Walkers win again at second Skipton NEMSA highlight Local sheep farmers landed both principal honours at the second annual gimmer lamb show and sale for members of the North of England Mule Sheep Association (NEMSA) at Skipton Auction Mart. (Tues, Sept 20) For the second year in succession, the title-winning pen of ten ewe lambs was shown by the Walker family, from Fold Farm in Appletreewick, while the champion pen of 20s came from the Kitching family at Grisedale Farm, Threshfield

Three of the victorious tens from the Walkers – Patrick and Janet, and their son Thomas – were by a home-bred son of a Ridding ram from the Porters in Reeth, two were by a tup from Neil White in Swaledale, one by a Smearsett ram lamb from the Booths in North Craven, with the remainder by home bred-tups.

They sold for £200 per head to Ken Gill, of Burton Lazars. The Walkers were also responsible for the second prize pen of similarly bred 20s, which sold away at £142 each to David Coates of Coniston.

The Kitchings – brothers Charles and Richard, and sons, Frank and Jack – were winning their first-ever championship at the Skipton NEMSA showcase, again with a pen of mixed parentage by tups or their sons from the Booth, Porter and David Heron flocks, along with home-breds.

The 20s victors sold for £200 per head, top price in the section, to show judge Tom Heseltine. The Kitchings also stepped up with the sixth pen of 20s, which sold for £155 each.

Back with the tens, the second prize pen was consigned by Ellis Bros, of Cragg House, Addingham Moorside – brothers Richard and Simon, and sons Robert and Daniel. Three in the pen were by a Booth Smearsett tup, the rest by home-breds. They sold for £145 per head to Richard Haynes, of Winslow.

Kevin Wilson, of Blubberhouses, who was among the prizes in both classes at the opening NEMSA highlight, repeated the feat at the latest renewal when presenting the fourth prize pen of tens and the third prizes 20s. Mr Wilson’s pen of tens sold at the top price of £208 per head when joining Fox Farm in Clitheroe while his pen of 20s sold for £118 per head to Tom Walmsley, of Haverah Park, Harrogate.

Joe and Nancy Throup, who run the Chelker Blue Faced Leicester flock in Draughton, claimed third price in the tens, selling at £140 per head, while R&J Myers, of Bransdale, came fifth, selling at £145 per head, and Stephen Fawcett of Barden was sixth, selling for £140 per head. In the 20s, KM&L Throup, of Draughton, were fourth, selling for £128 per head, while FA Caton of Otley was fifth, fetching £115 per head.

An entry of 8,550 head sold at an overall average of £95.04 per head, £8.26 up on 2015. An increased entry sold to a sharper trade than many had anticipated and the day was seen as very successful.

NEMSA Skipton branch chairman Neil Heseltine, of Malham, said: “People were really happy with the trade. There was a really good trade for the bottom end lambs. which held things up really well and resulted in an average which was only down a couple of pounds on the first sale.”

CCM Auctions again presented cash prizes for the day’s leading flock averages. Of those consigning 100 or more lambs, John Harker, of Lofthouse, led the way with his 162-strong entry averaging £112.26 per head, while the Walkers of Appletreewick added to their prize-winning tally, topping the flock averages for under 100 lambs, with their consignment of 98 lambs averaging £122.14.

The champion pen of ten received the J Marsden Perpetual Challenge Trophy and the victorious 20s the WCF Perpetual Trophy. Show judges were: Tens – James Ogden, Austwick, and Richard Haynes, Winslow. 20s – Tom Heseltine, Bolton Abbey, and Tom Gribble, Beddingham.

As in the opening sale, sponsors were Pearson Farm Supplies, Armstrong Watson Accountants & Financial Advisers, Barclays Bank and Top Tags.

Skipton’s third annual open seasonal show and sale of North of England Mule gimmer lambs takes place on Tuesday, October 4. Another busy sales day also features shows for Mule, Dales Mule, Swaledale and Masham lambs, the last on behalf of Masham Sheep Breeders Association.