A record number of entries has been taken for the Blacknose Beauties National Show and Sale to be staged on Friday 19, and Saturday 20, at Borderway Mart.

The two-day show and sale is the pinnacle event in the Valais Blacknose calendar and the largest celebration of the UK’s fastest growing sheep breed.

Organisers have arranged for two full days of hotly contested competitions, trade stalls, and a public BBQ, together with huge opportunities to observe, listen and learn new ideas and experiences. A great day out for families, breed enthusiasts and smallholders, the Society claims.

This year’s schedule will also see a return of sheep grading, an adopted points system from Valais, Switzerland which is designed to ensure that the highest breed standards are maintained in Britain.

Grading will be performed for the first time in the show’s history by certified UK grading judges who have undergone training with Oberwalliser Schwarznasen Schafzuchtverband, the Swiss Upper Valais Sheep Breeders Association.

The introduction of UK grading demonstrates the Society's progression in becoming self-sufficient and reflects its commitment to uphold and preserve these time old Swiss traditions in close collaboration with the Swiss Breed Society.

As part of the Society’s continued educational focus there will be an opportunity to attend a grading demonstration aimed at sharing insights into what makes the perfect show animal and explanation of how points are awarded during the grading process. This session will be presented by the grading judges David Hodge, joint VBS chairman and Phillip Garrod, VBS committee member and host Marita Tauni, a Blacknose breeder from Sweden.

There will also be an opportunity to purchase, with ewes and rams being offered for sale. The Society hopes to repeat the huge success of last year’s sale which saw 72 Blacknose Valais sheep go under the hammer and Welsh breeders Gerallt and Kerry Jones’s ram Snowdonia Goliath top the sale, selling for 14,000gns, setting a new overall breed record. Following at 10,500gns and setting a new female breed record was Jenni McAllister and Raymond Irvine’s Highland Harmonie.

Commenting on the upcoming event, Raymond Irvine, Joint VBS chairman said: “Preparations are well under way for this year’s event and with membership now reaching over 800 the entry response has been phenomenal, the highest to date.

"It is clear, that our members are eager to be back competing once again in the hope of taking home the much sought-after National title and cup and that these unique sheep continue to capture the heart of the nation. With only few weeks to go we look forward to welcoming everyone back to Carlisle this August.”