There was no stopping North Country Cheviot breeders at UA’s two-day sale at Lairg this week as a rip-roaring trade from start to finish not only witnessed a 98.2% clearance for rams on the first day, but also a centre record average of £1536.08 for 212.

Such was the demand that averages improved by a massive £379 per head on the year and for 11 more sold, with just three selling at five-figure prices, but without the fanfare of a record.

There were some pretty impressive personal bests achieved, though, with the sale leader at £14,000, Mowhaugh Xonerate, from Robert and Becca Rennie, Bowmont Farming, Attonburn, Kelso, surpassing their previous best of £4000 paid the previous week at Lockerbie.

This two-shear is a son of Attonburn Victory, which goes back to a £2200 Sorbietrees sire, and out of a home-bred ewe from Whitelaw Hill on Mowhaugh. Forking out the cash for this topper was Stephen McKinnon, manager for McCaig Farming, Wester Jawcraig, Slamannan.


The Scottish Farmer:

ATTONBURN XOTIC sold for £5800 for Bowmont Farming               Linda MacGregor photography


The Rennies also produced another of the sale leaders when their second best, Attonburn Xotic sold for £5800 to Norman and David Douglas, Catslackburn, Yarrow. This two-shear is a son of Auldallan Shaun and out of a home-bred ewe.


The Scottish Farmer:

THE ELLIOTS’ Hethpool pen achieved a top of £12,000 Ref:RH061020452


Bill Elliot, Hethpool, Wooler, also came up with the goods for his last year selling off that farm, getting £12,000 from the Adam family – Bob and Kay and sons, Andrew and James – Newhouse of Glamis, Glamis, Angus. This was one of Mr Elliot’s final sales before he enjoys a well earned retirement – David Rock will be taking over Hethpool in November – and this five-figure price surpassed his previous best of £8000.

Selling for £12k was a two-shear son of Hethpool Tower – a tup sold at Dingwall as a four-shear for £3400 that goes back to the £5000 Brackside Major, out of a home-bred dam.

Another the same way bred made £5000, selling to Andrew Elliot, Bedshiel, Blackhaugh, Galashiels.


The Scottish Farmer:

THIS TUP made £11,000 for Martyn Cook Ref:RH071020455


Martyn Cook’s 800-ewe flock, from Dorrery, Scotscalder, Halkirk, also enjoyed a flock best when a two-shear ram made £11,000. He is by a £7000 Badanloch tup, out of a home-bred ewe and headed home with Joyce Campbell for her 850-Cheviot ewe flock, at Armadale, Thurso.

Another the same way bred from Mr Cook realised £5200 to Achentoul Farms, Achentoul, Kinbrace. That meant Dorrery scooped the lead flock average, selling four at £4612.50.


The Scottish Farmer:

THIS AULDALLAN tup from the Adam family was bid to £7500 Ref:RH071020456


After their big purchase, the Adams from Auldallan sold their pen leader for £7500 to Hugh Mackenzie, who manages Badanloch Estate, Kinbrace. This two-shear tup is by a home-bred sire that is a son of Hethpool Professor and out of a home-bred ewe.

On the flip side, Hughie’s wife, Jan Mackenzie, enjoyed a roaring trade for three-shear rams from her Langdale croft, in Caithness, which is home to 250 North Country Cheviot hill ewes and 80 Southies, with sales at £7000, £5000, £4800, £3200 and £1100.

The Scottish Farmer:

JAN MACKENZIE sold this three-shear Langdale tup for £7000 Ref:RH071020453


Her £7000 cracker is an Inkstack-bred tup and the result of a tup lamb swop with Tina and Leslie Robertson, of Inkstack, Barrock, Caithness.

Now a three-shear and which picked up several awards at local shows as a lamb and as a two-shear, he is by the Badanloch Bingo son, Inkstack Bingo 2, and bred from an Inkstack ewe. He headed back home to his roots with the Robertsons.

Selling at £5800 from Langdale was a son of East Clyne Enigma, bred from a home-bred Langdale ewe. He was knocked down to Welbeck Scottish Farms, Welbeck, Caithness.

After last year’s £18,000 record breaking sale for a North Country Cheviot ram from the MacCorquodale family’s Torrish Estate, based at Saluscraggie, Helmsdale, this year’s final dispersal of the flock, saw prices reach £5200 and £5000.

The flock, which is managed by shepherd, Dennis Henderson – who has been with the estate for 46 years and is going to continue to run 200 ewes himself – was this year led by Torrish Ticketeboo, which is backed by home-bred genetics on both sides and sold for £5200 down to Yorkshire with Broomhead Estate, Bolsterstone.

The same home also purchased the £5000 Torrish ram, another by a home-bred sire but out of a Rhifail-sired ewe.

Having sold the top priced lot at £14,000, Robert and Becca Rennie, forked out £5200 for a two-shear from Joyce Campbell’s Armadale flock. This big lad is a son of Balnakeil Tested Clear, and out of a home-bred ewe.

William Sutherland’s Brackside flock, Reay, Thurso, also had a field day with sales at £5200 and £5000. Dearest was his pen leader, Brackside Xkaliber, which headed south with David Baillie, Calla, Carnwath. This two-shear is a son of Stouphill Trademark which was purchased at Lairg three years ago for £1000 and out of an Instack Bingo-sired ewe.

Two lots later, the same home received £5000 for their similarly aged Brackside Xpress, which also went south, this time to Galashiels with Andrew Elliot, Blackhaugh. A son of Suisgill Showstopper, which was a Lairg £3500 purchase some five years ago, he is out of a home-bred ewe by Torrish Nero.

Another to hit the £5000 mark was the best from Badanloch Estate, Sutherland. This shearling ram is by an £11,000 Stouphill bought at Lairg in 2018 and was another purchase by Joyce Campbell.

The buoyant trade continued the following day when 5716 North Country Cheviot gimmers and ewes were sold, including the dispersal of the well-known Torrish Estate flock.

Topping the sale at £320 were gimmers from Badanloch, with the same home attaining £310.

Badanloch also topped the ewes at £195.

In what was a sad day for the breed and the area, the Torrish dispersal did have a final hurrah when it hit a high of £250 for gimmers, and £245 for a three-crop ewe.

Auctioneers: UA.

averages: 212 rams, £1536.08 (+£378.77 for 11 more); 815 gimmers, £198.50; 4832 ewes, £107.28.

Flock averages

Flock (No) Top (£) Avg (£)

Dorrery (4) 11,000 4612.50

Hethpool (9) 12,000 3712.50

Langdale (6) 7000 3700.00

Badanloch (10) 5000 2655.56

Attonburn (6) 5800 2358.33

Humblehaugh (6) 3800 2170.00

Auldallan (8) 7500 1943.75

Brackside (10) 5200 1935.00

Auchentoul (10) 2800 1740.00

Dalrachie (4) 2200 1725.00

Armadale (14) 5200 1589.29

LEADING prices

Gimmers – £320, £310 Badanloch; £290, £250 Ardmore; £240, £235 South Balkeith; £230 Langdale.

Ewes – £195, £190 Badanloch; £185, £175, £155 Achentoul; £180, £170, £160 Armadale; £150 Balnakeil; £150 Welbeck.

Torrish Estate dispersal – Gimmers – £250. Maiden – £235. One-crop – £215. Two-crop – £225. Three-crop – £245, £180.