2018-09-07  facebooktwitterrss

Pennells in Peak Form at Skipton Wensleydale Highlight

A standout season in the show arena continued for Julie and Anna Pennell, with a championship and reserve championship double at the 127th annual Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Breeders Association show and sale at Skipton Auction Mart. (Fri, Aug 31 & Sat, Sept 1)

Already cock-a-hoop after Anna, the association’s secretary, had sent out a Clun Forest shearling ewe to secure the breed championship, then the Interbreed Supreme Sheep championship at this year’s Royal Welsh Show, it was the turn of their Nipna flock, established a decade ago, to shine at the Skipton Wensleydale showcase.

Anna Pennell with the 2018 Skipton Wensleydale supreme champion, joined by judge Tom Gorst.

Anna Pennell with the 2018 Skipton Wensleydale supreme champion, joined by judge Tom Gorst.

The title winner was the first prize shearling ram and male champion, Nipna Oak, which had earlier won its class at this year’s Great Yorkshire Show.

By Bedale breeder Ernie Sherwin’s Nosterfield Supreme, out of a Providence Pete-bred West End dam, the victor commanded top price of the day when selling for 560gns to Nicki and Pete Hodkinson, of Commonside, Cheadle.

Show judge Tom Gorst, from Sedbergh, also tapped out the Pennells’ first prize ewe lamb and female champion as his overall reserve. A daughter of Endrigs Norman, from Scottish breeder John McHardy’s flock, out of a Nosterfield Olympian-bred Leaston dam, the reserve champion joined Declan Leonard, of Bramley, for 320gns.

Mr McHardy, who farms at Kilmany, Cupar, Fife, was himself to the fore when presenting the first prize and best fleshed ram lamb, and reserve male champion. His home-bred son of Endrigs Comet, out of a Princethorpe Harry’s Bar-sired ewe, sold for 110gns to Mark Elliott, Ferrensby. He also sent out the second prize ram lamb, again by Comet, which made 80gns when joining Ernie Sherwin in Bedale.

The first prize shearling ewe and reserve female champion came from Northumberland breeders John and Shelagh Prescott’s West End flock in Longhorsley, Morpeth. Although unsold, the Prescotts did make 250gns with a home-bred shearling ewe by West End Harry.

The second prize shearling ewe from Mark Elliott’s Providence flock at Ferrensby, near Knaresborough, a daughter of Gedgrave Cyril, sold for 250 gns to Red Rose breeder T Baldwin, of Bretherton. Mr Elliott also finished runner-up in the shearling ram show class with another Gedgrave Cyril son sold for 200gns to AM&L Bell, of Northallerton.

Back with the ram lambs, Nick Oliver, who runs the Carperby Pastures flock near Leyburn, won third prize with a Princethorpe Carlsberg son sold for 200gns to Lady Hilary Menzies, of the Leaston flock in East Lothian.

The same vendor also finished third in the ewe lamb show class with a Carlsberg daughter sold at 200gns to Julie and Anna Pennell, with the runner-up from Jim and Sandra Thompson’s  Maesafon flock in Deytheur, Powys, by Endrigs Ken The Bruce, selling away at 170gns to M Jones, of Caernarfon.

The sale saw a good underlying trade with improved clearance rates, albeit at slightly reduced levels, which reflects keep and the current outlook.

Top prices and averages: Shearling rams to 560gns (av £213), shearling ewes to 250gns (£182), ram lambs to 200gns (£118), ewe lambs to 320gns (£201).

Secretary Anna Pennell said there had been a small, yet steady increase in the numbers of Wensleydale lambs registered each year, both in white and black flocks, over the last five years.

She commented:
“However, while the breed does remain on the RBST Watch list, there are currently extremely high levels of demand from crafters and spinners for the raw fleece, with the Wensleydale commanding the highest prices both from the Wool Board and privately.

“Indeed, many breeders are finding themselves selling raw fleeces both in the UK and overseas with ease at premium prices, often well in excess of £100 a fleece, and with a demand much greater than can be fulfilled.

“There is also continued use of the large framed Wensleydale rams over native breeds to add size and quality to cross-bred progeny and breeders are also turning to the growing market demand for naturally grown, British rare breed meat from restaurants, farm shops and the private consumer.”

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