many parts of Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales. Known to be hardy, healthy and long-living, hill North Country Cheviot ewes are found on some of the hardest and most inhospitable ground in Scotland.

The three distinct types of Cheviots have since evolved into the Hill or Lairg type, developing deep within the hills of Sutherland, similar to those first taken to the Highlands by Sir John in the 18th century. Bred on more fertile ground, the Caithness type is bigger and heavier, and the third, taking their name from the Scottish borders where they developed between the first and second world wars are the Border type.

Commenting on the forthcoming sale, Michael Stewart, senior auctioneer for Harrison and Hetherington at Lockerbie said: “We are delighted once again that numbers are well up on last year, and this is now certainly one of the most popular sheep sales here at Lockerbie. It has some of the best North Country Cheviot breeding sheep in the country and there is real growth, interest and popularity in the breed.”

The breed produces ewes that are particularly kind mothers and are easy to handle at lambing time, producing top-quality lambs under the harshest and most difficult conditions, with few lambing problems. The lambs are markedly in demand in the autumn sales and are popular for both breeding and feeding.

Their adaptability and high health status, many being EAE accredited, has resulted in an increase in the pure-bred North Country Cheviot ewe population throughout the British Isles.

Alison Brodie, who has been the North Country Cheviot Sheep Society’s secretary for eight years, gives further background to the breed’s expanding popularity.

She said: “The breed has gone from strength to strength very much on its own merits. We work very hard as a society to promote the breed and this year we have already attended many events from Caithness to Devon, Wales and Ireland promoting the breed and its key attributes. The North Country Cheviot sheep perform exceedingly well in both pure-bred and commercial situations, and as a result we have created more interest in the breed. This is most definitely the premier sale of the year and we have already received considerable interest.”

Lockerbie Auction Mart is one of seven marts under the Harrison and Hetherington umbrella. Without a doubt, buyers at the Lockerbie auction this month will have their pick of the UK’s best quality North Country Cheviots.

Michael Stewart concluding said:
“We are looking forward to a hearty sale, the quality of the North Country Cheviot sheep is remarkable and I would urge anyone interested in starting or increasing their own flock or improving their existing commercial flock, no matter what the breed, not to miss the Lockerbie sale.”


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