Matthew Burleigh champion again at CCM Skipton Beltex winter females showcase Northern Ireland breeder Matthew Burleigh’s Matt’s pedigree flock stood supreme champion for the second consecutive year, also taking the reserve championship at The Northern Beltex Society’s seventh annual winter show and sale of pedigree in-lamb ewes at Skipton Auction Mart. (Sat, Dec 8) Mr Burleigh, who again travelled over from Shanra, Enniskillen, in Co Fermanagh, retained the title with his first prize shearling ewe, Matt’s Candle Light, which, like his 2017 victor, is a daughter of Kingledores Apollo, bred in Scotland by Biggar’s Richard Wood and acquired for 5,580gns in 2015 when standing male and reserve supreme champion at Carlisle.

The April, 2017-born victor, out of a home-bred ewe that goes back to Matts Sparkie, was, again like last year’s champion, sold in-lamb to Hackney Corker, bred by the by the Tippetts family in
Shifnal, Shropshire. The buyer for the day’s top call of 800gns was show judge, Karen Shutlleworth. She and her husband David run the Heber Park pedigree Beltex flock in Gargrave.
Mr Burleigh, who established his Beltex flock in 2006, took the reserve championship with the first prize ewe lamb, Matt’s Destiny, an embryo daughter of Murrays Code, out of a Dean Brow ewe, which made 450gns when also selling locally to father and daughter, Mike and Becki Davis, who run the Rathbone flock at Ravenshaw Farm, Eldroth.
The Irish vendor, who arrived with a ten-strong consignment of seven shearling ewes and three ewe lambs, also made 550gns with another home-bred shearling ewe again scanned in-lamb to Hackney Corker. This joined another local buyer, Ellis Bros, of Addingham Moorside.
The Davis family itself won prizes in all three show classes with the second prize ewe and third placed shearling ewe and ewe lamb. However, taking second top call of 750gns was their Y Bedol A-Team ET shearling ewe daughter, Rathbone Clara, claimed by Geoff Riby, of Bridlington, a familiar face at Skipton. The same vendors also sold another shearling ewe at 500gns.
Another regular vendor from Northern Ireland, Elizabeth McAllister, who runs the Artnagullion pedigree flock with her brother William at Kells, Ballymena, achieved three 500gns shearling ewe sales, the first for the second prize winner, Artnagullion Calamity Jane, a Corra Rambo daughter scanned carrying twins to Tercrosset Blaze, which joined Simon Garth in Keasden.
The other two, both in-lamb daughters of The Bare Boy, also sold locally to Tom Crosdale, of Clapham, and Barnoldswick’s Laura Robinson
The red rosette-winning aged ewe came from a first time vendor from West Wales, Ioan Jones, who runs the Tywi pedigree flock in Maesybont, near Llanelli in Carmartenshire. His 2015 ET daughter of Ballydown Thunderbolt, scanned carrying twins to the 5,200gns Woodies Bojangles, sold for 480gns.
This year’s sale attracted a much larger entry of 42 head, taking centre stage following Northern Area Texel Breeders’ decision to move their annual winter female sale, normally held on the same day, to January 10, 2019.
Gimmer lambs averaged £273, up on the previous year’s £252, with aged ewes averaging £336, well up on 2017’s £273. Shearling gimmers averaged £465.50, compared to £721 the previous year.
Sponsoring for the first time at Skipton were agricultural asset finance company Mulberry Farming, represented by Rebecca Briaihwaite, and JG Animal Health.
Another highlight was the presentation of a cheque for £2,402, the proceeds of a charity auction staged by The Northern Beltex Society earlier this year at Stuart and Gail Currie’s Beautry House in Rathmell in aid of the North West Air Ambulance.
Support sale of females one of best on record
The Beltex fixture again ran alongside the annual winter sale of pure-bred and show quality Continental-sired ewes, sold as individual and small groups, and described as one of the most successful to date, with the entry of 102 head featuring sheep scanned carrying a greater proportion of twins and producing a sold overall selling average of overall £254.57 per head.
North Craven’s Frank Joel, of Westhouse, who arrived with a strong consignment of shearlings and ewes, led the way at 380gns and 350gns with 2 crop Beltex ewes both sold carrying twins, followed by a pair of 1 crop Beltex/Texels carrying twins at 350gns, then a pair of shearling Beltex/Texels, again at 350gns, plus another 1crop and a shearling at 320gns each. The same vendor saw a further 14 sheep sold in pairs and singles achieve 300gns each, with his total entry averaging £272.82 per head.
Other leading prices saw Tim West, of Todmorden, top his run at 320gns for a 2 crop Beltex, while Robert Towers, of Ingleton, sold a 1 crop Suffolk ewe scanned carrying twins to a Beltex ram for 300gns. Eldroth’s Michael Davis had three Dutch Texel shearlings and ewes sell at 300gns from a run of eight females, while John Wood, of Trawden, also topped his run at 300gns for Blue Texel ewes scanned with twins.