Ever increasing demand for Mule ewes ensured a bumper trade for rams at the Bluefaced Leicester Association's marathon sale at Hawes, where averages improved in virtually all sections backed up by a top price of £30,000 and another nine at five-figure sales.

The pre-sale show which kicked off at 7.15am with the hammer generally falling on the final sheep, at around midnight, this year saw almost 100 fewer lambs forward for sale, with buyers looking more for strong, correct lambs boasting those all important crossing lines.

It was late in the day before this year's sale leader emerged too when the best from Messrs Lord's Hewgill flock from Stainmore, Kirkby Stephen, sold to a quartet of breeders to include three from Scotland.

The first three Hewgill lambs – all unshown at the pre-sale show – were embryo brothers by the Hewgill F52, a tup that bred several of the Mule lambs in the top pens at Hawes and Penrith and also bred the £16,000 lamb sold at Kirkby Stephen to the Farden and Moscow flocks.

Equally notable was the dam, the best gimmer from flock which is also proving to be a good breeder.

The dearest, which saw a £5000 kick off bid, sold to the Archie and John MacGregor, Allanfauld, Kilsyth; Andrew Campbell, Drimsynie, Lochgoilhead; Malcolm Thornborrow and sons Craig and Gary, Easter Dawyck, Stobo and WC Porter and Son, Riddings, Reeth.

Minutes later, his full ET brother, sold to the pre-sale female judge, Amy Campbell, Glenrath, Peebles and Jamie Pirie, Blarnavaid, Drymen, for £22,000 with the third making a more modest £10,000 when knocked down to Richard Hutchinson, Kirkby Redgate, Kaber.

Add to that another at £8000 by the same F52 home-bred tup and Hewgill averaged £7990 for 10 lambs.

The champion lamb, selected by the judge, Allan Wight, Midlock, Crawford, followed the Hewgill consignment and made £20,000 selling to Northern Ireland breeders, Ian Montgomery, Church Road, Glenwherry; Grham and Julie Loughery, Limavady; AMA McKillop, Cushendall; E Harkin, Dunamanagh, Strabane, Co Tyrone and S Laverty, Armoy, Ballymoney.

He was consigned by Jim Pedley and sons Martin and Stephen of the Yore House flock from Lunds, Sedbergh. A son of last year's £11,000 L1 Carry House, this lamb is out of a home-bred show ewe that was inter-breed champion at Moorcock Show, by Drimsynie H2, a Midlock Knight Rider son that goes back to Mustang.

Berwickshire breeder, Sandy Ainslie of the 40-ewe Linkshead flock, secured a personal best selling his fifth prize winner at £15,000. A son of last year's £5000 Penhill ram bought last year that goes back to the £20,000 K1 Steel, he is bred from a homebred ewe by the J20 Kirkby Redgate. He headed home with Peter and Mary Heard, Yelland, Devon.

Messrs Porter's Riddings flock was one of the first through the ring and set the pace early on with 16 lambs averaging £2650, with the top a bid of £13,000 paid for a son of Carry House Jackpot, out of a home-bred ewe by E22 Riddings Domino. He was knocked down to Midlock, while the second Riddings lamb bred the same way made £10,500 selling to Hewgill.

On the income side, Midlock received £12,000 for a son of their home-bred L27 – the crossing champion at the Highland this year and male champion as a lamb last year – by the £10,000 K1 Highberries. Bred from a daughter of another home-bred tup, J6, a son of Mustang, he sold to Martyn Archer, Carry House, Hexham and J Hunter and Sons, Steel flocks near Hexham, Northumberland. Midlock averaged £3027 for 13 lambs .

Robin Booth's Smearsett flock also came up with the goods, selling the fourth prize tup lamb at £11,000. He is by the G11 Smearsett, better known as Ted – a top Mule breeder – and out of a Highberries ewe that goes back to Harland W2. It took a real bunch of heavyweights to buy him to include the Porters, Riddings, Messrs Lawson, Hundith, KA Brown and Sons, Asby Hall, S Allan and Sons, Greenhow and Jack Buckles, Buckles, Barras.

Another by Ted, out of a Highberries ewe by the old Z4 Hundith was bid to £8000, selling Colin Dick, Hamildean, Stobo and Dawyck flocks.

Turnberry breeder, Alan Shennan, who manages the Farden flock was another in the money, selling a full brother to last year's L1 Farden Popeye sold here last year for £10,000, for the same money to The Steel. He boasts Highberries blood throughout being a son of last year's £7500 Blarnavaid tup bought at Stirling, by the H1 Highberries, out of Highberries D47 – the full sister to Highberries C18 Brown Tag bought at Carlisle for £4500 a few years back.

LEADING prices

Ram lambs – Messrs Lord, £30,000, £22,000, £10,000, £8000, £2500, £2200. JC and E Pedley and Sons, £20,000, £3200 (x2). A Ainslie, £15,000, £2200. WC Porter and Son, £13,000, £10,500, £3200, £2500 (x2). J Wight and Sons, £12,000, £5000, £4800, £4000, £2600, £2200, £2000. WA and A Booth, £11,000, £8000, £7000, £3400, £3200, £2300, £2200, £2000. RJ Shennan and Sons, £10000, £2800. GH and R Shields, £8000, £3500. RJD and FJ Wilson, £7500. G Rawsthorne, £6500, £2000. IR Craig, £6500. S Allan and Sons, £5500, £2200. CT and JE Willoughby, £5500. KA Brown and Sons, £5500, £5000, £2500, £2200. WM Hutchinson and Son, £5000. RD Archer and Son, £5000, £4000, £3800, £2200. MR Thornborrow, £5000. MW and CM Ridley, £4500. J Bell, £4400. WA and GR Sedgley, £4000. J McQuistin and Son, £4000, £2800. A MacGregor, £4000. DJ Abberley, £3800, £2500. A McArthur, £3800. JA and R Caton, £3500, £2000. W and D Lawson and Son, £3500, £2200 (x2). J and A Brown, £3400. E Fairburn and Sons, £3200. R and PE Hargreaves and Sons, £3000, £2200. Messrs Lawson, £3000. J Hunter and Sons, £3000, £2000. JW Smith Jackson, £2800. J Pirie, £2800, £2500, £2000. Park and Mills, £2700. Kilnstown Farms, £2000. A MacGregor, £2000. T Birkett, £2000.

Aged rams – JA and R Caton, £4500, 900. J Bell, £2500. E Fairburn and Sons, £1500. SD Thompson, £1100, £1000. WA and A Booth, £900. RA Busby and Son, £600.

Shearling rams – E Fairburn and Sons, £3400, £2000, £1100. Breck House Enterprises, £2100. R and PE Hargreaves and Sons, £2000, £1400. J Wight and Sons, £1600. JS Cloughton, £1200.

Averages: 471 ram lambs, £1440 (+£86 for 75 fewer sold); 42 shearling rams, £821 (+£157 for one more); 12 aged rams, £1177 (+£322 for seven fewer); eight ewe lambs, £416 (+£37 for 12 fewer); 40 gimmers, £415 (-£302 for seven more); 13 ewes, £596.


Ram lambs

Messrs Lord (10) 7990

RJ Shennan and Sons (3) 4600

JC and E Pedley and Sons (7) 4143

WA and A Booth (12) 3529

A Ainslie (7) 3129

J Wight and Sons (13) 3027

WC Porter and Son (16) 2650

RD Archer and Son (17) 2643 (7)

AS McQuistin (3) 2600 (3)

IR Craig (3) 2383

KA Brown and Sons (8) 2381

RJD and FJ Wilson (4) 2250

GH and R Shields (7) 2071

Auctioneers: Hawes Auction Mart