North Sheep 2019 staged at New Hall Farm, Rathmell, by kind permission of the Frankland family, was described by many as 'the best yet,' with the next generation of the sheep industry very much to the fore.

Outwith the event's young chairman, Thomas Carrick, and a multi-generational family farm, there was a large number of local Young Farmers competing in the stock judging and an even greater number of school children attending.

For many, it was the showcase farm that proved the star attraction, with well in excess of 3000 attending the farm tours. This gave them the opportunity to see at first-hand the results of some tremendous stockmanship and learn about the practical aspects of the business, such as breeding and feeding regimes. During the tour, they were also able to enjoy locally produced food and refreshments and take in the panoramic views of this rich sheep growing area.

NSA chairman, Bryan Griffiths, said in his opening address: “The Northern Region is a special and important part of the country for the National Sheep Association. I am delighted to see that all sectors of the industry are represented through the various breed societies and trade stands, and sheep farmers from all areas of the UK attending.”

Some 15 entrants took part in the ‘Next Generation Shepherd’ competition, which saw first prize presented to Matthew Fearon from Keswick, while second place went to Michael Hogg from Washington Tyne and Wear and third to Thomas Watson from County Durham.

Shearing is also a vital industry skill and, there was a strongly fought battle of the counties, which resulted in a first for Lancashire YFC, with Cumbria YFC scooping second and Yorkshire YFC achieving third.

LEADING awards

Best breeder stand – 1, Wannops Farm Limited; 2, MC Thornburrow and Sons; 3, NC Marston.

Best breed society stand – 1, Blackface Sheep Breeders' Association; 2, Herdwick Sheep Breeders' Association; 3, Swaledale Sheep Breeders' Association

Best indoor stand – 1, Gisburn Auction Mart; 2, l’Anson Bros; 3, Hawes Auction Mart.

Best outdoor stand – 1, Townson Tractors Ltd; 2, Taylor ATV; 3, Ellipse Fabrication