WITH three rams selling for five-figure prices and a total of 18 breaking the £3000 barrier, Lairg-type North Country Cheviot rams met the best trade of the season despite a cautious start to the sale and set a cracking average of £1192 for 270 sold, with only nine of the 279 forward failing to find new homes.

This average was a rise of £138 on 2016 levels for two fewer sold and left ram sellers feeling buoyant, but it was a different story for those selling females which met a lacklustre demand as has been the case for breeding females of all breeds in recent weeks.

By the end of the day, 1639 gimmers cashed in to level at £104.28, a drop of £21.86 on the year for 133 fewer sold compared to 2016, with the 6521 ewes at £65.68, a drop of £18.43 for 104 fewer.

The top price came late on in the sale when the first through from the Suisgill flock from Helmsdale was knocked down for £13,000. Brought out by Suisgill shepherd David Henderson to pass the flock’s previous best of £4500, this two-shear is among the second crop of rams to sell by the £7000 Bailenacraobh Model bought back in 2013, which sired Suisgill’s best last year at £3500. This lad, which was used at home as a shearling, sold in a two-way split to the Allen family for their Stouphill and Whitefield flocks near Alnwick, and Michael and Lillias Elliot for the Woodside flock near Kelso.

Two rams matched last year’s top of £10,000, with the first of these coming from the Welbeck flock managed by Billy Millar and ‘herded by Allan MacLean. Selling to Suisgill, this three-shear is by a Northhouse tup and out of a ewe by a £2000 Balnakeill.

The other to hit £10,000 came from the Allen family – Billy and Kate together with son Dallas, and daughter Ruth. Used at home as a shed tup, this two-shear is the first son to sell by the £3200 Auldallan Psycho bought at Lairg, and heads back to the Auldallan flock at Glamis with Bob and Kay Adam.

Andrew and Elizabeth Elliot, and shepherds Gordon and Elaine Fletcher, from Balnakeill, received their best trade to date when a two-shear sold to Badanloch for £9000. He is among the second crop to sell by the £5000 Brackside Mump.

The good trade continued late on in the sale when the Wilsons at Newbank, Beattock, paid £7800 for a two-shear from one of the last consignments. Setting a best price for the Hartside Hill flock managed by Alan Hutcheon, that was Hartside Hill TC, a son of Hartside Rooney.

The Badanloch flock, managed by Hugh Mackenzie, was another to have a good day, when it brought in £4000, £7000 and £4800 for its first trio of three-shears to sell. Dearest of these and selling to Martin Cook, Erribol, was by the privately purchased North Loch Naver Nomad.

A long journey north from Wooler was worth it for Bill and Fanny Elliot with a top of £6200 paid by Alan Cowens, who manages the Philiphaugh flock, and the Douglas family who run the Whitehope flock, both Selkirk. That was paid for Hethpool Tycoon, a son of Hartside Hill Note.

See the October 7 issue of The Scottish Farmer for the full report and further photographs of the sale leaders.