Averages for draft Swaledale ewes and gimmers improved on the year at Bentham Auction Mart's annual sale at Bentham where prices peaked at £215 per head.

The sale which saw three-crop draft ewes level at £80.05 up £16.10 on the year and gimmers at £97.87 up £35.09, had 12 pens of draft ewes forward for the judges Andrew Nicholson and Martyn Mawson of Cockermouth, who later presented the first prize award to Bill Cowperthwaite of Tennent Gill for his pen. They later made £200 per head selling jointly to the judges.

Top price however was £215 per head paid for the second prize pen from R and E Cowperthwaite, Stockdale Farm, which sold to Martyn Mawson.

Gimmers sold to £200 per head for the first prize pen from John and Jean Bradley of Penny Grange, selling to to Messrs Parker of Kirkby Stephen, with the second and third prize awards presented to JC Wade and Son, Catchall (£130) and JR and J Gorst, Appletree (£150), respectively.

LEADING prices

Draft ewes – R and E Cowperthwaite, Stockdale, £215, £118; TW Cowperthwaite, Tennet Gill £200, £170; JJ Handley, Thornton Hall £150, £118; GJ and ME Walker & Son, Whitendale £135; JR and J Gorst, Appletree £155; RJ Hutchinson, Boundary House £120.

Gimmers – J and JE Bradley, Penny Grange £200, £160, £145, £130; JR and J Gorst, Appletree £150; JC Wade and Son, Catchall £140, £130; RJ Hutchinson, Boundary House £130.