Gimmer lamb trade soars again at 2nd Skipton NEMSA highlight Threshfield Kitchings over the moon to claim first-ever 10’s title Trade stepped up yet another gear when the 6,185 gimmer lambs successfully sold at Skipton Auction Mart’s second annual fixture for members of the North of England Mule Sheep Association (NEMSA) levelled at an impressive £102.26 per head, an increase of £25.03 on the year. Premium prices were once more seen for top end pens. (Tues, Sept 22)


In the show classes, with safe distancing judging again in place, the Kitching family, from Grisedale Farm, Threshfield, picked up their first-ever pen of 10’s championship at their local mart with home-bred ewe lambs, two by a Skipton-bought Hargreaves Bluefaced Leicester tup, others by their old H8 Booth Smearsett ram, the remainder by his sons. The victors sold for the day’s joint top call of £200 per head to Fox Farms in Withgill, Clitheroe. Robert Fox co-judged the 10’s.

The other joint top £200 call fell to a pen of 11, so not shown lambs from the Walker family - Geoff and Margaret, and sons, John and Rob - at Brennand Farm Dunsop Bridge, who at the opening NEMSA highlight a fortnight earlier consigned the champion pen of 10 for the second year in succession. Similarly bred, their latest frontrunners joined mart regular Simon Bennett on Silsden Moor.

The Kitchings, who have clinched four Skipton championships with their 20’s, the latest last year, were also responsible for the third prize 10s, which made £165 each, along with the fifth and sixth prize 20’s, all similarly bred, which sold at £134 and £136 respectively. 

Wharfedale father and son, Francis and James Caton, of Weston Hall Farm, Weston, who are regularly among the prize winners at Skipton, claimed one of the principal honours at the latest renewal when sending out the champion pen of 20’s, most by the home-bred J10 Weston and his sons, others by F1 Low Tipalt. They sold for a class-leading £155 per head to co-judge Kevin Marshall, from Darley.

The Catons clinched a notable double when also consigning the runners-up in the 20’s show class, these selling at £135, along with the fifth prize 10’s, which made £150. However, their highest price of the day was £160 for another pen of 10, which, supplemented by further solid prices, saw the family’s total consignment of 224 head sell to a fantastic overall average of £117.67, the day’s highest flock average for vendors consigning100 or more lambs.

Back with the 10’s, 2019 champion Kevin Wilson, who farms with his wife Daphne and son, James, at Hewness House Farm, Blubberhouses, had to settle for the runners-up berth this year, though their charges again sold away well when achieving £175, third top call. The Wilsons also consigned the fourth prize 20s, sold at £145.

Also among the prizes were the Walker family - Patrick and Janet, and their son Thomas - from Appletreewick, standing fourth with their 10’s, which made £170 and third with their 20’s, sold at £134. Completing the rosette winners with the sixth prize 10’s were Embsay’s John and Claire Mason, their pen selling for £145, while also catching the eye with £155 for pens of 10 were the Hubberholme-based Hucks and, from Dunsop Bridge, Edward and John Parkinson.

Craven Cattle Marts again presented special prizes for the highest flock averages. Of those consigning 100 or more lambs, finishing second behind the Catons were the Appletreewick Walkers with 104 to average £115.38, followed by the Wilsons with 200 at £112.05.

Heading the averages for consignees of less than 100 lambs were Sildsen Moor’s  Ken and Lynne Throup with 62 to average £119.35, then Robert Tarbatt, of Darwen, with 20 at £110.50 and Allan and Sue Throup, also from Silsden Moor, with 35 at £110.

The 10’s show class was co-judged by Harry Coates, Coniston Cold, the 20’s by Adam Staveley, Cowling. Sponsors were Carrs Billington and Armstrong Watson Accountants & Financial Advisors.

CCM’s sales manager Ted Ogden said: “There was a very good level quality of lambs for this year’s second sale, with several pens of genuine tuppers still being present, but in the main lambs were of a decent size for running and looking in nice order. In fact, running lambs were keenly contested all sale long with buyers in good form, while lighter headed lambs for farming and inclusion in flocks received good interest, especially for stronger sorts.”

His comments were echoed by Frank Kitching, chairman of NEMSA’s Skipton branch, who earlier described the family’s first-ever 10’s championship coup as “fantastic.” He, too, was positive about the sale in general, with both vendors and buyers seemingly happy with trading levels. “In fact, NEMSA ewe lamb trade appears to be improving and getting more buoyant as the season progresses,” he noted.

Skipton’s third annual open seasonal show and sale of North of England Mule gimmer lambs takes place on Tuesday, October 6, again complemented pen-judged annual shows for Dales Mule, Swaledale and Masham gimmer lambs.

In the interim, also of interest to Mule breeders will be Skipton’s annual evening sale of Blue Faced Leicester rams and females next Tuesday, September 29. Show classes are from 3pm, with the sale scheduled to begin at 4pm.