What’s your background?

I live on our family farm in the Clogher Valley near, Fivemiletown, with my wife, Linda and children, Scarlett and Baillie.

I work full time on the farm with my father, Charlie, brother Lee and full time shepherd, Adrian Liggett. We have three pedigree flocks, Texel, Beltex and Bluefaced Leicesters, as well as 600 cross ewes.

What got you into breeding your choice of breeds?

In 2018, we sold our entire Lakeview Suffolk flock privately to Scottish businessman, Stuart Craft and I needed to start a new breed to replace them. With already having small flocks of Beltex and Bluefaced Leicesters, we didn’t consider any other breeds, other than Texels.

What qualities do you like about the breeds that you work with over others?

All three breeds we now work with have fantastic mothering ability and tremendous lamb vigour at birth. Our labour at lambing time has been dramatically reduced, mainly because such little assistance with suckling lambs is required.

Plus, the non dressing of Texels now that leaves life so much easier and so much more buyer ... and shepherd ... friendly.

What was your first big breed sale or show?

My first big show success led to my first big sale when I was 18-years-old. I won the Suffolk championship at Balmoral Show with a tup lamb that I sold later that summer at the NI premier sale for a NI record price of 6000gns to John Campbell, Thrunton, Alnwick.

What’s the best animal that you’ve ever bred?

It has to be the Suffolk ewe, Lakeview Queen of the Maze. She stood breed champion at Balmoral Show three years in a row and as a first crop ewe, her son Lakeview Harbinger stood reserve champion to her. Just an outstanding animal in her own right.

But what’s the best animal you’ve ever seen?

I do believe that the Sportsman Double Diamond Texel tup lamb last year will stick in my memory for some time. It was just an extraordinary animal.

Best animal you’ve been out-bidded on or lost?

One that comes to mind is 38,000gns Castlecairn Doodlebug. We were the under bidders for this tup last year, but thankfully we were able to get a half share in him afterwards. He’s bred tremendously and I believe he will play a big part in building the future of our Texel flock.

Biggest disappointment?

Well I could make a list a mile long, but there probably wouldn’t be enough room! Breeding pedigree livestock is full of disappointments but that’s not how we look at them. They will forever provide challenges but you just have to get up and go on harder.

Most influential person in your career?

Back in my teenage years I would definitely say Robbie Wilson. I worked numerous years at shows and sales with him, and back in the good old days when he had his Suffolks and was shepherd with Milnbank Texels.

What’s been your favourite sale over the years and why?

My favourite sale has always been the Kelso Ram Sales. Being able to see the quality of stockmanship and stock brought out across the different breeds is unbelievable.

Another that I do enjoy attending is the Lanark Texel sale – the atmosphere is something else altogether and it’s a unique sale for that very reason.

Your choice of best breeder ever?

There are many top breeders across the country that are continuously turning out super stock, but for me Jimmy Douglas, of Cairness, is someone that I believe has achieved a lot in his career.

He is someone that I’ve always looked up to throughout my years in breeding Suffolks. He has an unbelievable interest and knowledge of breeding pedigree sheep, and has done it for a lifetime.

Another two teams that are on top of their game for bringing out big pens of exceptional stock across different breeds and always presented to perfection are Allan Wight and team at Midlock, and Willie McAllister and family.