Oddacres Masons clinch crown at CCM Skipton BFL females highlight John and Claire Mason, and daughter Annabel, who run the long-established Oddacres Blue Faced Leicester flock in Embsay, improved on their reserve championship success the previous year when stepping up to take the champion’s crown at Skipton Auction Mart’s annual winter sale of Bluefaced Leicester females. (Wed, Feb 12)

They secured the title at the mart’s first pedigree sheep fixture of 2020 with their first prize gimmer hogg, Oddacres M34, by a Low Fold tup purchased two years previously at Skipton’s annual autumn multi-breeds highlight for a breed top price of 1,600gns.
His own breeding goes back to the North Craven-based Booth family’s much acclaimed Smearsett G11 tup, fondly known as Ted, while the victor’s dam is E4 Low Tipalt, acquired from Cumbrian breeders Ron and Fran Wilson and who has previously produced some notable prize winners for the Masons at their local mart, other show champions among them.
Their last title winner, tapped out as best in show by local judge Ashley Caton, of Otterburn, also sold locally for 450gns to Bordley’s John Lancaster. In addition, the Masons made 320gns with a further gimmer hogg, Oddacres M29, plus 200gns for another, M23, which stood third in its show class.
Roles were reversed when the 2019 show victors, Kevin and Daphne Wilson, and son, James, who run the Hewness flock in Blubberhouses, had to settle for the reserve championship at the 2020 renewal with their second prize gimmer hogg, M015.
Like last year’s champion, she is by their renowned Harland F1 Bighead tup, which has been used successfully for six years. He has now been joined by his sons and they remain the Hewness flock’s main North of England Mule getters. They have produced multiple champions, Great Yorkshire Show victors among them.
The overall Skipton runner-up, out of a home-bred ewe, Hewness J13, commanded top price of £550 when finding a new home in the north-east with Anna Pennell, of Darlington.
The Wilsons – Mr Wilson Snr has just completed a successful two-year term as national chairman of the North of England Mule Sheep Association - also sold a second Hewness gimmer hogg at £350.
John Stott, who trades as J Stott & Son and runs the Laund flock in Chipping, stood first and second in the in-lamb females show class, taking the red rosette with a shearling ewe, L039, by his J37 Midlock tup, scanned carrying twins due March to his Lunesdale K3 tup. She sold for 250gns, again to Mrs Pennell.
The Red Rose breed stalwart, now 74, is a founder member of the Bluefaced Leicester Sheepbreeders’ Association and has been keeping them for well over half a century. He currently runs around 40 breeding ewes and is also a North of England Mule aficionado, lambing around 400 annually
The Mulberry Asset Finance-sponsored fixture attracted a small, but select turnout of 14 Bluefaced Leicester females with excellent crossing lines from well-known local breeders. Gimmer hoggs averaged £374 and in-lamb ewes/shearlings £225.
It formed part of Skipton’s fortnightly store hoggs and breeding sheep sale, among them 943 lambs, which were in very strong demand. Continental and Down-cross lambs for short keep were very good to sell on the back of the quickly increasing prime sheep prices seen in the live marts of late.
Leading the Continental prices were Martin and Val Brown, of Leyburn, with a pen of Beltex crosses at £116 each, then £107 for Suffolks from Michael Harker, of Wycollar, with Matt Thornber, of Clitheroe, close behind at £106. Five other pens made three-figure prices, with the reminder of stronger lambs generally selling in the late £80s and in the 90s.
Mules were good to sell, topping at £90 from Jack Wade, of Linton, and averaging over £80. Horned lambs found a ready enquiry, the best pens making £70-plus, medium types late £50s and £60s, the small end £30s and 40s, while some nice runs of Cheviot lambs averaged £80. Horned feeding ewes sold to £51.
Of the 189 breeding sheep penned for sale, there was good interest in in-lamb ewes, with runs of correct Mules ranging from £145 to £120. Continental and Suffolk sheep sold in the £120s and £130s, while a number of South Country Cheviot sheep scanned carrying single lambs traded in the £70s and £80s.
The final midweek sheep sale of the current season takes place on Wednesday, February 26.