Despite some glum predictions prior to the event, the two-day sale of Swaledale shearling rams at Kirkby Stephen, didn't disappoint, with strong demand for big, good bodied rams boasting the best of bloodlines.

The highlight of the event, which saw around 90 fewer tups entered, came late on the morning of the first day, when West Briscoe Pyramid, from David, Heather and Michael Allinson, strode into the ring, and left with the hammer falling at £42,000. This big boy is a son of the £19,000 Haltcliffe bought at Hawes two years ago, out of a ewe by a £4500 Paul Ewebank which has done particularly well for the flock, having sired three of the top ewes in his champion pen at Hawes, which sold for £525.

Producing a personal best for the West Briscoe flock, he sold for £42,000 to Geoff and Carol Marwood, Hill Top Farm, who knocked out a heavyweight combination of Peter Lightfoot and Bill Cowperthwaite.

The champion trophy had two new names carved into it, with the champion on each day never having taken the much sought-after red white and blue ticket before.

It was the champion from the second day that went furthest in the ring when Naby Sensation from the Dent family, Naby View, Barnard Castle, sold for £35,000 – a great return on their Grayrigg Hall sire investment which cost just £5000 at Kirkby Stephen two years back. He sold in a three-way split to Peter Lightfoot, David Allinson and John White, Rigg.

Mark Nelson's Bull and Cave consignment set the trade on fire here last year and again didn't disappoint this time with a sale top of £25,000 for a son of his home-bred Defender, out of a ewe by a Porter tup. He sold to Stan and Pat Brogden, Helbeck, with another from the same pen making £8000.

John and Steph Bland enjoyed a bumper trade with giant of a tup, Thwaite Bridge Delboy2. By the £38,000 Oakbank Delboy bought in Hawes two years ago, out of a home-bred ewe by a Ghyll House ram, he realised £23,000 selling to James Bell, Gill Gate and Ian Brown, Lummas.

Paul and Sue Hallam, High Birkwith, enjoyed a great trade, late on the first day, for their first year selling from the farm since they moved up from Derbyshire. The pick here was High Birkwith Kisdon 2 at £20,000, a son of the £92,000 Christine Clarkson, bought at Hawes three years ago, out of a ewe by an old Mossdale tup which is still looking sprightly at the ripe old age of 11 shear. He was bought by John Tully, Burncroft and Robert Hutchinson, Valley.

The pen of the sale was arguably Murton Hall, with a cracking set out of tups brought out by brothers Jimmy and Stan Harker and father Earnest a good team leader. Their pen leader, Murton Hall Dazzler, certainly dazzled, catching the judge’s eye, who placed him second in the Large Breeders section. He is by an Oxnop tup bred from the home-bred ram known as The Business and subsequently sold for £17,000 to JG Pears, Sheffield.

The Harkers took the commended ticket in the show with Murton Hall Spitfire, a son of a Graham Scarr sire, which went on to sell for £11,000 to Martin Allan and Gordon Cartmel.

In all, over the two days trading, 21 tups broke the five figure barrier which saw the average over the two days jump £174.32 to £1955.21 for 716 sold.

The champion on Thursday was a shearling ram from Messrs Bradley, Penny Grange, Giggleswick which went on to sell for £7000 to Messrs Walker, Brennand Farm, Dunsop Bridge, with the reserve from Messrs Hird, Shepherds Lodge, Arkengarthdale, making £10,000 to Haltcliffe, Messrs Harker, Grayrigg Hall, Grayrigg; Messrs Harker, Overthwaite and Messrs Hargreaves, Meadow Bank, Barley.

On the Friday, the champion from Messrs Dent, led the trade at £35,000, with the reserve from small breeders, Messrs Coates, Brough Meadows, Catterick, realised £5000 to Messrs Allinson, West Briscoe and Messrs Dent, Naby View.

Averages: Thursday – 309 rams, £1764.25 (+£390.61 with a 88% clearance). Friday – 308 rams,£2150.75 (-£30.16 with an 80% clearance).

LEADING prices

Thursday – £42,000, £5000, £4200, £4000, West Briscoe; £20,000, £6000 High Birkwith; £16,000, £4800, Helbeck Farm (S and P Brogden); £14,000 Helbeck Farm (T Brogden); £14,000 Grassgill Lodge; £11,000, £7000, Penny Grange; £10,000, £7000 Old Spital; £10,000 Shepherds Lodge; £9000, £5500, Gillside; £8500, Frith Holme; £8000 Gill Gate; £7500, Bleathgill; £7000 Stoneriggs; £6000, Setmabanning; £5500 Wythop Hall Farm; £5000 Wellhope; £4500 Low Oxnop Farm; £4500, Seal Houses; £4500, Outhwaite; £4500 Meadow Bank; £4200 Whitelees Farm; £4000 Oakbank; £4000 High Birkwith.

Friday – £35,000, £9000, £8500, £4500 Naby View Farm; £25,000, £8000, Bull and Cave; £23,000 Thwaite Bridge; £17,000, £11,000, £9000, £5000, Murton Hall; £15,000, £4500 (x2), £4000, Valley Farm; £14,000, £8500, £4000, Grayrigg Hall; £14,000, £8000 Lummas House; £12,000, Intake Farm; £12,000 High Draymans Farm; £11,000, Barras Farm; £10,000, £5000 Haltcliffe; £10,000, £7000, £4800 Stanhope Gate Farm; £9000 (x2) High Beck Head; £9000 Lanehead Farm; £8000 Swarthymere; £8000, Flakebridge Farm; £7000, £6000 (x2), £4000 (x2), Ghyll House; £6000, £5000 Garnthwaite; £5000 Brough Meadows; £5000 The Villa; £4500, New Hall; £4500 Brackenbarrow Farm; £4500, Hoggarths Farm; £4500, Sanders Close; £4000 East Unthank; £4000 Garnthwaite.

Auctioneers: Harrison and Hetherington.