SWALEDALE sheep breeders had plenty to celebrate following their three-day show and sale of tup lambs, aged rams and shearlings at Kirkby Stephen, where the latter secured what is believed to be a new record average of £2304.22 – up £421 on the year but for 113 fewer sold.

The first day’s trading on the Wednesday opened with a bang, with the breed record for ram lambs broken twice. First to set a new high at £12,000 was the best from Geoff and Carol Marwood’s Long Green flock, from Barningham, purchased by Messrs Harker and Hargreaves. The annual consignment of ram lambs from Long Green, cashed in at £1893.75 for 40. 

However, this record was immediately doubled to £24,000, when the champion lamb from Kevin Sowerby, High Croft, Milburn, sold in a two-way split to the same buyers, for their Meadow Bank flock.

But it’s the shearling rams sold on Thursday and Friday that usually attract the big bucks and this year was no exception, with no fewer than 37 selling at five-figure prices. The second day produced most of the highlights, including the £90,000 sale leader from Robert Hutchinson, Valley Farm, Bowes, purchased by John and Ben Richardson, Ghyll House, Dufton. 

The Scottish Farmer:

          Helvellyn Endevour, £60,000

Their best, which stood second in the large breeders’ section, is by a £6000 Catlow bought five years ago and out of a gimmer by a Telfit sire. 
The champion sold the same day secured the next highest price of £60,000. This was Helvellyn Endeavour, from small breeder Tracy Lightfoot, who runs around 10 ewes alongside her father, Peter Lightfoot’s flock at Patterdale in the Lake District. Her champion is by the £22,000 Grayrigg Hall bought two years ago and out of a ewe by their old Telfit tup. 

Star attraction on the first day’s shearling sale, was the sale of the reserve champion from David Harker, Overthwaite, which made £42,000. He is by a £9000 Wescoe tup and out of a ewe by a Long Green tup. Buying back some of their own genetics, he sold to Geoff and Carol Marwood.

The Scottish Farmer:

          Bull and Cave Hustler, by £32,000

Mark Nelson’s Bull and Cave flock, from Lancs, was another in the money, with sales at £32,000 and £28,000. Best here was Bull and Cave Hustler, purchased by the Rukins from West Stonesdale and Messrs Whitehead and Hunter. Hustler is by the £50,000 Grayrigg Hall tup and out of a ewe by the home-bred White Heather. 

The Scottish Farmer:

         Bull and Cave Hawkeye, £28,000

Selling at £28,000 was Bull and Cave Hawkeye, by the £40,000 John Bland bought out of Hawes in 2015, out of the same ewe that bred a stock ram for Long Green last year. Robin Booth was the final bidder with Bull and Cave retaining a share.

Second top on the first shearling day at £26,000, produced a personal best for Messrs Folder, Wescoe Farm, Threlkeld. Their tup, Wescoe Likely Lad, stood fifth at the pre-sale show and sold to Messrs Lightfoot and Robert Wear, both Patterdale. He is by a Stonesdale ram and out of a good ewe by a Grayrigg Hall.

While demand for the top end of yearling rams was particularly strong, the commercial trade was not so hot, with well over 100 failing to find new homes.

Averages: Friday – 342 shearling rams, £2905.88 (+£976.89 on the year). Thursday – 352 shearling rams, £1719.66 (-£122.50). Overall, 694 shearling rams, £2304.22 (+£420.64 for 113 fewer sold). Wednesday – 85 aged rams, £624.59 (-£124.54); 80 ram lambs, £1474.74 (+£640.96)

LEADING prices:

Wednesday – Ram lambs – £24,000 High Croft; £12,000, £5500; £5000, £4500 (x2), £4000, Long Green.
Aged rams – £3500 Uldale Farm; £2700, £2400 Sanders Close; £2000 High Birk Hatt; £2000 Owlands Farm.
Thursday – Shearling rams – £42,000, £12,000, £8000, Overthwaite; £26,000, Wescoe; £17,000, Frith Holme; £16,000 Tailbert; £12,000 Stanhope Gate; £11,000 High Croft; £11,000, Haltclife; £9000 Swathymere; £8500 Gate Ghyll; £8000, Garnthwaite; £7000, Murton Hall; £7000, Rigg Farm; £7000, Howe Green; £7000, Low Oxnop; £6500 Bleathgill (S Buckle); £6500 Aygill ; £6000 Nova Farm; £6000 Low Whita Farm; £6000 Old Spital Farm; £6000, Stanhope Gate; £6000 Heather Bank (KKA Slack); £6000, South Wellhope.
Friday – Shearling rams – £90,000, £7500, £6000, Valley Farm; £60,000 Gillside Farm (T Lightfoot); £32,000, £28,000, £5000, Bull and Cave; £22,000, £12,000, West Briscoe; £21,000, Flakebridge; £20,000, Grayrigg Hall; £20,000, £10,000, £6000, Gillside Farm (M/s Lightfoot); £20,000, £12,000, Hallam; £18,000 Redhouse Farm; £16,000, Helbeck Farm; £16,000, West Stonedale; £15,000 Seal Houses; £15,000, £13,000, £9000, £8000 (x2), Ghyll House; £12,000, Lanehead Farm; £9000, £7200, Redgate; £8000, Oakbank; £8000 Cotegill; £8000, Punchard Farm; £7000, Naby View Farm; £7000 Turner Hall; £7000 Ash Dub (RC Bainbridge); £7000 Arnfield Farm; £6500 Buddle House; £6500, Rakefoot; £6000, Billing Shield Farm; £6000 Hartley Castle; £6000 Ash Dub.

Auctioneers: Harrison and Hetherington